They could sign him now. They could sign him later.
Either way, forward Linas Kleiza appears a good bet to remain long term with the Nuggets.
Kleiza can sign an extension by Oct. 31 that would begin in 2009-10. If he doesn't sign then, he becomes a restricted free agent next summer, but Denver could match any offer.
"We love Linas, and hope he's a Nugget for a long time," said team executive Rex Chapman, who called it "still too early" to say if there will be an October signing.
The feeling is mutual.
"I love Denver," Kleiza said. "I hope we work something out and I'm here for a long time. . . . I'm going to continue to get better and take my game to a different level."
Nuggets coach George Karl, whose team began camp Tuesday, said the departure of veterans Marcus Camby and Eduardo Najera has opened the window more for Kleiza and fellow young pro J.R. Smith.
"He'll be more involved," Karl said of Kleiza, who will be used at both forward spots and shooting guard.
The Nuggets have 13 players with guaranteed deals, but Karl said they might start the season with 14.
Camp invitees battling for a spot are forwards Ruben Patterson, Nick Fazekas and James Mays and guards Mateen Cleaves and Smush Parker.
"I'm amazed you have guys like Ruben Paterson and Fazekas . . . (who) can't find a job," Karl said. "There is a possibility of one more roster spot with (Carmelo Anthony) missing the first two games (because of suspension) and Chucky (Atkins) and Sonny (Weems) probably missing."
Atkins had knee surgery. Karl said Weems, who soon will do running and shooting work, is out another two weeks because of sports hernia surgery.
Karl, who vows to expand his usual eight-man rotation, called Patterson "on a mission" to make it. Patterson, who criticized Karl for a 2006 playoff benching and was traded, said he and Karl had a "good talk" Tuesday, and Karl said he likes Patterson.
"Ruben sided with Kenyon," Karl said of the 2006 suspension of Kenyon Martin, Patterson's teammate in college at Cincinnati and a good friend. "Probably a mistake. But is it an understandable mistake?"
Karl vowed to focus on defense to open camp. Did he ever.
"We didn't do any offense," Allen Iverson said of the intense 21/2-hour workout. "No plays. No offense."
For the Nuggets to properly channel aggression, Karl brought in high school and college referees for scrimmaging. That doesn't always happen the first day.
"A lot of energy," Martin said. "Everybody came in with the attitude we're going to work."
* Smith said he'll switch next season from No. 1 to No. 23 with it available because of Camby's exit. NBA rules require change requests made a year in advance. Before joining the Nuggets , Smith wore No. 23 because of admiration of Michael Jordan.
* For the first time in his 13-year career, Iverson said he's at a camp without required two-a-day sessions. Iverson likes the Nuggets, who do have a required two-a-day Thursday, going hard this week during the day, with a voluntary shooting session at night. Karl expects mostly camp invitees at night, but Iverson didn't rule out a visit.
* Despite Karl saying Anthony Carter likely will start at point guard, Carter shrugged and said, "It's just talk right now." Carter says he doesn't care if he starts.