NBA free agency opens up next week, and the player arguably at the top of the Nuggets’ wish list is one of their own — point guard Jameer Nelson. Nelson’s representation has informed the Nuggets he will opt out of the remaining year of his contract, but Denver remains a strong contender to re-sign him.
May 23, 2016 | 10:00 pm EDT Update
“Ownership would like to see something happen faster and I know my coaches and players want to see something faster. I’ve been in their positions and I get it, I want to see something faster too. But I have to protect us from doing something irrational from doing something that gets us a little bit better. If it’s something that gets us to being a true championship contender faster, we’re all for it. As long as it’s a sustainable formula and not a one-year quick hit, sacrificing future assets,” Ainge told WBZ-TV’s Dan Roche on Sunday night’s Sports Final.
“Listen, the partners we did business with [in 2007], in Seattle we found someone who was moving in a different direction. They were a team in the lottery drafting young players, they had new management, so it was a win-win. The same for Minnesota; they had been in the lottery two years in a row and they got a really good young asset in Al Jefferson,” explained Ainge. “Al was the best young player being offered to them at the time, so it was a win-win for both situations. Typically, I don’t think it’s someone pulling something over on someone. It’s finding someone who is looking to make a change, and we have a lot of assets for a team looking to take a step back and get some good young players, to give us a player that is more ready.”
“There is a lot of money out there because of the new TV contract that is kicking it. It’s going to be challenge and is sort of a new territory for the NBA. I think two-thirds of the league can offer at least one max contract, which has never happened before. We’re a team that can offer two max contracts, but there aren’t that many max contract players on the market. The competition is going to be fierce,” said Ainge. “We have plans that we would like to do and what we’ll do everything we can to try and do, but there are no guarantees in any of that. It’s my job to pull the brakes back and make sure we don’t do something stupid that will hurt our team in the long run.”
“I can’t talk about any players in particular, but a player that is going to take time to develop or a player who may not come to the NBA for a year or two, if we feel he’s the best player we have to take him. We can’t let a player slip by us just because it doesn’t fulfill our immediate satisfaction, or the objective for the fans to see someone exciting,” he said. “We have to pick the best player under any circumstance. There are too many examples of really good players that fans haven’t been excited about. When Kristaps Porzingis was drafted by New York, fans were booing all over the place and we didn’t understand. When I was in Phoenix and we drafted Steve Nash, we were booed.”
A. Sherrod Blakely: Per sources, Weber State’s Joel Bolomboy, one of the standouts at the #NBA combine, will be in town for a workout w/the Celtics on June 1.