Was Jamaal Tinsley Almost a Denver Nugget?

There are some people in my life who I trust completely and I know I can believe anything they say.  Then there are others who I am a little wary of.  Peter Vecsey definitely fits in the latter category.  Well, Tom over at Indy Cornrows alerted me to the fact that Vecsey was on the radio in Indianapolis today and he had a little trade rumor surrounding the Denver Nuggets and Jamaal Tinsley. 

According to Vecsey the Nuggets and Pacers had a deal in place to trade Tinsley to the Nuggets in exchange for Chucky Atkins and Steven Hunter, but Rex Chapman used his veto power to reject the deal.

I believe Tinsley is a solid point guard and he was having a very good year in Jim O’Briens’ fast paced system.  He experienced a fallout with the coach and some injuries last year.  Then in the offseason the Pacers made the blockbuster Jermaine O’Neal/T.J. Ford deal and also brought Jarrett Jack in from Portland.  Tinsley suddenly became superfluous and the Pacers announced that Tinsley would be traded.

Heading into this offseason I listed the need to find a point guard as the second most important goal for the Nuggets this summer (the first being to resign J.R. Smith).  Heading into training camp the point guard situation is pretty much the way it was last season.  Atkins is hurt and Anthony Carter is set up to play more minutes than he is suited for.

Would Tinsley be the solution for the Nuggets at point guard? 

The blueprint for the perfect point guard for the Nuggets is a player with decent size who can penetrate, play defense and he has to be able to hit three pointers.  Tinsley has decent size and he can penetrate and score.  However, he is a below average defender and is a horrible three point shooter.  Actually, he is just an all around poor shooter with a career mark of 39.5%.  Another black mark on Tinsley’s record that bears mentioning is his propensity to stay out late and stumble upon trouble (an area in which the Nuggets require no additional assistance). 

However, the primary reason in my mind why I am glad the Nuggets passed on acquiring Tinsley is financial.  I am not an Atkins fan at all, but he is an expiring contract that will come off the books after this season.  Steven Hunter did not play much last season and might not play much this season, but with the departure of Marcus Camby, Hunter is a vital insurance policy for the Nuggets against Nene or Kenyon Martin missing time.  Hunter’s contract does have two years at about seven million dollars on it, but his deal will not have a negative effect on the Nuggets ability to add salary next season.

Tinsley has three years and over $21 million left on his deal.  After this season the Nuggets will only have one really bad contract on the books, that of Kenyon Martin.  They are close to getting their salary structure under control.  Tinsley does not have an awful contract, but it is significant enough that it would prevent them from being able to utilize the trade exception from the Marcus Camby deal.

Tinsley would certainly be an upgrade over the Carter and Atkins duo, but he is not the point guard the Nuggets need.  Pacer fans are hoping that we will bombard Rex Chapman’s voice mail with pleas to change his mind.  Somehow I do not think that is going to happen.

Of course, keep in mind the source for all of this.  Who knows if the Nuggets were ever really interested in the first place?

Aside from the trade rumor itself, there is another potential story here and that is the issue of how the Nuggets front office functions.  You would like to think there is an established hierarchy where some competent individual is in charge and is the final decision maker instead of having a plethora of individuals who can all put the kibosh on anything (picture the UN Security Council).

If everyone has to agree before a deal is done, hopefully that will protect you from making horrible decisions, but if one person can scuttle any given transaction, they could easily miss the boat on a very good deal due to one objector.

I do not know for sure how the front office functions, but if you cannot stand the heat, there may be too many cooks in the kitchen.  Or something like that.

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