The draft is over and free agency is upon us. From what little information has come from Nuggets HQ I believe they are hoping to make either a big deal, a handful of small deals or something in between. At this point they are saying that Carmelo Anthony and Allen Iverson will be Nuggets next season. That leaves only a handful of chips available to be shuffled around.
The only players on the roster outside of Melo that have value to other teams are Marcus Camby, Linas Kleiza, J.R. Smith and maybe Nene. You can get decent players in exchange for any of those guys, but what will the Nuggets accomplish by merely shuffling decent players from team to team?
One thing I believe we know with some certainty is next season’s starting point guard is not currently on the roster. Whether they bring him in as a free agent or via trade there is little doubt in my mind at some point before October the Nuggets will be acquiring a point guard.
The Nuggets will face a couple of problems in their search for a point guard. The crop of free agent point guards are pretty sad and even if there is a free agent point guard they are interested in, they may not be able to add any payroll to sign him.
As proof of how weak the point guard crop is here is a list of all the pass first starting quality point guards on the free agent market.
That is the list and he has very predictably agreed to contract terms with
The only other intriguing names from the list of free agent point guards all have at least one major flaw. Sam Cassell is old and needs to go away. Eddie House is not a true point guard. Chris Duhon is a poor shooter. Delonte West is solid, but he is not a true point and as a restricted free agent I cannot imagine
The trade market is only slightly more intriguing. The list of point guards who have been rumored to be on the trading block (or in my mind could be) include Kirk Hinrich, Raymond Felton, Jamaal Tinsley, Leandro Barbosa, Kyle Lowry, Javaris Crittenton, Marcus Williams, Sergio Rodriguez, Luke Ridnour and Antonio Daniels. That is a better group than the free agent hoard, but between their games and bad contracts there are plenty of warts in that group as well.
After listing all of those names it is also possible the Nuggets could acquire someone else. Just 24 hours ago who could have imagined Baron Davis would be a Los Angeles Clipper next season? Things can change quickly in the offseason.
The Nuggets also have to decide what to do with J.R. Smith, Eduardo Najera, Anthony Carter, Taurean Green and Bobby Jones. Apparently Yakhouba Diawara has already been shown the door as he was not extended a qualifying offer. He may sign with the Nuggets for a lower salary, but I believe the Nuggets have realized that he is an extremely limited player.
It is difficult to project what the Nuggets might do. The primary question is how high will Stan Kronke allow the payroll to climb. I believe the reports that he desperately wants to win and last year he proved that he will shell out the cash to do it. However, the Steve Blake/Chucky Atkins swap proved that Kronke’s spending has limits.
I have no doubt there will be some difficult decisions ahead for the Nuggets over the next four months. The question is if those decisions are along the lines of should we bring back Bobby Jones or should we match the five year, $50 million offer sheet for J.R. Smith. I doubt the latter will be a problem, but I doubted Baron Davis was going to leave the Warriors too.