Denver Nuggets: Rumors, Free Agents, Cap Space And More

The Denver Nuggets are far removed from the rumor mill, where they were permanently stationed a year ago. But the team has two great free agents and a whole lot of assets.

The Denver Nuggets traded away Carmelo Anthony and Chauncey Billups last year, watched J.R. Smith, Kenyon Martin and Wilson Chandler flee to China during the NBA lockout and now get to watch Nene consider taking a new home. But hey, they've got Timofey Mozgov.

CAP SPACE

Here's a look at the Nuggets' salary cap levels over the past six seasons.

Nuggets_medium 

The Kroenkes have gone over the luxury tax a few times, but will probably abstain from doing so as long as the team looks like one below the level of legit title contender.

Heading into free agency, the Nuggets have a cap figure of $30 million with the leaguewide team salary cap set at $58 million and the luxury tax line at $70 million. Yes, the Nuggets have a lot of cap space.

FREE AGENTS

The Nuggets' free agents who aren't under contract in China are:

Melvin Ely is going to draw a whole lot of interest from fans who didn't realize Melvin Ely was getting minutes in the NBA last season. Nene is being chased by other, mostly worse teams who have lots of cap space ... but he could return if Denver opens up the pocketbook to stay afloat. Denver will almost assuredly match anything reasonable that Afflalo signs; that this is such a widely-held belief ensures that no one would extend Afflalo too large an offer sheet, thus depressing Afflalo's salary. (This is called The Joe Dumars.) Forbes will likely be retained if only because he knows the system, is worthy of minutes and is a live body, which Denver desperately needs more of.

RUMORS

Denver has been absent from most rumors, a delightful switch from a year ago. That said, the Nuggets do have a bunch of interesting assets (from Danilo Gallinari to Ty Lawson and Andre Miller to rookies Jordan Hamilton and Kenneth Faried) and a bloody wealthy owner (assuming that Josh Kroenke has access to his father's vault of gold coins). This is typically the kindling for sneaky deals.

For more on the Nuggets, visit SB Nation's Denver Stiffs.

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