With the addition of undrafted rookie Jerrelle Benimon, their roster now sits one over the limit of players the team will be able to carry into the season at 16.
Benimon was the nation’s second leading rebounder last season, playing at little known Towson University, just outside of Baltimore. He is an undersized power forward at 6-feet-8, but plays much larger than his size would suggest. He has a knack for carving out space, and getting into position for rebounds, and is also a fierce competitor. He is a solid ball handler, and also possesses a decent short-range jump shot.
As much as I like Benimon’s game, he definitely stood out at times during summer league, signing him to a partially guaranteed two-year contract makes little to no sense for a team that is already overloaded at nearly every position.
With the team now sitting at 16 players, the Nuggets will have to cut one player prior to the start of the season, and realistically Quincy Miller or Erick Green are the only other two candidates that make any sense. The problem is now that no matter who they cut, there will be financial ramifications, as guaranteed money will still need to be paid out.
There is no way that the Nuggets will part with Miller, who was a draft pick of theirs in 2012, and became a rotation player last season. He was absolutely their best player in summer league before his ankle injury, and the Nuggets are still in love with his upside.
It is also doubtful they part with Green, who was also recently signed to a three year deal by the Nuggets following his promising summer league showing. He is clearly the third point guard behind Ty Lawson and Nate Robinson, and offers them a much needed change of pace alternative.
So that only leaves a couple of options. Either the Nuggets signed Benimon for really no reason other than to provide some competition in training camp, which would be a foolish waste of money. Or they still have plans to package some players for a trade prior to the start of the season, in which case they may need some additional depth in the frontcourt depending on who would be leaving.
I would hope the latter option is still in play because that is really the only way this move makes any sense. Might this be a foreshadowing of things to come? We shall see.