Nuggets have two-thirds of roster under contract for 2014-15

Brooks, Vesely are Denver's only pending unrestricted free agents
by Aaron Lopez
Nuggets.com

As the finality of the situation set in, Nuggets coach Brian Shaw stood before his players and thanked them for their effort and attitude during a challenging first season in Denver.

Having seen the end of 14 NBA seasons as a player and nine more as an assistant coach and scout, Shaw also delivered a sobering reminder. History strongly suggests that not everyone on the roster will be back in 2014-15.

“I don’t think in the history of the game there’s been a team that’s come back with every single player from the year before,” Shaw said. “That’s the nature of the business.”

The Nuggets have 10 players under contract for 2014-15. Forward Darrell Arthur and guard Nate Robinson can exercise player options, while guard Aaron Brooks and forward Jan Vesely will be unrestricted free agents. Forward Quincy Miller has a non-guaranteed deal for next season.

The Nuggets own two first-round draft picks, the lesser of which will be sent to Orlando as part of the three-team that sent Arron Afflalo and Al Harrington to the Magic in 2012. Denver also has two second-round picks.

“We’re all not returning next year and we know that,” Denver forward Kenneth Faried said. “Depending on who’s returning, I’m excited to see what they bring to the table. I’m excited to see how many people want to bring it and play as hard as we did for the last remaining games.”

Brooks averaged 11.9 points and 5.2 assists in 29 games with the Nuggets after being acquired from the Houston Rockets on Feb. 20. He played extensive minutes while starting point guard Ty Lawson was out with rib and ankle injuries.

“For some reason, I seem to keep going back to places I feel comfortable," Brooks said. "I was in Houston three times and it wasn’t the highest offer. It was just comfortable. I’m comfortable here. Like I said, it doesn’t have to be the highest offer.”

Vesely averaged 4.4 points, 3.7 rebounds and 1.29 steals in 21 games after being traded from Washington to Denver. He impressed the coaching staff with his athleticism and defensive acumen.

After talking to Vesely and the other 14 players over the past few days, Shaw plans to take some time off and then consult with his coaching staff and the front office to talk about potential summer roster moves.

“I like to be able to remove myself from it and then be able to look at notes that I’ve made,” Shaw said. “Each assistant had three or four guys that they worked with throughout the season. I’ll get their evaluation of their guys, put those together with how I evaluated things and then match that with how the front office evaluated things. You have to give yourself time before you hash that out.”