MERILATT MONDAY

Company line being put forth by the Nuggets is worthy of scrutiny

Jul 8, 2024, 6:48 AM | Updated: 8:13 am

Don’t believe the company line. It’s an old adage, but it still rings true.

This seems like a given. Everyone has known for decades that the story being put forth by the powers that be should be looked at with a skeptical eye.

Is it always untrue? Or course not. But it’s likely spin, made to make the “company” look good, whether a business, government agency or professional sports team.

Take their word with a grain of salt. Question what’s being said. Poke holes in the story.

That’s what should be done. But it’s not.

It’s somewhat shocking that so many people believe everything that the Nuggets are feeding them this offseason. In a time of little action, with many red flags popping up, the masses just accept what the team is saying as the gospel, excoriating anyone who questions it.

This is nothing new. It’s long been the case with the franchise.

It started with Carmelo Anthony. The former face of the franchise was traded in 2011. At the time, the forward was questioning the team’s commitment to winning; if they weren’t going to pony up to maintain and improve the roster, he wanted to play elsewhere. But that didn’t become the story. Instead, the narrative became that Melo wanted to go to New York because his wife, La La, wanted to be in the big city.

It was a fishy story from the beginning. La La was already a star. She didn’t have to be in New York, forcing her husband to the Knicks in the process, in order to become a bigger one. It wasn’t 1955; celebrities live and work from anywhere in this century.

But the story served a purpose. It shifted the blame.

Melo was the bad guy. The Nuggets were the victim.

Nevermind that the La La angle never materialized; her career didn’t change once in the Big Apple. That was beside the point.

People repeated the spin. Then and now.

As a result, it’s become an accepted “truth” in Denver. No one even questions the story.

Fast forward to 2020. After making the Western Conference Finals in the bubble, the Nuggets No. 1 offseason objective was to sign Jerami Grant to an extension.

The forward was an integral part of their future. Denver needed him if they were going to take the next step.

So it was a shock when Grant signed a free-agent deal with the Pistons. It was a massive whiff by the team, a huge blow to their plans.

Then, the spin arrived. The Nuggets offered Grant the same three-year, $60-million deal that he took from the Pistons; he just opted to sign with Detroit because he “wanted a bigger role.”

Again, people repeated the story. The swallowed it hook, line and sinker.

Grant wanted to be a star. He’d never be that on a team with Nikola Jokic, Jamal Murray and others.

Grant was the bad guy. The Nuggets were the victim.

Nevermind that he went to a terrible team. He’s since gone on to play for another one in Portland.

Grant has made a lot of money. He’s also lost a lot of games.

He’d have done the first by staying in Denver. He’d have avoided the second.

And now, the latest episode. While free agency was rolling along, with the Nuggets sitting idly by as an observer in the opening days, news broke that Calvin Booth was in Europe to re-sign Vlatko Cancar.

And everyone believed it. For no reason.

Cancar has averaged 3.5 points during his four seasons in the NBA. He missed all of last year with a knee injury. And he was released by the team less than a month ago in what was described as an accounting move, one that benefitted both sides.

So the Nuggets GM had to go MIA at the most-important time of year to court him? Seems fishy.

Now that the team has signed Dario Saric, the spin has changed. It’s about Booth being overseas to get work done.

Pardon the eye roll.

This is all too familiar. Spin, spin, spin.

Why was Booth really in Europe during free agency? Well, that’s a good question.

Was it to court Cancar and/or Saric? That seems unlikely.

But the team’s best player does live there. And he might not be happy at the moment. So perhaps a visit to Serbia was the real reason for Booth’s trip?

After winning a title, Jokic has seen Bruce Brown and Jeff Green leave last offseason. This year, it was Kentavious Caldwell-Pope who left.

By the way, the team claimed they offered KCP the same deal as the Magic. Unfortunately for them, the guard’s wife shot down that story, answering with “False” on a social media post about that topic.

Key role players leaving. No one coming in to fill the void. And other teams in the West retooling their rosters.

It’s worrisome. It’s a concern.

Something seems amiss with the Nuggets. But the team doesn’t want anyone to know it.

All is good. The GM traveled halfway around the world to re-sign a player who averages less than two buckets per game.

Riiiight.

A healthy skeptic should question that story. It’s easy to poke holes in it. There has to be something else going on.

Perhaps the best player in franchise history isn’t happy. Is that the case? Who knows? But it makes as much sense as the story being put forth by the team.

Booth traveling to make sure Jokic is on board with their plans would at least make sense. It adds up, unlike the other version being floated.

The company line says all is fine. Time will tell. But something seems amiss during the Nuggets oddly quiet offseason.

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Company line being put forth by the Nuggets is worthy of scrutiny