Now that the July 11th free agent signing date has come and gone, teams can start inking the players that they've signed to offer sheets ... or not. I wish there were more to offer on our Nuggets this off-season, but Masai Ujiri plays things close to the chest. We may start to hear news regarding JaVale McGee come pretty quickly in the next few days, so stay tuned.
Take a look after the jump for the latest news and notes on player movement and free agency during this busy NBA offseason.
The NBA free agency period and subsequent signings seems to create feelings amongst many NBA fans similar to the Kübler-Ross model:
1. Denial - "I feel fine"; "This can't be happening, not to me", "There's no way Joe Johnson can be making $90 million dollars over the next four seasons".
2. Anger - "Why me? It's not fair!" "How can this happen to me?" "Why does David Kahn keep trading our draft picks?!"
3. Bargaining - "I'll do anything for a few more years." ; "I will dismantle my team if we can have a shot at Deron Williams"
4. Depression - "I'm so sad, why bother with anything?" ; "
We're going to be taking back Brook Lopez, Luke Walton, Damion James, Shelden Williams, Armon Johnson and three first-round picks -- two from the Nets and a lottery-protected first from the Clippers - for future Hall of Fame Center Dwight Howard. Why do I even watch basketball?"
(UPDATE: According to ESPN's Ric Bucher, the Nets have ended their trade talks with Dwight Howard. Dwight seems to have really screwed himself out of going to Brooklyn by opting in to play in the 2012-2013 season. Now, he has virtually no chance of heading to Brooklyn, given Brooklyn's signing of Joe Johnson and their apparent "max" deal to Brook Lopez. The Dwightmare continues apace. Poor Magic fans.)
5. Acceptance - "It's going to be okay." ; "I can't fight it, I may as well prepare for it." ; "Carmelo and Stoudemire really isn't the amazing tandem we thought it would be."
Frankly, the Nuggets having a relatively quiet offseason is okay by me. We had our dose of drama with Carmelo Anthony's free agency and I can't help but have a little sympathy for what Magic fans are going through right now. I feel that with a full off-season and training camp this (very) young team will really start to gel, and not only can they return to the playoffs for a 10th straight season next year, they may actually improve their playoff seeding.
Rudy Fernandez leaving was no great loss to the team, as it'll open up minutes for the dynamic Jordan Hamilton. Many Stiffs seem high on rookie draft pick Quincy Miller, and re-signing crafty veteran Andre Miller for a reported 3 more years is a steal, regardless of how much you think he slows the Nuggets normally frenetic pace. Evan Fournier has also been signed, bringing the Nuggets' roster to 15 (assuming McGee is resigned). It seems that a trade or amnesty is inevitable if the Nuggets also wish to retain "Q-Miller".
Keeping most of the team intact while providing this young group of players a full off-season and training camp is a great way for Masai to truly evaluate the assets he's acquired in his short tenure in Denver, and I applaud him for not overpaying (yet) or trying to make a move "just because". I'm still nervous that there's been virtually no news about big man JaVale McGee, but I'm confident that Masai will do what it takes to bring him back. I'm okay with standing pat. How about you?
News and Notes from Around the League:
- Minnesota really wants Nicolas Batum - In yet another baffling display of incompetency from the Timberwolves front office, a "source" reports that free-agent forward Nicolas Batum will be sent to Minnesota in exchange for two future first-round draft picks and a veteran small forward acquired from a third team (rumored to be Kyle Korver). This is after already mortgaging one future first round pick for Chase Budinger. Batum's a pretty solid player, but TWO future first rounders on top of the one already given away for Budinger, that are rumored to only be top 3 or 6 protected? Who do the Timberwolves think they are, the Knicks? Good lord.
- Blake Griffin re-signs with the Clippers for a reported $95 million over 5 years - Looks like Los Angeles' resident "thrunker" has signed on for the long haul with the Clippers. Will Donald Sterling surround Griffin with enough talent around him and CP3 to finally make the Clippers relevant for more than a season?
- Marcus Camby will return to the New York Knicks for $13.2 million over three years - Does James Dolan really believe that the venerable Camby is what's going to take this team over the top? Between his deal and Steve Novak re-signing for a reported 4 years and $15 million dollars, maybe over the top of the luxury tax. A poorly managed team just getting older and slower. Enjoy your bed, Melo.
- Kevin Love is getting tired of Minnesota - Look, I know a lot of people (including many Stiffs) love to love Love. I'm of the opinion that he is a decent player on a bad team, and thus looks a lot better than he actually is. When you combine that with him throwing the entire Timberwolves franchise under the bus in a very public way, there's no way I would want the guy on my squad.
- Indiana Pacers match Portland Trailblazers offer for Roy Hibbert - Indiana has set the bar for big man prices this offseason with a reported four year, $58 million deal for the 7'2" center. Does this drive the price up for McGee? How will Masai respond to what are likely large offers for the Nuggets' most promising young big man?
- Tim Duncan re-signs with the Spurs for 3 years, $36 million - In a move that will likely see Duncan retire as a Spur, the Spurs keep one of the best (but aging) frontcourt players of all time. As much as I dislike aspects of the Spurs (lookin' at you, Manu Ginobili) Tim Duncan is a class act, and it's great to see a franchise player stick around for his entire career with one team. Good for Timmeh.
- Brook Lopez is gonna get paid - In a deal worth a reported 4 years and SIXTY MILLION American Dollars, Brook Lopez appears to be on the verge of being retained by the Nets. Brook seems like a promising big, but
is injury prone - and that's an understatement - appears to be susceptible to the type of nagging foot injuries that plagued players like Yao Ming, and is now going to be wrecking any cap room the Nets have for the forseeable future. Good luck with him and Joe Johnson, Brooklyn.