Lowe On Nuggets, Faried, Miller, Hamilton

The Nuggets have won nine of their last 11 and are in line to receive a high 2014 draft pick from the Knicks, as we explained earlier this morning. Still, their 13-8 record would only be enough for the No. 6 seed in the Western Conference, and as the changes after last season’s 57-win campaign demonstrated, playoff success is the only barometer that matters. New GM Tim Connelly tells Grantland’s Zach Lowe he’s prepared for whatever happens this year. “We have the chance to make some noise,” Connelly said. “And if we’re not good enough, we’ve got some alternate plans.”

Lowe has more from Connelly and details what some of those “alternate plans” might be:

  • Trade talk involving Kenneth Faried has died down, but executives from other teams expect Denver to trade Andre Miller before the deadline. Still, the Nuggets “adore” him, Lowe writes.
  • Rival front offices think the Nuggets are prepared to trade Jordan Hamilton, and they don’t believe Denver will expect much in return.
  • Lowe also hears from execs around the league who view the Nuggets roster as one that might benefit from a strip-down, in spite of all the team’s good-but-not-great talent. Denver nonetheless prefers remaining competitive. “I think our owner would have let us do whatever we wanted,” Connelly said. “But a full-scale rebuild is not the be-all, end-all. It’s a four- to five-year process. And coming off a 57-win season, that’s just not something I would have pushed. There are too many good players here. It would be a disservice not to try, and not to try to win big.”
  • Connelly isn’t sold on the idea that freeing cap space is a panacea. “We have to be realistic about where we stand in the free agency pecking order,” he said.
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