There has been a lot of angst on social media about the Denver Nuggets and their lack of free agent activity. Teams have been handing out money to new free agents, and handing out big bucks to retain their own free agents. The Nuggets however, haven't been that active because their core guys are all under contract headed into the 2015-16 NBA season, for better or worse.
The team salary is currently hovering around the $60 million mark, and the projected salary cap for the 2015-16 campaign is around $67-$69 million, according to reports. Denver still needs to sign contracts for Emmanuel Mudiay (should be around $3 million), Nikola Jokic (should be between $2M-$4M per season), Restricted Free Agent Will Barton, and unrestricted free agents Jameer Nelson and Darrell Arthur.
Chris Dempsey of the Denver Post is reporting that Denver has been in contract talks with their own unrestricted free agent Arthur, and might bring him back.
The Nuggets and unrestricted free agent Darrell Arthur have been in productive talks about a new contract, according to sources close to the situation. No deal, however, is imminent.
In the piece, Dempsey notes that Detroit and Washington have also reached out to Arthur. The big man averaged 6.6 points and 2.9 rebounds for the Nuggets in 17 minutes per game for the team, in 58 games last season. Arthur is lauded for his defense, and ability to space the floor in the pick-and-pop game.
Frustration mounted from fans as Arthur took a career high 110 three-pointers under Brian Shaw, only making 26 of them (23.6%). Before last season, Arthur had only attempted 91 threes in his five seasons in the NBA. If he comes back to Denver, hopefully Michael Malone will find better use for Arthur.
Bringing back Arthur at all comes with a lot of questions. He has been working out this offseason in Denver at Pepsi Center, was seen as a great locker room presence, and has excellent work ethic. At 27 years-old (he'll be 28 next March), Arthur was always on the court well before tipoff, getting in an extensive pregame sweat. He often would huddle with assistant coach Noel Gillespie after those workouts, and the two were always looking at a laptop that Noel carried. It's anyone's guess as to what they were looking at. Arthur has also taken to Denver, as he's an outdoorsman and loves to fish.
This would be a good move for the Nuggets, but with the following guys able to play minutes at power forward - the signing would create a pretty tremendous logjam for Malone:
1.) Kenneth Faried
2.) J.J. Hickson
3.) Darrell Arthur
4.) Joffrey Lauvergne
5.) Danilo Gallinari
6.) Wilson Chandler
7.) Nikola Jokic
While Joffrey and Jokic could see minutes at center, especially Jokic, and Gallo and Chandler primarily play small forward, it's still an odd move for Denver to seriously try to bring Arthur back. The move should only be made if the Nuggets are able to move a couple guys to new teams.
This is Denver's first real free agent news, and while I like the potential return of Arthur, I'm guessing it won't be met with great fanfare.