Denver, CO. Entering this summer, the Denver Nuggets had three critical pieces of business to take care of. First, they had to figure out what to do with Andre Miller, who became an unrestricted free agent on July 1st. Denver re-signed Miller for the next three seasons, virtually assuring he will finish his career as a Nugget. Second, they had to make it official and let one of the more popular Denver Nuggets go, Chris “Birdman” Andersen. On Tuesday, the seldom used veteran was let go by Denver via the NBA’s Amnesty Clause, freeing the Nuggets of any future salary commitments from the team. Third, they had to decide what to do about JaVale McGee, who burst onto the scene here in Denver after being acquired from the Wizards on March 15th. McGee was a restricted free agent, however on Wednesday he and the Nuggets reached a deal to keep him in Denver for the next four years at an average of $11 million per season.
Is this a good deal for Denver going forward? They really had no choice. In this day and age in the NBA, it’s all about free agents joining forces to play in the big markets. Teams like the Nuggets, in small to mid-sized markets, cannot count on landing any big name free agents anymore. They have to draft exceptionally well, and unfortunately will probably have to overpay for the forseeable future to stay competitive. So signing JaVale McGee, who is now 24 years old, was really something they just had to do. His emergence during the second half of this past season was very impressive at times. His ability to block shots, throw down alley oops, and his raw athleticism were jaw dropping quite often. His offensive game needs a ton of work going forward, but his energy seems to be extremely contagious. The tandem of he and Kenneth Faried along the Nuggets front line made most Denver fans drool at the possibilities down the road. Do GM Masai Ujiri and the Nuggets front office know what they have in McGee? Probably not completely, because nobody does yet. His combination of youth, athletic ability, and potential was just too much to pass up though. Letting him sign with another team would have said to Nuggets Nation that they are not committed to winning. It would have been a big blow, especially after the nice run they made versus the Lakers in the playoffs. This team garnered a lot of momentum in that series, and is something they can truly build upon heading into 2012-2013. Bringing back JaVale McGee means every important piece from last season will be back next season. It’s everything any Denver Nuggets fan could have realistically hoped for.
Denver Sports by J Simp