Blog Entry

Nuggets and the Nene dilemma

Posted on: December 2, 2011 3:30 pm
To Nene, or not to Nene. This is the potentially franchise-shaping question facing the Denver Nuggets.

This is becoming familiar territory for Nuggets GM Masai Ujiri, who no sooner got the job last season when he was thrust into the Carmelo Anthony saga. That one ended well for Denver: Melo and his wandering eye got a max extension and a trade to the Knicks. The Nuggets got valuable assets and picks, including players like Danilo Gallinari and Wilson Chandler -- who were already accomplished starters to a degree but also young and cheap enough to build and plan around.

But what about Nene? In a lackluster free-agent class, only Nene and Mavs center Tyson Chandler figure to command max money. Some NBA executives question whether either player is worth a contract starting at the max of $17.4-$17.8 million. If Nene wants to push for a sign-and-trade to a contender -- such as Dallas and Miami, two of the teams on his list -- he'd have to settle for a four-year deal with smaller raises than the Nuggets can offer.

If he wants a five-year deal, he'll stay in Denver. If he just wants a change of scenery, he could get a four-year deal from any number of teams that have cap space or could create it, such as the Nets, Warriors, Rockets or Pacers. In short, Nene has options. Not as many options as Anthony, who had the full extend-and-trade avenue and max sign-and-trade scenario going for him -- but options, nonetheless.

So, why aren't the Nuggets panicking? One, if Ujiri survived the Melodrama, the Nene-a-thon will be a piece of cake. And two, the Nuggets have options, too.

If Nene bolts, Denver is projected to have the most cap room in the league next season -- nearly $39 million, and more if they amnesty Al Harrington between now and then. They have their own first-round pick in 2012 and '13, and could wind up with more if Nene departed via the sign-and-trade route. As weak as this free-agent class is, this year's draft will be deep and exceptional. Not a bad time to undertake a one-year rebuilding/reloading plan if that's what the Nuggets are forced to do.

Also, the Nuggets brass need to find out what Gallinari is going to be in major minutes, not to mention Timofey Mozgov, another piece they got from the Knicks for Anthony. The sting of a rebuilding year also would be minimized by a shortened season. It'll be over fast, and if the Nuggets missed the playoffs, it wouldn't be long before they'd be preparing to pick a potential All-Star in the lottery.

While the Nuggets won't be in the running for a potential superstar free agent like Dwight Howard, Chris Paul or Deron Williams, their copious cap space and assets obtained in the Melo trade would give them flexibility to be one of the biggest players next summer. So do the Nuggets want Nene back? Of course. Ujiri has told him that on many occasions, and as with Anthony, the Nuggets exec has taken the time to build a relationship with his star so there's mutual trust.

But if someone is willing to pay Nene the max in the next week or so, making a 14-point, seven-rebound center a $17 million player? There may be no way to avoid parting ways. And as in the case of Anthony, it could wind up working out for the best for both sides.

Since: Sep 7, 2010
Posted on: December 3, 2011 2:04 am

Nuggets and the Nene dilemma

I say let him go or move him. He's had plenty of time to develop into a great/dominating player. He's shown flashes of brilliance for how many years now? I cant continue to stick up for him and hope he will take over. He just doesn't get it!

Since: Mar 5, 2008
Posted on: December 3, 2011 12:33 am

Nuggets and the Nene dilemma

Wow, this sounds like my mom explaining the roster issues of the nuggets:

First, It's not Farred, it's F-A-R-I-E-D, Faried.

Second, it's G-A-L-L-I-N-A-R-I, not Gallinero.

Third, it's A-F-F-L-A-L-O, not Affalo.

Fourth, not Anderson, it's A-N-D-E-R-S-E-N.

Between your lack of spelling and ridiculous descriptions in parentheses, it is really hard to take any substance from what you are trying to convey.  Suffice to say that this article does a very good job of explaining how the Nuggets would be better off without Nene; but, for some reason, if Nene re-signs we will also do well with him.  It's sort of a win-win situation.  I look forward to seeing how we this team can be molded over the next couple of years.

PS - I'm sorry if this sounded harsh but c'mon.  You have to spell players names right, or at least be close with it. 

Since: Feb 15, 2011
Posted on: December 2, 2011 10:11 pm

Nuggets and the Nene dilemma

No No!!! I have been a big Nene fan. I still am. Great quickness and skill. Needs a few tough guys to support him.

That said……… Not worth more than he was paid last year. Let him walk and hope he re-signs. Denver with George Karls style is the place he will be a star. It will be a bigger loss for Nene than Denver if he leaves.

Look at what would be left .... and remember George Karl’s unselfish / team / defense style.
C - Mosgov (Could be a taller version of Nene)
PF - Farred (Not Kenyon Martin but tough younger and hungrier)
SF - Gallinero (Potential)
PG - Lawson (another year under his belt)
SG - Affalo (Solid)

Second wave
C - Koufos ( Raw - could give minutes and vertical)
PF - Anderson (tough to go inside with him and Big K)
SF - Harrington (tough match-up for other reserves)
PG -Miller (starter for his career)
SF - Jordan Hamilton (Nice fit - only one other scorer on this line-up)

I might be missing something... but seasoning Mosgov and Farred - situation substitutions - a ton of cap room coming. Nene... you might want to take a lower contract amount and enjoy the ride.    

Since: May 17, 2007
Posted on: December 2, 2011 8:41 pm

Nuggets and the Nene dilemma

The people who get linked and sometimes paid max contracts is crazy!!  Nene a max guy only if you want to rebuild for years until that contract is done.

Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: December 2, 2011 4:48 pm

Nuggets and the Nene dilemma

$17 million is an insane amount to pay for Nene who is a solid player but has never shown the willingness to work to be a great one.  He can be a dominating inside offensive presence, but he doesn't have the personality to demand the ball, then dominate his defender.  Which is why he's a 14-point scorer rather than the 20-point a game guy he could be. 

Plus, for his size and quickness, he's a very mediocre rebounder and no shotblocker at all.  Basically, what you get from him at the defensive end is decent positional defense, and the collection of rebounds that come his way.  He doesn't intimidate players coming into the paint, and he doesn't do the dirty work needed to grab the key rebound.

All that said, as a Nugget fan, I'd be happy if he came back for a reasonable amount, which to me is less than the $10 million a year he was making.  But, of course, that won't happen.  So, the best we can do is a sign-and-trade for more assets.  In this case, I'd be happy to get another 1st round pick in this year's draft, plus a young wing.     

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