Andre Iguodala: Denver Nuggets Tipping Their Hand?

By Peter Sherwill
Iguodala Allen
Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

Less than 24 hours into the 2013 NBA Free Agency period and the Denver Nuggets are already seriously tipping their hand when it comes to Andre Iguodala. The Nuggets have already been mentioned in rumors to have interest in Tony Allen and Monta Ellis. While Ellis is not known for his defensive prowess, Allen is and the Nuggets could already be seeking out a replacement for Iguodala.

Iguodala was scheduled to meet with several suitors on Monday as free agency opened. On that list were the Nuggets, New Orleans PelicansSacramento Kings, Golden State WarriorsHouston RocketsDetroit Pistons and Atlanta Hawks. Iguodala looks to be one of the most pursued free agents this summer not named Dwight Howard. The Kings may have the inside track on Iguodala, as their new GM Pete D’Alessandro was the former assistant in Denver and Iguodala does not necessarily have any ties or relationships with the Nuggets new coach Brian Shaw or their new GM Tim Connelly.

Owner Josh Kroenke expressed confidence that they would be able to get a deal done to keep Iguodala in Denver. Kroenke does not necessarily have the best track record when it comes to vocalizing his confidence in keeping assets in Denver — see Masai Ujiri. Perhaps Kroenke is just doing his due diligence when it comes to showing respect for Iguodala. After all, when was the last time an NBA owner publicly stated that they did not have interest in bringing back one of their players?

The fact of the matter is that while Iguodala is an elite defender, he does not possess any other elite skills that would make mortgaging a franchise’s future worth re-signing him to a near-maximum level contract. The Nuggets need players that can space the floor and create shots for themselves and teammates. Denver needs to wisely spend their money on a go-to player, not a defender that will be 34 years old when his contract expires.

That is where the Nuggets interest in Ellis comes in. While Ellis is not known primarily for his defensive abilities, he is known as a player that can score in a variety of ways. This is something that the Nuggets have been lacking since Carmelo Anthony was traded to the New York Knicks. Ellis may not have the right temperament for what Denver and Shaw will try to build this fall and while Iguodala does, he may already be as good as gone — enter Allen.

Allen has built a reputation of being a hard-working player that is willing to earn his way and best of all for cost-conscious Denver, he will only cost a fraction of what Iguodala will command. Allen earned just over $3 million last season while Iguodala earned around $15 million. That is a huge difference and that may allow the Nuggets to bring in some more of what they need to get to that next level.

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