NBA Free Agency 2012: 10 Players Denver Nuggets Must Avoid

Rich Kurtzman@@RichKurtzman Senior Analyst IMay 8, 2012

NBA Free Agency 2012: 10 Players Denver Nuggets Must Avoid

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    After losing a back-and-forth game Sunday night against the Los Angeles Lakers to go down 3-1 in their first-round series, the Denver Nuggets look to start their offseason soon.

    This team has had four looks—Melo, New York Nuggets, 2011 Nuggets and the post-Nene Nuggets now—and there's no sign of the changes stopping any time soon.

    Veteran point guard Andre Miller is set to come off the books at the end of the year and Denver should look to replace him. Miller said he still wants to start, but his leadership has been lacking on the court.

    The team can send Rudy Fernandez a qualifying offer of $3.2 million, but rumor has it he's heading back to Spain after his back heals.

    And newest Nugget, JaVale McGee has a $3.5 million qualifying offer and wants to be paid $10 million annually. It still has to be seen whether the Nuggets will re-sign him or not, but they should attempt to after he played well down the stretch in his first postseason.

    In all, Denver should be $16-19 million under the cap in 2012, meaning there could be many additions in the offseason.

    This is a list of free agents the Nuggs should avoid at all costs.

PG Andre Miller

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    Miller enjoys playing for George Karl, but he hates playing second fiddle to Ty Lawson.

    Even at 14 years in the league, Miller thinks he should still be starting; he won't get that chance in Denver.

    And on the court, his leadership is lackadaisical, especially in the postseason.

    He went 0-4 in Game 2 and was a complete non-factor; in Game 4, he tipped in a ball as it rested on the rim and committed silly fouls.

    He's simply too old to keep up athletically and he doesn't use that wisdom to take advantage of younger players.

    They should look elsewhere for a backup point.

PG Steve Nash

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    Some say the Nuggets should go after Steve Nash, but he won't fit.

    Nash is ancient, but he's also still a starter in the league, as he's proved year-in, year-out.

    Would he be willing to backup Lawson?

    Not likely.

    Neither is him being able to play at the same time as Lawson, which Karl loves to do with his point guards.

G Leandro Barbosa

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    Barbosa seems like a decent backup 2-guard at first glance, but he won't fit in with the team-oriented Nuggets.

    Denver led the league in assists this year and while Barbosa has averaged 12 points per game over his career, the 1.5 assists per are a sign he's got sticky fingers.

    It's great that he can score, but whoever the Nuggets get must be willing and able to share the rock with his teammates.

G Gilbert Arenas

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    If Denver loses Miller, they'll need a veteran in the backcourt—but Arenas shouldn't be the pick.

    He was once one of the deadliest scorers in the world, but Arenas has fallen so far it's sad.

    He's relegated to the deep bench now, following multiple injuries and a wild run-in with a former teammate involving handguns being drawn.

    Not who Denver wants rubbing off on younger players.

G Delonte West

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    Like Arenas, Wes has had off-the-court problems with teammates, namely LeBron James.

    Remember when he allegedly hooked up with LeBron's mom? Wild.

    These Nuggets, who are overwhelmingly young with lots of fresh faces in the locker room, must work on bonding and chemistry.

    West is a possible locker room cancer.

F DeShawn Stevenson

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    Stevenson was a nice player five years ago, but his athletic abilities have diminished and his production has gone with it.

    Despite starting 30 games, Stevenson only averaged three points and two rebounds per game this season.

    The Nuggets should steer clear.

F Kris Humphries

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    Humphries has grown over recent years and enjoyed his best season in 2011-12.

    The 6'9" forward averaged a double-double of 13.6 points and 11 rebounds, but those numbers can be a bit deceiving.


    Humphries played on the Nets with few other talented players, meaning his numbers are bloated compared to what they'd likely be in Denver.

    He also made $8 million last season, too high a number for the Nuggets.

F Carl Landry

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    Landry's a solid player, able to body and box out bigger opponents for rebounds.

    For his size—6'8"—he's a great power forward.

    The only problem?

    Denver already has a man just like him—and possibly even better—in Kenneth Faried.

C Brook Lopez

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    If McGee leaves the Mile High City, the Nuggs will need a new center.

    Hopefully they don't go with Lopez.

    He's a growing young player, at least in the scoring department, but he doesn't do anything else noteworthy.

    Lopez averaged a career-high 19.2 points per this year, but his rebounds were a career-low 3.6 per.

    A seven-foot center's job is to secure those loose rebounds, and Lopez's boarding numbers have shockingly dipped the last two consecutive years.

    Plus, he's not athletic enough to run with Denver's offense.

C Kwame Brown

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    Look up "bust" in the dictionary and you'll find Brown's picture.

    The former first round pick has never lived up to the hype and didn't develop into more than a mediocre basketball player.

    There's no way the Nuggets can consider picking him up in free agency.

Who Should They Get?

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    I opined the Nuggets should let Miller walk and re-sign McGee if they can, but beyond those moves, who should they sign?

    We know who they should avoid.

    Of course, this list is actually much longer.

    But who do you think Denver should pick up in order to get them closer to competing for a championship?