Denver Nuggets Extend Offer to Al Harrington: Does He Fit in Denver?

Rich KurtzmanSenior Analyst IJuly 13, 2010

NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 09: Al Harrington #7 of the New York Knicks dunks the ball against the Utah Jazz at Madison Square Garden on November 9, 2009 in New York City. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
Nick Laham/Getty Images

In this wild summer of free agency, the Denver Nuggets have been extremely quiet during an important time in franchise history.

Carmelo Anthony is waiting on the front office to make a move before he signs his extension—he wants a big man, so do a plethora of Nuggets fans—yet Denver hasn’t signed anyone new.

In fact, the Nuggets lost their one young big man, seven-footer Johan Petro, to the Nets. Petro was showing some potential. He was growing better as a role player, and Denver let him go to New Jersey.

It’s not to say the Nuggets front office hasn’t been trying, but it makes one wonder how hard they’re trying with all the movement around the Association.

Denver offered Udonis Haslem somewhere between $10-20 million more than he eventually took to stay in Miami with Mike Miller. Yes, Haslem said the deciding factor was playing with Miller, who teamed up with Haslem at the University of Florida.

The Nuggets wanted Jermaine O’Neal, but he went to the Celtics, and it’s better for Denver that he took his aged body to Boston.

Denver also showed interest in Zydrunas Ilgauskas, but he flew to Miami to reunite with LeBron James and team up with Bosh and Wade.

So, now that a multitude of players have either moved on to greener pastures or have re-signed with their current teams—the Nuggets have made another offer to an additional big man—Al Harrington.

The Denver Post's Benjamin Hochman reported today, "The Nuggets are after another reserve big man, this time former Knicks player Al Harrington," a league source said on Tuesday afternoon.

"Harrington is interested in numerous teams," the source said, "including Dallas, but Denver could be a good fit."

Harrington, in reality, is the most talented of all the players the Nuggets have been interested in signing this summer—but does he fit the team?

Harrington, a 6’9”, 250-pound forward, could play the three or four position, and his numbers are quite comparable with starter Kenyon Martin’s.

K-Mart will be unable to go when the season starts though, and Harrington could fill-in nicely, at least on offense. Harrington averaged 17.7 points but only 5.6 rebounds last season with the Knicks, and he’s never grabbed more than seven boards per game in his career.

Still, Harrington is 30 years old and would inject some life into a front court of Martin, Chris Andersen, and Nene that is perennially injured and aging quickly.

But is Harrington’s attitude an intelligent fit in Denver?

Nuggets’ head coach George Karl has struggled in recent years to manage the explosive personalities of Martin and J.R. Smith, who plays selfishly as well, and the sometimes sloppiness of Carmelo Anthony.

Would it be wise to add another hot-headed personality in the Denver clubhouse?

Money-wise, the Mavericks have offered Harrington a mid-level exemption, and the Nuggets would likely do the same. Denver still has the MLE to spend from when they signed Andersen last offseason, so both the Nuggets and Mavericks are willing to give Harrington the same $5.8 million per year.

Now it’s all up to Harrington—where he wants to play and who he thinks gives him the best chance of winning.

If he doesn’t go to Denver, it could spell a loss of interest, respect, or confidence by players in the Nuggets' organization.

Other players the Nuggets are reportedly interested in include Brad Miller, Theo Ratliff, Kurt Thomas, and Anthony Tolliver.

The Mavs just traded for Tyson Chandler today, and they're still looking to add Harrington, or even Shaquille O’Neal.

The Utah Jazz may have lost Carlos Boozer, but they got Al Jefferson in a trade Monday.

Even the Golden State Warriors got a big man in All-Star David Lee.

So, while all the contenders and pretenders out West get wild and add pieces that will help them win now, the Nuggets are still sitting with fewer big men than they had last season.

If Denver doesn’t act now, they may be watching the greatest player in franchise history—Carmelo Anthony—walk away from the Nuggets.