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Denver Stiffs reader emails...

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Newman_small_mediumHere's a sampling of some of the emails received throughout July and responses to them.  Not surprisingly, a lot of Nuggets fans are getting anxious about the Nuggets inactivity in the offseason thus far.

 

 

 

Ap_camby_small_mediumAndrew, I am concerned about the Nuggs making the playoffs, let alone winning the West.  Dallas, San Antonio, Portland, and the Lakers are all going to be improved.  You can argue that Houston will drop without Yao and Artest, but Golden State and OKC will be better. If the Nuggs lose Nene or K-Mart for a prolonged period (and they are due for a season-ending injury) the Nuggs will struggle to nab the 8th seed.  The key: acquiring a shot blocking center so Nene can move to PF and add some depth to the front line.  Bring back Camby!

-Chip E.

This email is indicative of what's been coming into the Denver Stiffs email box all summer long.  Almost all the fans - me included - want the Nuggets to bring in a true five-man (i.e. center) so that Nene can move to his natural position of power forward.  But as stated on this blog and elsewhere, the only way the Nuggets could pull off such a move would be to include Steven Hunter's $3.7 million guaranteed contract, use some of their trade exception money and take back a bigger contract.

Bringing back Marcus Camby has always intrigued me and I included a re-acquisition of Camby in my "four bold trades" column at the beginning of July.  I took a lot of heat for the mere suggestion of bringing back Camby, but I still don't think it's the worst idea in the world.  Additionally, much has changed in the NBA since I wrote that column.  The Lakers re-armed by signing Ron Artest and re-signing Lamar Odom, the Spurs brought in Antonio McDyess, the Trail Blazers signed Andre Miller and the Mavericks traded for Shawn Marion and signed Drew Gooden and Tim Thomas.  Before I get bashed again for wanting to see Camby in a Nuggets uniform next season, remember the positives: he knows the "system," he'll be in a contract year (read: he'll be remarkably healthy as he plays for his last contract), he has a great backup in Chris Andersen and he'll free up Nene to move to power forward.  And given the new landscape at the top of the Western Conference, what do the Nuggets have to lose?

 

Ap_gasol_small_mediumI'm actually in favor one of your suggestions: Kleiza/Hunter for Marc Gasol/Greg Buckner. I want Gasol to be wearing a Denver jersey next season, but I also want to ask who is now the backup small forward for Melo when Kleiza is gone?!

-Vince G.

The Marc Gasol trade suggestion has gone over so well that not seeing the younger Gasol in a Nuggets jersey next season will be nothing short of a disappointment.  The reality on the ground, so to speak, has changed however; Greg Buckner was included in the Shawn Marion deal.  Additionally, Memphis' rookie center Hasheem Thabeet performed poorly during the Las Vegas Summer League which makes Gasol more valuable to the Grizzlies than he was before the draft.  Therefore, if the Nuggets were to acquire Gasol today, they'd likely have to take back Marco Jaric's horrific two-year, $14.7 million guaranteed contract.  That's a steep price to pay considering the raises due to Melo, K-Mart, Chauncey, Nene and J.R. going into 2010-11.  Re-acquiring Camby looks even better!

Losing Kleiza is another matter and a legitimate concern.  Whether the Nuggets lose Kleiza via a trade or free agency, his offensive spark off the bench would be greatly missed.  Renaldo Balkman would likely become Melo's primary backup, but he can't shoot worth a damn.  A lot of readers were hoping for the Nuggets to sign Melo's former college teammate Hakim Warrick, but that ship sailed when he inked a one-year deal with the Milwaukee Bucks.

 

Ap_stack_small_mediumHow about Jerry Stackhouse off the bench for the Nuggs?  I think he would be a better option than Arron Afflalo (although Stack won't be able to play nearly as good of D). Stack a veteran leader, a Carolina alum and basically took the last year off from basketball while rotting away on the Mavs bench. If we were planning on giving a 1 year vet's min to another two-guard this would be my guy.

-Geoff S.

Stackhouse will be 35 this July and hasn't been able to stay healthy for six years.  Check out his games played going backward six seasons: 10, 58, 67, 55, 56, 26.  That being said, there are a lot of merits to Geoff's argument and if the Nuggets were to lose Kleiza, signing Stackhouse is an intriguing idea.  I just don't know the current status of Stackhouse's health.  Healthy or not, at 35 years old I don't like Stack more than Afflalo.

