Nuggets notes from practice: Chandler coming along slowly, Lawson contract talk

Chris Humphreys-US PRESSWIRE

In an attempt to keep Wilson Chandler from getting bit by the injury bug, the Nuggets will bring the talented wing player along a bit slowly to start the season on his surgically repaired hip.

Karl on finishing up training camp before the start of the regular season:

George Karl: Tomorrow('s practice) will be things we haven't covered and finish up on sideline out of bounds, baseline out of bounds, and stuff like that. You're (wanting to be) ready for every little thing that can be thrown at you in a season.

Karl on Danilo Gallinari:

Karl talked about Gallo's success last season and how the Italian was getting a little All-Star buzz before the break last year. It sounds like the coach expects more big things out of Gallo.

George Karl: I think if we got that type of performance out of him early in the season, it will be good.

On what the Sixers look like heading into the game Wednesday:

Karl: The (Jrue) Holiday kid has a lot of freedom. He has really developed into a leading point guard in our league. Shooters all over the place, guys that can make three balls. (Jason) Richardson and (Dorell) Wright are free to shoot it every time. They play small a lot and they are playing quick, and they are very solid defensively.

On playing 17 of the first 23 on the road and the mindset the team will need:

Karl: I told them this morning we got to keep working because 17 of 23 is a large amount of road games. And I think everybody knows you got to be a little bit better on the road, a little bit smarter on the road, a little more focused on the road. You can lose your momentum at home and win games; it's a little easier you know. Our turnovers have us concerned, our rebounding has us concerned a little bit, and figuring out how to get the right people together.

We haven't settled on any type of rotation yet and I think that will be a process of the first, hopefully, five to 10 games. Who to put with Andre (Miller) off the bench, who to start, and how to rotate the bench. And Wilson (Chandler) will be playing every-other game; he's not going to play back-to-backs, so that's going to be a process too. It will be a different rotation for four of the first seven games and three other games will be different, that's always a challenge. I think it's going to be a lot of fun.

Is Karl happy with where the team is right now?

Karl: Coaches are never happy. I think we've done a pretty good job with our defense and our offense, I'm just worried about the turnovers. I think the choices we have is how much we keep the ball in Ty and Andre's (Miller) hands and how much we give out to somebody else. Early in camp we were giving our big guys a lot of decisions and I'm not sure they are ready for them, right now, so that's my choice of cutting that back. When you average over 20 turnovers a game it's a nightmare for everybody. It's a nightmare for the players, it's a nightmare for the coaches, it's a nightmare for the scoreboard.

Karl's reaction to the James Harden trade:

Karl: I thought it was surprising and unique. I'm a Harden guy, but now it will be interesting to see how Oklahoma City, what it takes their team to fix that minus. But they have a lot of good players. We were talking about it today, thinking they might play (Russell) Westbrook at two guard (at times). That (Eric) Maynor kid is playing very well for them. He's a heck of a player that wants to be on the floor. Perry Jones, he had some very good games. They can be very big, very long, and very athletic.

Harden to me is, I don't know if he's a max player, but he's damn good. I think max players, right now, in the league are scary. Giving anybody a max contract is a strong commitment.

Ty Lawson talking to the media after practice:

Lawson on how to limit turnovers:

Ty Lawson: You got to know your limits. You got to know the point to pass. I know when I get to the paint, my first step, I know if I'm going to make a layup or if I'm going to see somebody open. You just got to know your limits and you should be good.

Is Lawson excited for the season to start?

Lawson: I can't wait man. It has been a long time coming. I'm just ready to play against somebody else.

Lawson on Iguodala's return to Philly and if he'll be booed:

Lawson: I don't know. I'm pretty sure they like him there, so they are probably going to go crazy. Andre had been there what? Seven years? He's loved there so it's going to be a good welcome home party for him.

Lawson on his contract situation with the Nuggets:

Lawson: I don't think we're at the point where we want to be at right now. We'll see, we got two more days left and we'll see what happens, but we're definitely not at the point where we want to be at. Today it weighed on me more than most days. I talked to my agent right before I came here. I was kind of disappointed. But we'll see what happens.

Lawson on the odd situation between knowing the team likes him and the business aspect to the game:

Lawson: Yeah, that's why I don't understand. It's a business at the end of the day. I'm in a good situation. It's not going to weigh on me either way. If it doesn't get done this year, something is going to get done next year; either way, from another team or here, so.

Nate's take on Lawson's contract situation:

The only thing I really don't understand from the Nuggets' perspective is this ... by not signing Lawson to an extension before the deadline on the 31st, do the Nuggets believe Lawson's value will do anything but increase? If Lawson is to go into the season without a deal, he will be even more determined to play well and that will increase his value, not only to the Nuggets but also to the rest of the league.

If Lawson and the Nuggets are still a ways off on the overall contract value, how can that change over the summer? Would another team come in and offer Lawson the max of $60 million over four years? Would the Nuggets not match that type of deal and let Lawson walk for nothing? That hasn't been Masai Ujiri's track record.

The only way I see the Nuggets getting a friendlier deal after the season is if Lawson drastically under performs this year, which if you look at his stats seems impossible (his numbers have gotten better each season). Or if Lawson has a freak injury that sidelines him for a large portion of the season (knock on wood).

I won't totally disagree with the Nuggets if they let Lawson head into the season without the extension. It might not be the worse thing to see Lawson play for and earn whatever contract he gets after the season. I can also see this being a bit of a distraction for Lawson as he would be risking a lot on a $2.5 million deal for the season with no guarantees after that.

And if the Nuggets allow the market to determine Lawson's value after the season, they could wind up getting bit and losing their speedy point guard. The Houston Rockets and Toronto Raptors were able to sign Omer Asik, Jeremy Lin, and Landry Fields away from their respective teams with "poison pill" contracts as restricted free agents and the same could happen with Lawson.

This situation with Lawson has been creeping up all summer and we'll know in just a couple days which way the Nuggets and Lawson will play it.

Related article: Front office arms race: Masai Ujiri vs. Sam Presti

Nate_Timmons on Twitter: https://twitter.com/Nate_Timmons
ntimmons73@yahoo.com

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