When Denver lost Andre Iguodala after their disappointing first round exit, everyone expected them to take a minor step back. The careful balance George Karl struck without any star players on his roster equalled unparalleled regular season success for Denver but a Playoff exit and eventually his ouster.
Things have changed a bit under Brian Shaw with several players trying to find their way again.
The Nuggets are in that awful netherworld — 24-26 and 5.5 games out of the final Playof spot, yet not bad enough to be in serious contention for the Lottery. The trade deadline could be a time to push the organization one way or the other.
That is what they are expected to do. Several teams, according to reports, are calling the Nuggets to inquire about certain players and the Nuggets are certainly going to be looking for players to boost their immediate and long-term future. It is hard to figure where they will go.
It just seems certain that they will go. Yannis Koutroupis of Basketball Insiders writes that both disgruntled backup point guard Andre Miller and Kenneth Faried could be on the table. The Wizards are hoping to bring in Miller, according to his report, and, yes, the Knicks are trying to re-open Iman Shumpert-for-Kenneth Faried talks.
That leaves a lot of options for the Nuggets to ponder.
What it really leaves though is the question of what direction this season turns for Denver. A decision to head down into the Lottery almost certainly means a complete rebuild and starting almost from scratch — again Denver has plenty of assets to speed the process along, but probably will not get a star without giving up Faried or Lawson.
So Denver has to assess value in addition to figuring out what direction the organization will go. These are big questions and a new coach in Brian Shaw certainly would suggest they are ready to take that step and build from scratch. Unless Shaw was brought in with the understanding the team would compete. That changes the formula entirely.
It is a very difficult decision for Denver to make. And they now have only eight days to make it.