July 16th, 2008 – Dr. J-Water
As a big fan of the Denver Nuggets since Carmelo Anthony came to the league, I almost fell off my chair last night when I heard that the Nuggets had traded their former defensive player of the year Marcus Camby to the LA Clippers for a future SECOND ROUND draft pick! All I could think of was “this must be some sort of mistake,” I know that Rex Chapman is a bit of a risk running the player personnel for the Nuggets, but this is absurd.
After I had a chance to sleep on it, I calmed down enough to realize that NBA player transactions are like a big game of chess. Maybe Chapman made this move in order to trap his opponents for a bigger move down the line? Could we soon see a check mate? Could the $10 million trade exception this created for the Nuggets actually give them the flexibility for another big acquisition they have in the works? Maybe they are looking to get in the trade negotiations to land Ron Artest? If so bringing in that kind of defensive presence could only be a win for Chapman as the Nuggets have probably the weakest backcourt defensively in the NBA. Heck with the news today that Josh Smith doesn’t want to return to the Atlanta Hawks if Mike Woodson is still the coach, maybe the Hawks will consider a sign and trade with the Nuggets?
Then some more time passed. And now I’m back to worrying again. Maybe the mainstream media is right and the Nuggets just made this move to free up some room to brace for their luxury tax payment for being over the salary cap. Or maybe they let go of Camby so they would have the flexibility to sign J.R. Smith to another contract. Good move Chapman, get rid of the last shred of defensive presence you have left (Camby) in order to sign another player with untapped offensive potential with zero defensive commitment (Smith) in order to create more ball sharing problems for the Nuggets! *cough* (sarcasm insert)
Regardless of the eventual outcome of the roster moves this summer for the Nuggets, I don’t see how they will resolve their issue at the Center position. If the Nuggets try to play all season with an undersized Nene at the Center position they will struggle mightily. Kenyon Martin would be no better in that role. The only player long enough to defensively discourage offensive drives to the cup is Steven Hunter, and he clearly is not talented enough to log the heavy minutes required. So will the Nuggets go with another line-up of Carter, Iverson, Anthony, Martin, and Nene? That worked well for them in the playoffs against the Lakers huh? Now if somehow the Nuggets could get their hands on Ron Artest, it could drastically chance the outlook for next season. Artest would bring a toughness and commitment to defense that the Nuggets so desperately need.
Picture a line up where you slide Iverson to the point, Artest at SG, Melo at SF, Martin at PF, and Nene at C. If you run like hell on offense, everyone commits to defense, and you have Kleiza and Smith off the bench for a scoring punch. Now that is a lineup I’d go to battle with!
But we can only dream. For now I’ll stick with:
“The Nuggets have gone Loco!”