Time for Denver Nuggets fans to officially be worried about this offseason?

[Note: Originally Posted 07-13-2010 at 07:33 AM by DenButsu]

I think most of the posters who have been here for a while would agree that I have mostly been supportive of the current front office in terms of their general approach and in terms of their specific decision making. There have been a few times, such as when they didn’t pull the trigger on Linas Kleiza for Ron Artest, , or failed to use the trade exception gained by dumping Marcus Camby’s salary, when I disagreed with their choice (even though I could understand the logic behind it). But there have been more times when I have been impressed by their ability to find quality pieces at bargain prices (Arron Afflalo and Chris Andersen), to make the occasional big deal at timely opportunities (Allen Iverson and Chauncey Billups), and to make the right cost cutting moves (Camby).

But to me, the moves they have made this offseason – which can be perfectly summed up in one word: “None” – have engendered some serious skepticism about their competence in dealing with other teams and attracting talent to Denver. he Nuggets desperately need to add frontcourt depth to their roster. But the list of forwards and centers who they failed to acquire before other teams grabbed them up first just keeps growing longer and longer. Al Jefferson. Udonis Haslem. Jermaine O’Neal. Ben Wallace. Tyrus Thomas. Travis Outlaw. And the beat goes on…

The Nuggets still hold several tradeable assets; in a very talented (but somewhat toxic by reputation) J.R. Smith, the expiring contract of Kenyon Martin, a great defensive role player in Arron Afflalo, and, should they choose to delve into more quasi-untouchable territory, Nene and Chauncey Billups. However, with the departure of Johan Petro, any trade involving one of their bigs is extremely risky, and trading one for another does nothing to add to depth.

Additionally, it’s at this stage impossible to gauge not only the veracity of the various rumors regarding whether Carmelo Anthony intends (or not) to sign the extension the Nuggets have put on the table before him, which would keep him in Denver at least until 2015, but also the impact these rumors may be having in distancing potential free agents. Did Haslem reject greater income in Denver purely because he’s chasing a ring, or was it also because he believes Melo won’t be with the Nuggets beyond the 2010-11 season? (And for this, Denver thanks you for stirring the pot, Mark Kiszla, and we hope you will get the hell out of dodge and find yourself a happy home at your natural habitat, the New York Post).

At any rate, two things are clear, and are clearly dovetailing each other: One, that the future of the Nuggets hinges on whether Melo signs his extension offer or not, and two, whether the front office brass in the Pepsi Center can bring in a big gun or two which will serve to convince Melo to stick around. But as yet, Nuggets fans have not seen many indications that the management has the ability to make a convincing case for Anthony to stick around.

It’s not time yet for Nuggets fans to throw in the towel yet. But after this whole-lotta-nothin’ which has defined the Nuggets’ offseason thus far, if they fail to bring in a big gun or two, and fail to make the case to Melo that he needs to stick around, then off with their freakin’ heads. Two years ago Western Conference finalists, and so quickly it comes to this? There must be accountability.

Hopefully, it won’t come to that. But at this point, I’m no longer holding my breath.


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