Faried is doing his thing at the World Cup and that’s good for the Nuggets

As some of you may have noticed, the FIBA World Cup is currently in full swing in Spain, and Team USA has, at the time of this writing, won its first four games. Apart from a subpar first half against Turkey, the US has rolled relatively pain-free through these games, despite having lost a lot of big names in the build-up to the tournament.

One player who has particularly benefited from players like Kevin Durant, Kevin Love and Blake Griffin bowing out of this summer’s USA squad is the Denver Nuggets’ very own Kenneth Faried. Originally predicted to be an outsider for the 12-man selection, he became all but a lock for the team once the biggest stars started dropping out of the squad, each for their own reasons.

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Free agency begins: Assessing the Nuggets’ salary and a potential Faried extension

It’s time to take stock of the state of Denver’s salary structure, as the NBA free agency period has officially begun, and with it the annual ritual of Nuggets fans speculating which players – if any – the team will target this summer.

With just one roster spot currently open, it seems unlikely that Denver will be overly active in free agency unless they make a trade or two to trim down the payroll and free up roster space. And while GM Tim Connelly will have the full $5.3 million mid-level exception at his disposal, using it would likely propel Denver over the luxury tax threshold, territory where the Kroenkes have generally been loathe to tread.

This may not only be an issue this season, but could be in 2015-16 considering that a Kenneth Faried extension may be in the works. Zach Lowe of Grantland.com recently tweeted: (more…)

The case for rebuilding

The 2014 NBA Draft edges ever-closer, and with every day more questions emerge. It’s not merely about who to pick (as Kalen is listing so brilliantly in his Prospecting posts this week), or how to go about selecting the best player for Denver in this draft, but what this draft will reveal about the Denver Nuggets’ direction; The Nuggets’ future. (more…)

Denver Nuggets draft plan

It’s been a long time since we’ve covered the NBA Draft extensively here at Roundball Mining Company. Two years, in fact. (Last year we published almost nothing but rumors and breaking news regarding the front-office overhaul that took place leading up to the 2013 Draft.) So I have to say, it feels good writing about one of my favorite hobbies again. Really good. And on top of my already sunny disposition due to simply writing about the draft is the ongoing realization that for the first time in over a decade the Nuggets have a pick in the lottery. For draft-obsessed, wannabe GMs like me, life really doesn’t get any better.

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Grading Tim Connelly’s first year as Denver Nuggets General Manager

On June 17 last year, the Nuggets announced that Tim Connelly had been tapped to take the helm of Denver’s front office. In the month preceding his hiring, owner Josh Kroenke had overseen a turbulent start to Denver’s offseason, and Connelly joined a Nuggets organization reckoning with the startling departure of Masai Ujiri for Toronto and the firing of Coach of the Year George Karl. Exacerbating the chaotic atmosphere, Andre Iguodala – who the Nuggets clearly had expected to return – opted out to become an unrestricted free agent just eleven days after Connelly’s arrival, and it quickly became clear that he did not intend to re-sign with Denver.

From day one, Connelly’s rookie year as general manager has been a trial by fire, albeit a fire he enthusiastically jumped into.

To many, including a fair share of the writers here at Roundball Mining Company, it seemed unrealistic that the Nuggets would be able to replicate (let alone surpass) the previous season’s success (more…)

Link: Nuggets want to open contract negotiations with Kenneth Faried this summer

According to Christopher Dempsey of The Denver Post, Kenneth Faried and the Denver Nuggets will engage in contract extension talks this summer. Faried is entering the final year of his rookie deal and Dempsey suggests he could be in for a raise of over $10 million per year. Per Dempsey:

“We’ll talk to his representation,” Nuggets general manager Tim Connelly told the Post. “I think Kenneth is happy here. I think he’s really embraced what (Coach) Brian (Shaw) is trying to instill. Those are the type of guys that deserve to get paid.”

Faried is coming off the best year of his career averaging 14 points and nine rebounds per game overall, and 19 points and 10 rebounds per game since the All-Star break. Should he net $10 million or more per season, Faried would likely become sandwiched somewhere between Danilo Gallinari, JaVale McGee and Ty Lawson — Denver’s three highest paid players — who will earn $10.9, $11.3 and $11.6 million respectively throughout the 2014-15 season.

