While the Denver Nuggets wait for Andre Iguodala to make his rounds with other NBA teams during free agency, they are making some calls of their own. In what comes as no surprise, Andre Miller is apparently on the trading block. Meanwhile, they have begun talks with seldom-used center Timofey Mozgov about staying in Denver, something no one would have expected one week ago.
The 37-year-old Miller was one of former Nuggets coach, George Karl‘s favorite players to give a bulk of the bench minutes to. This was often a detriment to the team, especially during the NBA Playoffs against the Golden State Warriors. Miller was burned early and often by the Warriors young legs, unable to stay in front of his man on defense. Interestingly enough, one scenario has Miller headed to Golden State in a sign-and-trade for Jarrett Jack. This would not be a bad deal for the Nuggets as Jack would provide some speed and scoring off of the bench. However, Denver would be wisest to move Miller in a pure salary dump after drafting Erick Green last week.
Besides Green, the Nuggets have several other young players in need of development such as Evan Fournier and they could choose to retain promising point guard Julyan Stone. New Denver head coach Brian Shaw is known for player development and management should allow him to do just that especially after getting rid of Karl for sticking with older veterans such as Miller. Bringing in Jack would just continue to take playing time and opportunity away from younger talent already on the roster.
After last week’s trade of Kosta Koufos to the Memphis Grizzlies on draft night, the backup center position is suddenly wide open for the Nuggets. Miller was also rumored to be offered in that trade but Memphis felt he was too expensive as a backup. Mozgov was mentioned in trade rumors all season long leading up to the trade deadline. Denver chose to keep Mozgov as insurance in case one of their many big men went down. Mozgov ended up watching from the bench for the rest of the season seeing sporadic minutes. Most predicted the Nuggets to let the 26-year-old Russian leave in free agency this summer.
Now it seems as though the Nuggets have made Mozgov their top priority after re-signing Iguodala. This is a great opportunity for Mozgov as he seems to have the potential to succeed in the NBA if given a chance to develop. As it stands, Mozgov’s per-36-minute stats indicate what he is capable of producing. If he chooses to re-sign with Denver, he will likely get a chance to fulfill that potential.
Denver has hired a new GM, a new coach, traded away their starting center and their first-round draft pick this offseason. So far, this is shaping up to be a very active summer for the Nuggets and it is only the second day of free agency.