Nuggets in good shape as NBA free-agent frenzy arrives

After busy draft day, Denver in line to have 14 players on roster
by Aaron Lopez

Five days before the start of the NBA’s annual free-agent frenzy, the Denver Nuggets made some bold moves to improve their roster.

Thanks to two highly praised trades on draft night, the Nuggets are in line to have 14 players on their active roster to start the 2014-15 season. Barring another trade, Denver’s roster might be set for the next several months.

“You never know,” Nuggets general manager/executive vice president of basketball operations Tim Connelly said. “I’m fine going into next season where we are. We’re two-deep at every position – and three at the bigs.”

With free agency set to begin Tuesday, the Nuggets have points guards Ty Lawson and Nate Robinson; shooting guards Arron Afflalo, Randy Foye and Gary Harris; small forwards Wilson Chandler, Danilo Gallinari and Quincy Miller; power forwards in Darrell Arthur, Kenneth Faried and J.J. Hickson; and centers JaVale McGee, Timofey Mozgov and Jusuf Nurkic.

Afflalo was acquired in a draft-day trade last week, while Gallinari is in line to return after sitting out 2013-14 while recovering from knee surgery. McGee played just five games, so adding him and Gallinari will be de facto free-agent signings.

“If everybody is healthy and available, I think we’re good,” Denver coach Brian Shaw said. “That’s how I felt going into the season last year. We have versatility. If we want to play small, we can put Ty and Nate out there together. We can go big. We can move Wilson to a 2 and Gallo to a 3 with any combination of 4s and 5s. It gives us flexibility in style of play. Not only do we have size, we have speed and athleticism.”

While Shaw and Connelly like the roster as it’s currently constructed, the Nuggets will continue to listen to potential trade offers and look for opportunities to improve.

“It’s such a fluid league,” Connelly said. “We’re still going to be active working the phones. I really feel good about where we are at the moment. I like our depth. I like the trustworthiness of a lot of our players. We have pieces that are complementary. I’m excited to see how they are in year two (under Shaw).”