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Is it time for Nick to leave Denver?

January 19th, 2002 by aswitzer

I never thought I would be saying “yes” to that question, but times have changed. Nick has reiterated every chance he gets that his request to be traded back on December 8th, after a loss to Cleveland, is still his wish. On January 18th, he was quoted as saying, “Nothing has changed. I hope so. I have my hands crossed and praying and hope it gets done.” I don’t see him changing his mind, do you?

Let’s give Nick some credit here. Since he demanded the trade, he has played hard, lead the team to a few victories, and done most of what you could hope for – scoring points, handing out assists, and keeping the Nuggets in ballgames. After seeing the Nuggets play their last two games though – home against the Kings and Sonics, I’m ready to see him move on.

The Nuggets played the entire Kings game without Nick, who decided to sit out with a sore jaw he acquired from an errant elbow in the Utah game. He complained of pain while running down the court, but do you really sit out a nationally televised game if you are a happy man with a sore jaw?

The Nuggets played the entire Kings game without Nick, and frankly they played awesome. They were in the entire game, with Avery Johnson running the point and Raef LaFrentz provided the scoring. Even with mistake prone rookie point-guard Kenny Satterfield subbing in for Van Exel, the team still played consistently hard with maximum effort. The effort was there, the movement was there, but the Nuggets couldn’t hang with the 2nd best team in the NBA down the stretch. That’s okay – the Kings have incredible firepower, and a gear the Nuggets can’t even shift too if they wanted to, until McDyess returns at least. The interesting thing is that we didn’t suffer much without Nick. Would we have won this game with his team leading scoring in there – maybe, maybe not.

Then come the Sonics, and Nick returns to start the game at shooting guard with Avery running the point. The first half was one of the worst played games I’ve seen this year – sloppy, boring, and neither team able to hit the broad side of a barn. The Sonics pulled away to a 13 point lead at halftime. The third quarter started out the same way, then Coach Evans sat Nick and the line-up of Bowen, Posey, Johnson, Hamilton, and Lenard went on a incredible 38-7 run. Suddenly the Nuggets were up by 10 points, and cruising. Nick came in to give Johnson a rest, and the Sonics crawled back into the game, only down by 8, as our offense became stagnant and the team seemed to get instantly listless. Coach Evans has Johnson come back in for Nick and the life returned and the Nuggets finished off the Sonics for a rare victory.

The media reports quotes from the team that Nick is still playing hard and cheering on his current teammates, but the Nuggets are ready to move on without him. I will be sad to see him go… but it’s time.

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4 Responses to “Is it time for Nick to leave Denver?”

  1. Wavatar Aaron Says:

    I feel the same way as you in some ways… But this team could implode if van exel leaves. Antonio said the trade had to benefit the nuggets if he was to remain. Since the nugz won’t get a fair deal, they should stick with nick, and draft Drew Gooden, Amare Soudemire, Jason Williams, or Dajuan Wagner (My choice), depending on whats left of the team. If Nick is traded for a forward, draft Williams. If the team stays the same, I say go with wagner… Wagner is the 2 guard the nugz need.

  2. Wavatar aswitzer Says:

    I thought that for awhile too, but lately they seem to play harder without him in the line-up, and the fans in Denver are actually starting to turn in Nick. They were booing him when he had the ball in the game against Seattle. That’s totally wrong, after all he’s done for us the past few years, but most fans are a finicky breed.

    Thanks for your thoughts – I love your scenario of trading Nick for a big guy and going after Jason Williams.

  3. Wavatar aaron Says:

    I just think the nugs should atleast hang on to nick til summer. At this time they will better know the future… such as who they draft, whether raef stays, how dice feels, whos released (Williams, Satterfield anderson, Lenard, etc… all free agents this summer). Even if the nugz keep Nick, the worst thing he can do is get the team a higher draft pick, if they are truly better without him.

    For all Nicks done for the team and community, he screwed up by saying he wanted out of denver. He could have quietly gone to Kiki and asked for a trade. I’m not gonna boo him until hes on another team, visiting denver… Nick could have went out of denver on such a kinder note. He has really scarred his denver career in my eys. He blew it.

  4. Wavatar aswitzer Says:

    Aaron, I like your approach – hang on to Nick until the offseason, unless someone makes us an offer that we can’t refuse. I’m not sure who that would be – maybe some young, big stud like Jermaine O’Neal?

    You are right, in a perfect world, or at least a better one – Nick would have gone to Kiki in private, and we all would have been shocked when a trade was made. I’m with you, I’ll not boo him while he’s still here in Denver. I keep hoping he’ll somehow change his mind – probably just a pipe dream though.

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