Carmelo Anthony Isn't the Only Big Decision for Nuggets
That crisis will continue to loom in the weeks and months to come, as their star small forward clearly wants out of the Mile High City as a free agent next summer and the team's brass must decide whether to trade him between now and the February deadline rather than lose him for nothing in return. Before then, though, they must hire the man who will play a significant part in that decision.
According to sources close to the process, Nuggets officials met Wednesday regarding their vacant general manager position and could announce a decision as soon as today. And while the sources say former Phoenix senior vice president of basketball operations David Griffin still appears to be the frontrunner, Toronto assistant general manager and former Nuggets head of international scouting Masai Ujiri impressed in his Friday interview and may have an outside chance at the position.
The Nuggets considered Griffin, Ujiri, Atlanta assistant general manager Dave Pendergraft and former Sacramento assistant general manager Jason Levien for the position.
Griffin has close ties to Nuggets advisor Bret Bearup, the last of three influential personnel voices to remain after executives Mark Warkentien and Rex Chapman were let go earlier this month. Ujiri, meanwhile, is well-respected by both owner Stan Kroenke and his Nuggets executive son. Josh Kroenke, the 30-year-old vice president of team development, is widely assumed to be in line to one day take over for his father as owner and has seen his role increase of late.
The discussion surrounding Anthony has grown louder largely because of his reluctance to sign a three-year, $65 million contract extension that he looked ready to sign in late June. But with free agency in July came a preview of what he could experience next summer: teams rolling out the red carpet for the likes of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, Amar'e Stoudemire and the rest.
What's more, the Baltimore native is clearly intrigued by the possibility of playing on the East Coast -- most likely the Knicks, and perhaps eventually with good friend Chris Paul (who can be a free agent in 2012) -- or in any number of cities where a championship looks more attainable than with the Nuggets. Yet even with Anthony's wandering eye, the extension might look more enticing as the season wears on should the mostly-fruitless labor negotiations continue and a lockout for next season looks likely. The league's collective bargaining agreement expires after this season.
The owners are pushing hard for a hard salary cap in the neighborhood of $45 million, the likes of which would eliminate offers like the one afforded Anthony. He has until June 30, 2011, to decide on the extension.
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