Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Is Najera on the Block?

(Boulder-CO) I have been hearing from numerous credible sources that the Dallas Mavericks are interested in Eduardo Najera. The Mavericks are no stranger to Najera’s game because Eduardo spent his first four years in Dallas before being traded to Denver, then to Golden State, and right back to Denver in 2005. The NBA trade deadline is tomorrow, so I would be surprised if anything happens, but nevertheless this rumor should be examined as if it were hotter than it actually is.

After last night’s total embarrassment, let’s assume for a minute that the Nuggets self-destruct in the remainder of this season and do not make the playoffs. That leaves Denver going into the off-season with seven players 6’7” or taller, but none any taller than 6’9”. Obviously, Carmelo Anthony isn’t going anywhere, so let’s call it six players in all actuality. That leaves Diawara, Najera, Evans, Johnson, Kleiza, and Martin in a shuffle of guys competing for one spot on the floor. Keep in mind that Nene is emerging as a legitimate starting power forward with the injured Kenyon Martin somewhere in the rearview mirror.

Carmelo plays at least 35 minutes a night, so with that said, are the Nuggets looking for a guy that can come in and gladly give them 13 minutes of inspired play a game while Denver’s superstar is sipping sports drink and wiping himself down with a towel? Probably not. So, if the Nuggets were to trade Najera to the Mavericks in the next 24 hours who should they get in return?

Much like Chris Marlowe said in our interview, I think that with Marcus Camby’s fragility and age the Nuggets should be looking to get a big body in return for Najera. With my first glance at the Mavericks roster, I like the looks of the seven-foot DJ Mbenga, but he just had ACL surgery and is out for the remainder of the season. With knee issues of their own, the Denver Nuggets would be wise to steer clear of any other leg problems, which hopefully puts DJ out of the picture. With that knowledge, I scroll a little bit further and find that Dallas has no other skyscrapers that would be realistically available. So, it is time to think about our other needs…

The Nuggets need a starting point guard so bad it is frightening. Steve Blake came out hot in his first couple of games with Denver, but has since cooled off significantly. I also think that Iverson is a much better fit with the Nuggets at shooting guard. Now, if Dallas still wants Najera that leaves the Nuggets looking at swapping for Anthony Johnson. The ten-year journeyman has played for seven teams and has never averaged more than four assists in a single season. Not exactly what I would call a real night-in and night-out kind of point guard.

So, essentially, I hopefully have debunked any sort of deal that could be cooking right now, because I just don’t like anything the Mavericks could potentially offer, but hey, stranger things have happened… Let’s just hope that it doesn’t have to happen to the Nuggets. I like Eduardo Najera and it would be a shame to see him go to a team that the Nuggets could potentially be matching up with in the playoffs, assuming for a minute that now we ARE going to make the post season.

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