Denver Nuggets offseason to-do list

I’ve been doing the Denver Nuggets offseason to-do list for four years now. It’s become a tradition, and it’s a great way to analyze the roster and cap flexibility heading into summer. Every year presents its own unique set of circumstances surrounding the roster, but I do have to say, I can’t remember an offseason being this difficult to forecast. As Joel recently pointed out in his Dearth of financial flexibility post, the Nuggets desperately need to make moves yet have hardly any room to maneuver — like Austin Powers attempting a three-point turn in Dr. Evil’s underground lair. It’s really anyone’s guess as to how Tim Connelly will go about doing his job this summer, and though it seems likely the Nuggets do less as apposed to more, here are some suggestions regarding how the team can position itself to win more games down the road while decreasing its long-term cap strain.

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5-on-5: Player’s Ball

If there’s one thing the Denver Nuggets could hang their hats on this year, it was the players. Denver has lots of them. Most of them good, some of them marginal, a few not so marginal. Some had career seasons, while others couldn’t quite live up to expectations fans set in the summer months leading up to tip off in October. If there was anything gleaned from this season it came from the players, each and every one, good or bad. In our latest 5-on-5 we attempt to examine which of these players belongs in all the superlative categories associated with postseason analysis. Yes, this is our awards post for the 2013-14 season, if such a thing is possible after such a strenuous year of basketball. As always, we encourage you to pose your answers to the following questions in the comments section below.

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Videos: Best performances of the 2013-14 season

The 2013-14 Denver Nuggets season was not exactly what we all hoped for. It was oftentimes ugly, occasionally depressing and teeming with injuries. But there was also an assortment of quality performances turned in from nearly everyone on the roster — mainstays and midseason transplants alike. Although the gaudy numbers produced in these outings didn’t often add up to wins, they still made for some exciting basketball and alleviating moments of salvation in a season filled with what seemed like never-ending tension. Now if we can just get all these guys to replicate each one of these performances every night in unison, then we might have something…

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Dearth of financial flexibility and open roster spots may result in a quiet Nuggets offseason

Although chaos ruled last summer’s Nuggets offseason, this year it may be defined by calm.

Going into the 2014 offseason, the Nuggets have a roster likely to remain loaded up at or near the 15-player maximum. Of their current 15 contracted players, only two are expiring – Jan Vesely and Aaron Brooks. Another two, Darrell Arthur and Nate Robinson, have player options but have both expressed interest in staying with the Nuggets. And Denver will surely hang onto the only remaining player whose 2014-15 salary is not guaranteed. The coaching staff and front office have highly praised Quincy Miller’s progress this season, and will be looking to continue his development.

So if the Nuggets let Vesely and Brooks walk, they will be entering the offseason with only two open roster spots. (more…)

Rapid Reaction: Denver Nuggets 105 Los Angeles Clippers 117

The Nuggets fell behind early and never led in their penultimate game of the 2013-2014 season, a 12-point loss to the Clippers in LA.

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Potential found in a lost season

Much has been made this season about what the 2013-14 Denver Nuggets are not. They’re not a good team, first and foremost. They’re not healthy. They’re inconsistent. They lack defensive fundamentals that are often a hallmark of championship-contending teams. But for everything the Denver Nuggets are not, there are many things they are — which deserve recognition as dusk approaches on the season.

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Rapid Reaction: Denver Nuggets 101 Utah Jazz 94

In a less-than-meaningful game between two lottery-bound teams, bad offense ruled the day. Then, the second half came along and Denver exploded for 67 points, defeating the Jazz for their third straight win.

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Rapid Reaction: Denver Nuggets 123-Houston Rockets 116

The Nuggets really, really tried hard to blow another game to the Rockets with a bad fourth quarter performance but they were able to hold on and defeat Houston 123-116. Randy Foye turned into a human fireball with 30 points, including a 22 points third quarter to secure their 11th straight record with a winning record in Denver.

Grades are below the jump.

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Rapid Reaction: Denver Nuggets 125-Houston Rockets 130

Denver had the upset in their hands thanks to a furious second half rally but ultimately they forgot how to handle double teams leading to turnovers and missed a big late free throw before falling in overtime to the Houston Rockets .There were bright sides for Denver though as Aaron Brooks and Quincy Miller had great games and Evan Fournier and Kenneth Faried had great second halves.

Grades are below the jump.

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