Denver Overview

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Denver Overview

Was Denver’s $65 million 3 year offer to Melo perhaps almost a no-mans land offer, it is hugely lucrative but with all the major 2010 FA’s taking 5 or 6 year deals then perhaps a longer term deal would have been more appropriate for Melo. He had just turned 27 years old last summer and a long term offer by Denver would potentially have indicated to him that they wanted him to see out the rest of his peak career with them. A lucrative 5 or 6 year deal would have been very hard for him to turn down and having that on the table would have strengthened Denver’s bargaining power at the very least. Joe Johnson’s 6 year deal is worth over $120 million and so a 6 year deal for Melo could have been worth maybe up to $140 million. It would have been a gamble by Denver as it would have taken Melo up to 33 or 34 years old but perhaps they could have levelled out the last couple of years to save the salary automatically keep increasing and still given Melo an average of well over $20 million per season for the duration of his contract. With a 3 year deal expiring in 2014, Melo would be just turning 31 years old then so signing another long term deal then may not be so lucrative then. Also with his player’s option for 2011-12 then Denver were almost only offering Melo a two year extension on his current deal.

Although Melo does voice concerns about losing salary under the prospective new CBA and there have been rumours that he is money motivated, I honestly believe that he does want to have the best chance to obtain a title. Denver did trade to get AI and as far back as 2004 had signed K-Mart to a monster deal to give the then young Melo a potential All Star running mate but Stan Kroenke cut costs by trading away DPOY Marcus Camby in 2007/08 and insisted that Antonio McDyess was waived when AI was traded on as K-Mart’s by now hefty contract began to bite and Kroenke spread his sports empire around the world.

Denver did sign Al Harrington last summer but have not made any moves to improve the current roster and would logically not consider adding quality complimentary players unless Melo was to commit longer term to Denver. If Melo does move on then I think we can assume that K-Mart would not remain in Denver next year probably taking a much reduced contract with a contender as a veteran presence unless Denver asked him specifically to stay on and help mentor any young bigs they may sign or draft. Billups has a $4 million buyout on a contract for over $14 million next season and even though he would provide excellent veteran presence to any team rebuilding, I feel that Denver will either buy him out or look to trade him on for an asset and Billups takes on a longer deal for less money with any number of contenders. Billups turns 35 years old this autumn but could logically still play at a high level for maybe another 2 or 3 years at least. Nene has a player’s option worth $11.6 million and after having his strongest season may well opt out to test the FA waters and if Melo does move on then he may decide to as well. Nene will turn 29 years old this year so his next contract could be his last big one and his decision will come down to does he take guaranteed money for next year and then try FA in 2012 or take a chance this year and hope his good performances could net him a $10 million a year plus contract in the FA market.

The interesting part could be do Denver going into rebuild see Nene as someone they could try to rebuild around and get back into contention quickly or would they view that the outlay for a player in his late 20’s would not be appropriate if they were to maybe rebuild via the draft and it takes a few year. Al Harrington has 4 years left on his deal after this summer and unless Denver can package him with another asset then moving him may be difficult given the time left on his contract and it being MLE level. Harrington could be used to fill playing time and help mentor any young bigs they may sign and then perhaps be traded on further down his contract to a contender. Chris Anderson has a couple of years left on his deal but his defensive presence from the bench might attract a contender so Denver could get a taker for him.

If everyone opts out and Billups is brought out then Denver will have huge cap space to start rebuilding but with only Ty Lawson as a possible immediate long term piece and unless they can get hold of future draft picks then it may mean they have to go down the FA road merely to get a roster together for next season and if they don’t sign anyone major then it may mean tanking for a couple of seasons to get some high draft picks in the near future. The only other way to get draft picks could be to stay well under cap and do what Seattle/Oklahoma did and take on a few salary dumps to get picks.

Also Coach Karl has had well documented health issues and turns 60 years old soon and if the team had to go into rebuild would he want to have to coach a losing team or be part of what might be a long term rebuilding plan. Perhaps an idea would be to make use of Coach Karl’s experience and knowledge by giving him a Senior Front Office Role where he could work alongside their relatively new GM and provide support to a younger Head Coach. This would mean that Coach Karl would not have to undertake the punishing NBA travel schedule all season and could vary his workload according to his health going forward but Denver would retain the knowledge of a vastly experienced NBA Head Coach who would surely be a huge asset evaluating potential draft talent and they could make use of all his connections etc.

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