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So what did I miss while I was gone?...

I'm still scrubbing the dork B.O. off of me, but I've successfully survived yet another San Diego Comic-Con. Before we get to the latest Nuggets-related news, pardon me while I geek out on you just a little.

As a kid, I had two sets of heroes: NBA players and cartoonists. While rooting for Alex English and Fat Lever, I also religiously followed Mike Peters and Gary Larson. But my favorite cartoonist - and the one who inspired me to get into cartooning in the first place - was none other than the Rocky Mountain News' Drew Litton (pictured to the left with Mike Peters and me).

I first met Drew at his desk at the Rocky when I was a 10 year old aspiring cartoonist, and it was the highlight of my young life. I didn't see Drew again until I was 21 and had just co-created my current comic strip, and he gave me invaluable advice that led to the success of my strip today. And this past weekend, in San Diego, we met again...and it was the best part of the weekend. We caught up about old times, talked about turning our comics into animated cartoons (which we've both done recently), Denver sports, this blog and just about everything else. It was awesome.

And then, to top it off, I got to meet Mike Peters for the first time, too. Unbeknownst to me until this past weekend, Mike lives in Aspen much of the year and he told me that he loves reading my comic in the Aspen Times. He was probably just being nice, but it sure feels good when one of your childhood heroes tells you that he likes your work. So there you have it, I got to hang out with Drew Litton and Mike Peters. What a weekend!

So what did I miss while I was gone?...

I see that while the jury is still out on Mark Warkentien's ability to play chess, he sure knows how to bargain shop. The Nuggets are doing things cheap, cheap, cheap, evident by the signings of Chris "Birdman" Andersen and Dahntay "Don't Expect Me to Pass" Jones. I'm ok with both signings - more so Birdman than Jones - given they cost virtually nothing by NBA standards. But I'd have preferred the Nuggets kept their first round choice that was traded to Charlotte and procured another in the Marcus Camby trade and rebuilt the team that way. I know first round picks are a bit pricier than Anderson and Jones' "paltry" $1 million deals, but at least the Nuggets would be taking a shot at improving the team in the future, rather than just filling in roster spots.

Meanwhile, the Nuggets are allegedly trading Taurean Green and Bobby Jones to the Knicks for Renaldo Balkman. With the new budget cuts taking place, the Nuggets probably don't want to pay for the extra lettering before the name "Jones" on the back of Bobby and Dahntay's jerseys. Or maybe it would just confuse George Karl too much to have two Joneses on the team. Either way, this trade wouldn't mean much to Denver, other than we'll have yet another mid-size swingman with no discernible skills. I'll give Balkman this, though: he's always in constant motion and seems to plays hard every minute he's on the floor. But they say that about a lot of guys who frankly just suck (see Bowen, Ryan and Madsen, Mark).

And a few readers have written in asking about a rumored Allen Iverson-to-the-Bulls trade. I've done some digging online, and haven't found any credible news sources discussing it. But several blogs have brought it up, making me assume - for now - that it's just a blog-based concoction (which is still a step above a Peter Vecsey concoction). The rumored trade would send A.I. and Nene to the Bulls for Kirk Hinrich, Ben Gordon and Joakim Noah. At first, I thought such a trade would make absolutely no sense for the Bulls. Why would they possibly want to bring first round pick Derrick Rose along with A.I. as his back court mate? They'd get killed defensively by taller guards. But on closer inspection, perhaps the Bulls want to dump Hinrich's salary and like Nene's potential, so they'd be willing to eat the A.I. contract for one year to make it happen. But again, until I see something on a more credible site, I doubt this deal is happening.

And of course, Carmelo Anthony is off to Beijing with the US Olympic Basketball Team, and once I get caught up on everything, we'll talk Olympics this week.

So for now, the 2008-09 Nuggets roster is shaping up with forwards Carmelo Anthony, Nene, Kenyon Martin, Linas Kleiza, Balkman and Andersen, center Steven Hunter, and guards Iverson, J.R. Smith, Dahntay Jones, Anthony Carter, Sonny Weems and Chucky Atkins. That's 13 of 15 roster spots filled with no real point guard, no real center, no real shooter and Birdman being the only "defender." Gulp. If I think about it too much right now, it will just ruin my Monday.