Thursday, October 4, 2007

The Nuggets Have Business Options

(Boulder-CO) Two of the Nuggets substantial role-players this year actually have more on the line than just making the team during training camp. The Rocky Mountain News refreshes all of our memories in regards to J.R. Smith being up for a contract extension and Linas Kleiza being up for a contract option by Halloween’s opening night game with the Sonics.

In the case of J.R., the article states, “Indications are the Nuggets and Smith’s agent, Arn Tellem, are not close in negotiations.” And why should they be? If J.R. Smith doesn’t prove to George Karl and the Nuggets management that he is willing to put in the work to improve on the defensive end, while also showing that he can be more coachable, then I would be very surprised if he makes it back in Denver next season. Sure, he is a electrifying talent when he gets his three-point shot heated up and when he can get some highlight time out on the break, but his continued displays of basketball immaturity are the main drawback of his game.

If the Nuggets do not sign Smith’s contract extension by the deadline of October 31st then he will become a restricted free-agent, meaning the Nuggets would have first crack at matching another team's contract offer, next off-season.

But as far as Linas Kleiza is concerned, I would be very surprised if the Nuggets wasted much more time before signing the Lithuanian’s contract option. He might not have had the best showing in the San Antonio series last April, but Linas has continued to show improvement in all aspects of his game last season. His option is for the 2008-09 season and would cost the Nuggets $1.82 million.

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