 

Ap_jason-hart_small_medium Andrew, congrats on the merger. You and Nate are by far the best bloggers for the Nuggets and it is great to see you working together. What is the story with Jason Hart? I don’t know what his contract is with the Nuggets but I’m guessing that we wont re-sign him now that we have Ty Lawson. If he does go, what kind of salary does that clear up?

-Shannon D.

Thanks for the congrats!  Working with Nate is going to be great (like how that rhymes?).  By sharing/alternating content, I think we'll both write better because we won't have to endure all the pressure of keeping this blog active by ourselves.  

Jason Hart was on a season-ending deal with the Nuggets last season and likely won't be back unless Anthony Carter ends up signing elsewhere.  If A.C. were to leave or if he, Chauncey or Lawson were to get hurt at some point during the season, we might see Hart signed a 10-day contract or two along the way.  Salary cap-wise, losing Hart means nothing.  Including Chris Andersen's new contract in which he's owed $3.9 million this season, the Nuggets current cap number is about $76 million.

 

Ap_tony-battie_small_mediumAndrew, new website is great - love having both views in one place. I was reading Chris Sheridan's latest article about guys who could be traded by the 2010 deadline.  One of the guys on his list was Tony Battie.  He makes $6.3M this year and has an expiring deal.  Seems like he would be a great guy to fit into the trade exception. Get a second round pick or a protected future first or something, send a couple million dollars out the door in cash and maybe Hunter and get a guy who can defend, hit a jumper and play 12 minutes a night when Birdman, Martin and Nene are tired and/or hurt. I suppose this is likely conditioned on Kroenke taking on more payroll and sending out some cash to New Jersey (Battie's current team), but if the Nuggets get off to a great start and can get some front court insurance with Battie it seems like it would be worth it (easy to say when it isn't my money).  Have you heard anything about Battie?  Or does this make sense to you?

-Eric B.

Interesting suggestion.  I have an admitted unhealthy bias against Tony Battie.  I've hated his game since the Nuggets squandered the fifth overall pick in the draft on him in 1997 and hold him somewhat accountable for the disastrous 11-win 1997-98 Nuggets.  I even nominated him for the Denver Stiffs Hall of Fame and the readers of this blog voted him third among forwards, meaning Nikoloz Tskitishvili (the WORST fifth overall pick in NBA history) and Joe Wolf were formally inducted over Battie.  But it's not Battie's fault that then-GM Allan Bristow drafted him fifth, assembled one of the worst rosters in NBA history and that Bill Hanzlik wasn't really ready to be an NBA head coach.

In looking hard at Battie's numbers over at Basketball Reference, Battie has actually had a semi-decent career.  And at 6'11", he could possibly be an insurance policy to K-Mart and Nene at the 2010 trade deadline.  But Battie might pull an Antonio McDyess and refuse to show up for having ill feelings towards all things Nuggets.  Remember, former Nuggets broadcaster turned coach turned awful GM Dan Issel once publicly labeled Battie "El Busto" during the kid's rookie year.  Looks like Battie and the $48-plus million he's made over 10 solid NBA seasons is having the last laugh.

 

Andy, well done on the SB nation move.  Nate - looking forward to your writings.  I really like the new site, but I'd love to see more team colors.  It looks really sharp with the black but I'm looking for the flash and dash that the Nuggets are!  

-Dillon W.

I'm excited about the SB Nation move and am glad you like the new site.  Almost all the reader emails and comments I've seen are in favor of the move.  As you've pointed out, my only complaint is that all their sites are laid out the same and there's very little customization that we can currently do to Denver Stiffs.  To their credit, SB Nation takes suggestions and complaints from their bloggers and readers seriously, and are always improving their network of websites.  So as this site becomes more customizable, look for the site to be more true to the "flash and dash" of the old school Nuggets.  

 

Thanks to the readers as always for supporting the blog!  If you'd like your suggestions or questions featured in the next reader email column, please email them to denverstiffs@gmail.com.

 

(Photos courtesy of AP photographers Gloria Ferniz, Mark J. Terrill, Kevork Sezian and David Phillip)