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…)

Roundball Roundtable: Assessing the front office after the trade deadline

After a turbulent 2013 offseason which raised more questions than answers about the future of the Denver Nuggets, last Thursday’s trade deadline represented a sort of mid-term examination for their young front office. The test was not only to improve the roster, but also to clarify the team’s goals and plans moving forward, and provide at least a glimmer of hope for a future more promising than this increasingly frustrating season would seem to suggest.

And now that the deadline has passed, with the Nuggets making two trades – Jordan Hamilton for Aaron Brooks and Andre Miller for Jan Vesely – it’s time for us here at Roundball Mining Company to take measure of the front office, evaluate their deadline moves, assess how the new regime has done up to this point, and discuss what they need to do from here on out.

Five of your RMC writers give their take after the jump. (more…)

Five Denver Nuggets New Year’s resolutions

Like many Americans, the Denver Nuggets have a lot of crap wrong with them. And like many Americans, the Denver Nuggets will make a conscious effort to resolve their nagging issues in the coming week. On Friday the Nuggets will play the New Orleans Hornets (insert owner’s wife’s favorite animal) Pelicans to put them just over one third of the way through the 2013-14 NBA season. After dropping five of their last six games, and coming off three full days of rest, the Nuggets should be more than ready to turn over a new leaf — even if January 1 is still a few days away. And though the Nuggets have a plethora of problems to be addressed, here are five of most imperative heading into Friday’s game…

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Kroenke, Connelly and Shaw’s Nuggets defying expectations

There’s something happening here
What it is ain’t exactly clear
– Stephen Stills

What is going on here?

In the 2013 offseason, Josh Kroenke and Tim Connelly made a series of roster moves which did not seem to some observers (including many here at Roundball Mining Company) to be internally consistent or part of any apparent cohesive long-term plan for building a roster which could ultimately contend for a championship. Masai Ujiri and Andre Iguodala had bailed, George Karl had been fired, and the new player acquisitions were looking a lot like band-aid solutions to major arterial bleeding. (more…)

Five things to watch for this season

As the 2013-14 NBA season approaches, many questions hover around the Denver Nuggets. Almost everything that made the team successful in years past (especially last season) has now departed. There’s no more George Karl, no more Masai Ujiri, no more Andre Iguodala — no more certainty. There’s still a deep and talented roster, however the players that comprise it are less known commodities and more bags of speculation and temptation. The 2013-14 Denver Nuggets are, more than anything, a team mired with uncertainty. Though five topics of concern are presented below, this list could very well expand to seven or even 10. But in honor of brevity and odd numbers, here are the five most compelling storylines to watch for this season.

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Media Day report

Every year, roughly one month prior to the NBA regular season kicking off, the Denver Nuggets host an annual Media Day press conference. This event gives media from around the Denver metro area the opportunity to (kindly) interrogate the players, coaches and team executives about all things Nuggets in preparation for the upcoming season. This marks the second year in a row that Roundball Mining Company has had the privilege to attend Media Day, and just like last year there was a definitive buzz about the arena given the changes that took place during the offseason. Here is a recap of the day’s action…

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#NuggetsRank No. 13: Timofey Mozgov

Moz
When we ranked Timofey Mozgov number 11 in our inaugural #NuggetsRank series last year, it also served as a preview of what should have been a pivotal season in his career. After migrating to the NBA from Europe relatively late at age 24, the 7-foot Russian spent his first two seasons toiling in obscurity as a fringe rotation player. He was headed towards the final year of his contract after a decent playoff performance, and it was supposed to be time for him to finally make his mark in the NBA or join a laundry list of failed project bigs.
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5-on-5: Nuggets lineups in 2013-14

Denver Nuggets training camp is still over a month away, and plenty of time remains for the front office to make additional offseason roster moves. Yet the rumor mill has gone quiet, and by all appearances it seems that Tim Connelly and Josh Kroenke have – at least for now – settled on the 15 players who will constitute the Nuggets roster at the opening of the upcoming season.

Denver has an intriguing, if in certain ways perplexing mix of players on the roster, and at this point it’s extremely difficult to foresee how the minutes and rotations will shake out.  And with the coaching change, our lack of a concrete picture of the offensive and defensive systems Brian Shaw intends to implement only compounds the unpredictabllity of how things will unfold from here on out.

