Tuesday, February 22, 2011
Sources: Nuggets target Nene extension
ESPN.com news services
Once they officially revamp their roster with the trade of Carmelo Anthony to the New York Knicks, the Denver Nuggets might be turning the page and focusing on their next moves.
The Nuggets are already pitching a contract extension to Nene, a source close to the situation told ESPN.com's Marc Stein.
With Anthony moved, the Nuggets, according to sources, are focused on either extending Nene before the July 30 deadline or executing a trade closer to the draft.
The Brazilian forward has the right to opt out of his contract at season's end and is poised to walk away from the $11.6 million he's scheduled to make in 2011-12 to become a free agent.
It looks like Denver can also field offers for newly acquired forward Danilo Gallinari.
ESPN The Magazine's Chris Broussard reported that the New Jersey Nets might be interested in acquiring the perimeter-shooting forward, but the market for Gallinari might also include the Los Angeles Clippers, Cleveland Cavaliers and Toronto Raptors.
League sources had told ESPN The Magazine's Ric Bucher on Monday night that the Nuggets were not expected to keep Gallinari once the Anthony trade, which also involved the Minnesota Timberwolves, is completed.
But two sources with knowledge of Denver's thinking, however, told Stein Tuesday that the Nuggets are reluctant to trade Gallinari before Thursday's deadline, even for a draft choice as coveted as whatever the Clippers' pick may end up being.
That thinking, sources said, is driven partly by the high regard Nuggets vice president of basketball operations Masai Ujiri has for Gallinari, but also the idea that keeping newly acquired players such as Gallinari and Raymond Felton for the rest of the regular season can not only help Denver stay in the West's top eight, but also give the Nuggets more time to gauge the value of picks offered and the draft positions of the teams offering them heading into what many experts regard as a down draft this June.
ESPN.com's Marc Stein and ESPN The Magazine's Ric Bucher and Chris Broussard contributed to this report.