Once the NBA lockout is over with, free agency will start, and the Nuggets need to figure out what to do with their seven players that will enter free agency. Currently, the Nuggets have 3 restricted free agents and 4 unrestricted free agents. For those who don't know the difference between the two types of free agency, here's a simple breakdown: Unrestricted free agents are free to contact and sign with any team that they want, and they are not required to take their previous team's offer even if it pays more. Restricted free agents, on the other hand, are required to go to their previous team if the previous team gives the player a qualifying offer and if they match, dollar-for-dollar, the offer of another team. For more information regarding restricted/unrestricted FA, check out this helpful link.
Note: I know that the new CBA may radically change free agency, but my predictions and recommendations are going to use the NBA's current FA rules, and I'm not even going to try to speculate how the new CBA will turn out.
Basic Information: Arron Afflalo is a 25 year old shooting guard with 4 years under his belt. He's 6'5" and 215 lbs., and he has arguably been the Nuggets' best wing defender since coming over in a salary dump by the Pistons. He's coming off the fourth and final year of his rookie contract, which paid him around $1.96 million. Last season, Afflalo averaged 12.2 points, 3.6 rebounds, and 2.4 rebounds in 33.7 minutes per game while shooting a very efficient 50% FG, 42% 3ptFG, and 85% FT. Full stats here
What Afflalo is worth: Although his qualifying offer is $3 million, Afflalo is definitely worth over $7 million when you consider his production, his position as our starting SG, his offense and defense skills, and the amount of money similar shooting guards are getting paid now and have gotten paid in the past (see: Raja Bell, Wesley Matthews (except Afflalo is better than both of those players)).
What we should do: In this weak free agent class, Afflalo could very well be one of the best shooting guards available, and leaving him on the market increases the possibility that some team will strike out on, say, JR or Crawford and offer an overpaid deal to Afflalo. Thus, I say that we offer him a 4 year, $34 million contract that pays him $8 million in year one with a $250k raise every year. That is a bit of a lowball from the perspective of some people, but if Afflalo asks for more we could raise that number. Afflalo is one of our best wing players, and he also has a very nice motor and work ethic; it'd be a shame if we lose him in free agency, as the Lawson-Afflalo-Gallinari backcourt lineup showed lots of promise last season when they were healthy.
Basic Information: Wilson Chandler is a 6'8", 225 lbs. combo forward with four years of NBA experience under his belt. He doesn't have a specialty; rather, he is a jack-of-all-trades but master-of-none in the mold of Manu Ginobili. Last season, he averaged 12.5 points, 5 rebounds, and 1.6 assists in 30.6 minutes per game for the Nuggets (his stats were higher with the Knicks, but that's because he was their starting power forward and he got more minutes there). Chandler's jumper is decent, as is his post game. He's a bit undersized for power forward, and his field goal percentage of 41.4% is a bit subpar for a forward (although injuries and inconsistent playing time may have played a role). Chandler's FT rate of 80.5% and 3ptFG% of 35% are pretty good, but his Win Shares per 48 minutes of 0.037 wasn't so great (for comparison purposes, Afflalo's WS/48 was 0.128, Gallinari's was 0.133, Lawson's was 0.153, and Nene's was 0.201).
What Chandler is worth: Chandler is probably worth around $6.5 to $7 million, although players of his type are often overpaid; even Travis Outlaw was able to command a 5 year, $7 million per year deal. The best comparison to Chanadler is Marvin Williams, who managed to get over $7 million per from Atlanta even though he wasn't worth that much. However, this year is an anomaly, and there's a chance that we could keep Chandler for a fair price.
What the Nuggets should do: Personally, I believe that a wait-and-see approach is best regarding Chandler. There's actually a decent chance that we can retain him without breaking the bank, but if a team like Minnesota randomly decides to offer him a 5 year, $40 million contract then we can refuse and let him walk; we have a bit of a jam at the 3 with Faried and Gallinari (and Hamilton), and Chandler is a guy who we could probably replace with a cheaper, lesser-known free agent without a huge drop in production.
Basic Information: Last year was Gary Forbes' first year in the NBA. Previously, he played for several Italian teams and the NBADL's Sioux Falls Skyforce. I don't really have much to say about Forbes because he didn't see a lot of playing time, averaging 12.6 minutes, 5 points, 1.8 rebounds, and 0.8 assists per game with 45% FG shooting. Forbes is a hustler and a hard worker who can probably survive in the NBA for several more years as a Ryan Bowen-like energy player.
What Forbes is worth: I'd say that Forbes is worth around $2 million a year. Ideally, we'd be able to lock him down for a Balkman-type deal of 3 years and $5 million.
What we should do: It depends on how the rest of our roster shapes out; while Forbes isn't a bad player, it currently seems that he doesn't have a future with this team, especially when you consider that Kenneth Faried will play the role of energy player next season.
Here's Nate's post on exactly the same thing that I should have known existed.
Damn it. Sorry, Nate, and thanks for the heads-up.
Also, you should check out Zachm219's FanPost regarding Free Agency and our monetary situation, as well as the intricate cap rules that will soon be demolished (but will be replaced by rules that'll be even more involuted).
What are y'all's opinions regarding these three restricted free agents? Write your answer in the comments section.