But despite the fact that we are facing more questions than answers, your trusty Roundball Mining Company writers now bring you, in our latest 5-on-5, our best and boldest predictions about which lineups stand to fare the best and worst, and which players stand to gain or lose the most in this uncharted 2013-14 season.

As always, feel free to play along and post your own answers to the questions, or any other observations and reactions, in the comments section below. (more…)

Have the Nuggets taken “the greatest risk a team can take”?

Recently, Mark Cuban wrote a very revealing and intriguing blog post on the Dallas Mavericks’ recent offseason maneuvers. This was brought to my attention by Matt Moore’s insightful reaction to Cuban’s post. As they are really great reads, I would highly recommend reading both in their entirety before proceeding. Cuban’s post is here at BlogMaverick.com, and Moore’s article is here at CBSSPORTS.com.

The central theme of both is the conundrum of what to do with an aging superstar, and how that decision may impact short- and long-term team building. Is it best to trade him for draft picks and other young assets, tanking for the hope of the next draft superstar and sacrificing current success for future gains? Or to take a win-now-at-all-costs approach and milk the value of that star for all he’s worth while you can? Or alternately, choose a middle ground in an effort to have your cake and eat it, too?

In 2011, under Masai Ujiri’s competent guiding hand, the Nuggets successfully delayed facing this music when (more…)

Woj: Nuggets nearing 3-way trade to S&T Iguodala to GSW for TPE, acquire Foye

Adrian Wojnarowski has an update on the Iguodala situation at Yahoo! Sports, reporting that “the Golden State Warriors are in advanced discussions on a three-way, sign-and-trade scenario centered on delivering a trade exception and Utah Jazz free agent Randy Foye to the Denver Nuggets”: (more…)

Delayed Reaction: 2012-2013 season in review

A look at the rollercoaster year of Nuggets basketball

Hopes were high for the Nuggets at the end of the 2012 offseason, with some analysts predicting up to 59 wins and a top two playoff seed.  Masai Ujiri had acquired Olympic gold medalist and star defender Andre Iguodala in a trade, and extended Ty Lawson and JaVale McGee with long-term contracts.  He surrounded the team’s young core with veteran Andre Miller and cheap talent like Anthony Randolph and Evan Fournier.

But a difficult early schedule loomed.  The Nuggets would play 22 of their first 32 games on the road, including 8 sets of back-to-back games.  By the end of November, the team had a pair of four game winning streaks sandwiched in between three losing streaks of three games each, including worrying losses to the lowly Suns and Magic.

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In Josh Kroenke we trust?

“In Ujiri We Trust.”

The phrase could be found in the blog comments, in the tweets, in the message board posts, and on the lips of many a Nuggets fan over the past few years, as Masai Ujiri skillfully shepherded the Nuggets through the Melodrama and crafted a roster which achieved historical success for the franchise, and earned him the Executive of the Year award.

So when the news broke that Ujiri would not be staying with Denver, a shocked, loud and angry “WTF?!?” reverberated through the halls of Nuggets fandom. (more…)

Nuggets’ new front office taking shape in familiar fashion

The Nuggets announced the hiring of Ben Tenzer as director of team operations on Friday, a move that signifies the first management shakeup under new GM Tim Connelly and one more step in a complete tear-down of the front office responsible for the 2012-2013 executive of the year award.
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Who is Tim Connelly?

On Monday morning it was revealed that Tim Connelly, former assistant general manager of the New Orleans Hornets, would be the Denver Nuggets’ new Vice President of Basketball Operations. Not much is known about Connelly at this time in terms of his abilities. Those talents can only be revealed after he has assumed his (somewhat titular) GM position in Denver and made moves that can be analyzed. Here is what we do know about his background…

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Breaking News: Nuggets Hire Tim Connelly as GM

Things finally seem to be turning the proper direction in Denver as Adrian Wojnarowski just reported via Twitter that the Nuggets have found their new GM.

Connelly is said to be one of the rising stars in the NBA as he has spent the three seasons under Dell Demps in New Orleans as assistant GM.

In Denver Connelly will hold the position of Executive VP of Basketball Operations.

Now that Denver has someone in place to run the basketball side of things one would expect the coaching search to get kicked into high gear so that the team has someone in place in the near future.

Stay tuned at RMC for more news on the rapidly changing Nuggets summer.