Denver Nuggets: Tailspin Back to Inferiority? (Part Two)

Cody BlubaughAnalyst IJuly 18, 2008

After weeks of trying to decipher the baffling decisions made by the Denver Nugget’s front office in my first first article of this two part series, they threw perhaps the biggest curve-ball to date:  the trade of Marcus Camby to the Los Angeles Clippers.

Wednesday morning came much the same as it always does:  Wake up, turn on the TV, and flip to the series of ESPN channels.  It was then when I caught a teaser informing the viewers that Marcus Camby was no longer a Denver Nugget.

The possibilities were racing through my head, both good and bad, as to what the Nuggets front office might have pulled off.  Then I got to thinking, what could the Clippers really offer for Camby?  My hopes were fading fast, and rightfully so.

The Denver Nuggets received no players in the deal.  They received no future draft picks.

So what exactly made this deal so enticing?  It was a salary dump to the tune of 20 million dollars, in addition to a trade exception totaling 10 million dollars.

Color me unimpressed.

The upside of the trade is obviously getting rid of Camby’s contract, providing some much needed salary cap relief.  That was one of my keys to a quick rebuilding process.  This will allow without a shadow of a doubt that the Nugget’s will retain J.R. Smith.

Now the Nugget’s can build around a young core of Carmelo Anthony, Linas Kleiza, Nene, and J.R. Smith.

The trade exception is what is mind-boggling to me.  If a team were looking to get rid of contracts, why ask for a trade exception?  Now the Nugget’s must find 10 million dollars worth of a player to use it on.  So in essence they got rid of a bad contract to take in another? 

Case in point, the New Jersey Net’s reportedly offered a package of Nenad Kristic, Josh Boone, & Marcus Williams for Camby, and the Nugget’s rejected it.  If that’s the case, Denver obviously didn’t want to take back salaries, making the trade expense perplexing, as stated above.

There exists one alternative to all of this.  Denver seems to have a loaded gun involving the ever so enticing expiring contract of Allen Iverson, three draft picks in 2009, as well as the rather large trade exception.

Is there a scenario out there to satisfy that sort of deal?  I’ll leave that to you readers and arm-chair GM’s to come up with ideas and dreams.

Another option would be not to use the exception at all.  If that were the case, why not ask for at least a draft pick while you’re at it?  That makes for more alluring trade packages when you have four draft picks to work with in 2009.

If the front office is choosing to strictly travel down the salary dump road, they must prove it and send Allen Iverson on his way.  If they do not, I’m not quite sure what the thought process is here.

To make matters worse, the trade left Denver pretty thin in their front-court, after the Nuggets chose not to draft a big in this year’s draft when plenty were available at pick No. 20. 

Who was available at pick No. 20?  Kosta Koufus, DeAndre Jordan, or Alex Ajinca all would have been assets and made dealing Camby more tolerable.

So what are the options now?  Chris “Birdman” Anderson and Francisco Elson.  No, really, that is not a joke.  What’s next?  Are they to re-acquire Earl Boykins and lure Voshon Leonard out of whatever rock he is hiding under?

One would think that the front office wouldn’t be dumb enough to just sit on their hands while other Western Conference teams pass them by.  I’m not holding my breath though.

So the jury is still out on whether or not this trade was worth it.  Several opportunities exist, and the next move should provide what direction the Denver Nugget’s front office is taking the team.

In the mean time, Nugget’s fans remain pessimistic, hoping that the team does not revisit the nightmares of a downtrodden past.