The Denver Nuggets looked at every option this offseason and threw money at many different prospects with no success. However, their struggles ended late Tuesday night when they reached an agreement with New York Knicks forward Al Harrington. The story was broke by our friend Chris Tomasson over at Fanhouse. Harrington also conformed it on his Twitter account by saying ‘Yo my Tweeples. Appreciate the Love and Concern. But I’m taking my Talents to the MILE HIGH. Lol. Love Yall Lego DENVER!!’
The agreed upon deal is along the line of $33.4 million for 5 years, much more than the Nuggets wanted to spend. But considering they lost out on the services of Jermaine O’Neal and Udonis Haslem and were on the verge of losing Harrington to the Mavericks, their hands were forced to give Harrington a hefty salary.
Harrington, 30-years-old, may be the short-time starter for the Nuggets at power forward to start the season, at least until the Nuggets get Kenyon Martin back from injury or until they find a replacement big man. In the long-run Harrington’s role will be similar to Linas Kleiza’s role a couple years ago. Harrington would spend time at the 4 and backup Carmelo Anthony at the small forward. He should also provide more consistency for the Nuggets than Kleiza.
Big Al doesn’t bring much on the defensive side of the ball, but offensively he is versatile enough to score on the block and out on the perimeter. Harrington is among the top scorers in the NBA and is very consistent on that side of the ball, with the ability to put up points in bunches. In 26 games, he scored 20-plus points and even scored 30 points in six games. He had two 40-plus contests, including a game in Denver when he put up 41 points, but was overshadowed by Carmelo Anthony’s 50.
On defense, Harrington struggles to stay with quicker players and while he is better in the post he isn’t much of an intimidator. He will take charges and is good at switching on pick-and-rolls, something that many of the other Nuggets bigs struggled with.
While not a great rebounder, he did post six doube-doubles last season. And at sometimes his attitude isn’t great on the court and he likes to shoot the ball – ALOT. Harrington has played in 36 playoff contests and has advanced to the Eastern and Western Conference Finals.
Even with Harrington, the Nuggets are lacking size on the frontcourt and are in dire need of a 7-footer. With the addition of Harrington Denver currently have 12 players under contract, including Brian Butch whose contract is unguaranteed but the Nuggets can’t cut due to Butch being injured at summer league last week. The signing of Harrington probably puts Denver out of the running of Brad Miller. But Louis Amundson could still remains an option, despite being undersized.The Denver Post listed Theo Ratliff, Kurt Thomas and former Nugget Francisco Elson as options.
The signing of Harrington could also be a sign that the Nuggets are actually going to trade for Andris Biedrins to add size. The Biedrins deal can’t be completed until August.
The Nuggets summer league team continued their success, destroying the Chicago Bulls 99-71 Tuesday. The Nuggets actually led 81-44 going into the fourth quarter.
Once again Ty Lawson was nearly perfect, scoring 18 points, grabbing three boards and dishing out four assists. Laurence Ekperigin provided some nice minutes and scored 14 points. Othello Hunter showed some range on his shot and chipped in 13 points and five rebounds. Shane Edwards continues to be steady and chipped in 10 points.
Also Nuggets sixth man JR Smith played some minutes for the summer league team and he wasn’t jacking up threes left and right. In fact, he had some sweet drives and only attempted two treys (making one).