The Nuggets' offseason is, without question, the busiest and most important offseason in the NBA. Nene Hilario, Aaron Afflalo, JR Smith, Wilson Chandler, Kenyon Martin, and Gary Forbes, all key parts of Denver's roster, are all free agents. They can't keep all of them for financial reasons, but after drafting Kenneth Faried and Trading for Jordan Hamilton, they can surely salvage just as good as a team as last season (after the Melo Trade). But it's not going to be easy. Here's a step-step-plan to keep the Denver Nuggets at the same level:
First off, here's Denver's full roster, to give you an idea of where they stand:
* = Rookie
Name Position Status
Andre Miller PG Under Contract
Ty Lawson PG Under Contract
Aaron Afflalo SG RFA (Restricted Free Agent)
JR Smith SG UFA (Unrestricted Free Agent)
Danilo Gallinari SF Under Contract
Wilson Chandler SF RFA
Gary Forbes SF RFA
Jordan Hamilton* SF Under Contract
Kenyon Martin PF UFA
Al Harrington PF Under Contract
Melvin Ely PF UFA
Kenneth Faried* PF Under Contract
Nene Hilario C UFA
Chris Andersen C Under Contract
Kosta Koufos C Under Contract
Chukwudierbe Maduabum* C Under Contract
Timofey Mozgov C Under Contract
Nene is the closest thing to a star the Nuggets have. He is also one of the oldest and most experienced players on their roster. They need to keep him to keep their roster complete.
Aaron Afflalo is very young, but he's already one of the leaders of this Denver team. He's a great sharp shooter and play-maker, and the Nuggets need him in their lineup.
JR Smith has been a fan favorite since he landed in Denver, so it will be tough to let him go. Still, it's best for the team to part ways with him. He's a great player when he's hot, but he's very streaky and inconsistent, and he demands too much money anyway. The Nuggets can get a more consistent player for less money.
There are some good options out there in free agency. Delonte West, Jeff Green, and Von Wafer, all playing for the Celtics last year, are viable options for the Nuggets as free agents. Other options are Deshawn Stevenson or Peja Stokjakovic from Dallas, Rasual Butler from Chicago, Shannon Brown from the LA Lakers, and Daequan Cook from Oklahoma City. But the best option out there in my opinion is Marco Bellineli from the New Orleans Hornets. He's a very good shooter, just as good as a hot JR Smith. He is restricted, but I think the Hornets will be too busy with Chris Paul and David West to worry about Bellineli.
This is a move that many people expect the Nuggets to make. After drafting super-reboudner Kenneth Faried, there's not much of a reason to keep an aging Martin around. But, much like JR Smith, he will be tough to let go of because he's a fan favorite. Still, the Nuggets have to do this for financial reasons, and it will work out for the best.
Wilson Chandler is a good player, but not a necessity in the Nuggets lineup. Jordan Hamilton can replace him off the bench, or he can step into Gary Forbes' role of last year while Forbes moves up to bench. Either way, Chandler can be replaced and will not be missed much, since he was only around for half a season.
Melvin Ely was never an important part of the Nuggets. He was playing the role at PF that Forbes was playing at SF, but not as well. He can easily be replaced by rookie Chukwudierbe Maduabum. Denver will be just fine without him, and they could use the money.
PG Andre Miller
SG Aaron Afflalo
SF Danilo Gallinari
PF Al Harrington
C Nene Hilario
PG Ty Lawson
SG Marco Bellineli
SF Jordan Hamilton
PF Kenneth Faried
C Chris Andersen
SF Gary Forbes
C Kosta Koufos
C Chukwdierbe Maduabum
C Timofey Mozgov