Nuggets general manager Tim Connelly earned his money yesterday afternoon. He actually made trades rather than doing nothing. No, he did not get a dynamic player that would be a difference maker. Let’s not get carried away.
Connelly started his day by trading Arron Afflalo and Alonzo Gee to the Trail Blazers for a lottery-protected 2016 first round pick and future journeymen Thomas Robinson, Will Barton and Victor Claver. He capped off his day by trading JaVale McGee, Chukwudiebere Maduabum and the Thunder’s protected 2015 first round pick to the 76ers for a trade exception and Cenk Akyol.
Basically, he dumped his players and received nothing in return. He was not asking for anything good in return. He wanted to dump salary along with dumping his useless players. That itself made his day a success. Bravo to him.
Getting rid of McGee was an accomplishment in itself. He found a suitor that was more than happy to take his ineffective play and his salary. The 76ers are doing everything possible to lose in increasing their odds of getting more lottery ping-pong balls that can help them win the lottery. Plus, they can get rid of him next season. He is not playing one game for them ever.
It’s hard to figure out how Connelly did it, but he did. McGee is the worst player in the NBA. He never had the drive to be great. He was always hurt. He was more than happy to enjoy the NBA lifestyle and collect his money. Here’s hoping he saves so much of his money since he won’t get a job in the NBA once his contract expires.
He duped then-Nuggets general manager Masai Ujiri about his potential that inspired him to give his player a ridiculous contract. It was by far the worst move Ujiri did, and he does not get criticized for that since he was able to get team-oriented productive players for Carmelo Anthony. He was able to escape Toronto with his reputation in tact while Connelly was stuck with McGee.
For Connelly to somehow find a suitor for McGee, it took work. He found a way. He should be commended. The Nuggets don’t have to pay their useless center anymore next year. Good riddance to bad garbage.
As for Afflalo, he was horrible in his second stint with the Nuggets. He shot airballs. He never ran the offense well. He wanted his shots. He had his issues with Nuggets coach Brian Shaw, which he never looked at his coach in the huddle. He was known for being a malcontent than being a veteran presence to this young team.
It is an indictment of McGee and Afflalo as players that the Nuggets received nothing of value in return.
It won’t bother those two. They are happy to get out of Denver. Afflalo gets to play for a contender, so he will be motivated to perform. McGee is happy that Philadelphia won’t notice him for his salary since he is part of a pawn that 76ers general manager Sam Hinkie is using to participate in tanking.
There’s no question Kenneth Faried, Wilson Chandler and Ty Lawson were disappointed they were not traded. They wanted out of Denver for a long time. They are mentally done playing there. One can tell by their actions. When was the last time both played like they gave a hoot? Faried and Chandler have adopted McGee’s attitude, and Lawson is approaching his job as if he wants this season to be over with by not showing up to practice on Wednesday after enjoying a long All-Star break.
Those three are overpaid to do nothing. That’s an insult to the hard-working fans that pay money to watch these three play and get nothing out of them. It’s been a long time they earned an honest pay for honest day’s work. Their indifference has bothered the fans more than anything.
They have made Shaw look like a martyr. Yes, the Nuggets head coach is a terrible head coach that can’t connect with his players, but their job is to be a professional and work hard at practice and games. They haven’t for quite some time.
It’s too bad Nuggets fans are stuck with these losers. They deserve better. So does Shaw.
As for what will Connelly do next in building this team, who knows? It’s hard to believe the Nuggets general manager knows since he has showed he has no idea how to build a team or find talent in his brief time here. Don’t get your hopes up on him getting a star to play in Denver since it’s not happening.
But at least, he was able to get rid of some bad guys and bad players.
That’s a start.
Better than nothing.
Connelly earned an honest pay for honest day’s work yesterday.
That’s more than his current players can say.
Follow or Contact Leslie Monteiro: @LightRodWriter