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Free Agent Frenzy and the Denver Nuggets

By Dave Bruning

The coolest shopping spree any man or woman has ever been on has just begun. The 2010 NBA free agent bonanza has finally arrived. Teams have scrambled to free up salary cap space and are putting their best feet forward in attempts to land LeBron James, DeWayne Wade and Chris Bosh to name a few. Just how does this all affect the Denver Nuggets?

That is actually a very good question. At first glance the Nuggets would seem to be innocent bystanders in all the madness. They have very little salary cap room to work with if any. The big news to develop out of all this is the status of Carmelo Anthony. Anthony is under contract with Denver for next season. However, he can opt out of his contract and become a free agent next year if he chooses. That possibility has prompted Denver to offer him a 3-year, $65 million dollar extension. What will Melo do?

Another good question. It is hard to imagine Anthony rejecting the extension offer, yet it is a distinct possibility. There is the potential for labor unrest following the upcoming NBA season. This is the major reason the Nuggets would like to secure Anthony’s services for the foreseeable future. It’s also a very good reason for Melo to accept the Nuggets’ offer. I repeat, 3-years, $65 million guaranteed.
It is widely known Anthony would like to see Denver’s roster upgraded. It is also clear Anthony has been unable to deliver consistent playoff success for Denver; certainly not all his fault, but a fact nonetheless. If Melo rejects or postpones the extension, he will retain considerable leverage on the Nuggets front office and be in an excellent position to push for upgrades. This tenuous position has Denver pondering a possible trade of Melo. That is a scary thought for the future of professional basketball in the Mile High city.

A trade is clearly the Nuggets avenue for roster improvement. The time for that move is now. It is highly unlikely the NBA will ever see another free agent class of this magnitude. The Nuggets need help on their frontline. They have the expiring contracts of Kenyon Martin and JR Smith. They have other valuable commodities in Nene, Birdman, Ty Lawson and Aaron Afflalo. It would sting to lose some of these players, but you have to give value to get value.

As I mentioned in a previous article, Chris Bosh is the desired target. He is the big man Denver needs to complement Melo. Bosh is also the most likely of the big free agents to switch addresses. He has made no secret of his desire to leave Toronto. With that in mind, the Nuggets need to throw a can’t say no package at the Raptors and march boldly into the future. If they don’t, their basketball future is murky at best, and quite possibly one without Carmelo Anthony.


  1. Expiring contracts are what will get us where we need to be (right now we are $7 million OVER the cap for next year) problem is both expiring contracts come with baggage. Kenyon has just had surgury that leaves him out past training camp and JR's a-hole performance during the last game of the playoffs has had to have raised eyebrows around the league. Hopefully these guys can be dealt for free to a team that misses out on the free agent bonanza. (see Clippers, Knicks, Nets) Exacty right though, sighning Melo and adding a big man needs to be priority as out championship window seems to be closing.

  2. Hey Dave, thanks for reading my post on the Jazz. To answer your question, the Nuggets have always been a problem for the Jazz. The matchup always seems to be good, but the Nuggets have one thing that aways gives Utah problems and that is a prolific scorer. The Jazz always struggle against great scorers and Carmelo Anthony definitly is not the exception. The Jazz brought in Raja Bell to help, but even then, Anthony's size still will probably create some problems for the Jazz. The combination of JR Smith and Al Harrington can be a scary thought for apposing teams if both are hot. But I look forward to another good year from both of these teams.