The Nuggets and free agent center Chris Andersen are very close to a contract extension that will keep the NBA's second-leading shotblocker in Denver on a multi-year deal. The amicable discussions have gone on since the weekend, and the new deal could be completed as early as Wednesday, after the official 2009-10 salary cap numbers are known. Those numbers, including the cap figure and the exact amount of exceptions to the cap, should be released late Tuesday.
Because Andersen does not have "Larry Bird" rights in Denver, the only way the Nuggets can re-sign him is via the mid-level exception. A source with knowledge of the discussions said Tuesday that Andersen will likely not get the full mid-level exception (this year's was $5.585 million) from the Nuggets, but that Andersen's camp was hoping to get a deal done that would pay Andersen an amount similar to the full mid-level over the life of the deal, which would be a little more than $32 million using last year's numbers.
"I think what we're trying to do is make things work for each other," the source said. "There's mutual respect between Chris and the Nuggets."
Because Denver is already perilously close to paying luxury tax next season -- the Nuggets have already committed $70 million in salaries to 10 players, including first-round pick Ty Lawson, and last year's tax threshhold of $71.15 million is likely to come down for 2009-10 -- the Nuggets are trying to back-load Andersen's deal, paying him less up front and more of the deal in the final few years.
Andersen has found a home in Denver, where he played early in his career, and where he returned last season after a brief stint in New Orleans toward the end of the 2008-09 season. He came back to the Hornets after serving a two-year suspension by the league for substance abuse, but wasn't in shape and didn't play much. Last season he came back strong, drawing a cult following in Denver for his defense and rebounding off the bench for the Nuggets. Re-signing him is their top offseason priority.
Posted: 07/07/2009 09:31:41 PM MDT
Updated: 07/08/2009 12:09:35 AM MDT
Get ready to flap your wings again. "The Birdman" is back.
Chris Andersen and the Nuggets have agreed on a five-year contract that could earn Andersen up to $26 million, the player's manager, Mark Bryant, said Tuesday night. This locks in one of Denver's most popular athletes for the next half-decade.
"We're ecstatic to stay in the community," Bryant said.
Andersen will make $3.7 million next season in his backloaded and incentive-based contract, which will help the Nuggets financially. They entered this free-agency period over the NBA luxury tax line of $69.92 million, which was announced Tuesday.
Andersen can officially sign today. He was on vacation Tuesday, his 31st birthday, and couldn't be reached to comment.
Andersen, an unrestricted free agent, had inquiries from numerous NBA teams but had said all along he wanted to return to the Nuggets. Last season, Andersen ranked second in the NBA with an average of 2.5 blocked shots and was the Nuggets' top post player off the bench. He averaged 6.4 points and a career-high 6.2 rebounds, and his colorful personality — as well as his colorful tattoos and spiked hair — made him a fan favorite.
"The Birdman" was the Nuggets' top priority heading into the free-agency period. NBA teams could begin negotiating with players last Wednesday, and players can officially sign today. Nuggets vice president of basketball operations Mark Warkentien has been in Los Angeles negotiating with Bryant and Steven Heumann, two Andersen representatives.
Andersen adores the Denver community. In August he will host a youth basketball camp (www.birdmancamp.com). He would have hosted the camp regardless of which team he signed with, but now the Nugget will be able to teach future Birdmen (and women) in the Denver area.
DENVER (AP) -- Chris "Birdman" Andersen has reached a five-year deal to keep his high-flying, shot-blocking act with the Denver Nuggets, a team he revived his career with last season.
Andersen's attorney, Mark Bryant, confirmed the agreement on Wednesday, saying it could be signed later in the day. The deal was first reported by the Denver Post.
Andersen, who turned 31 on Tuesday, could make up to $26 million over the lifetime of a back-loaded contract that gives the Nuggets financial flexibility.
He'll make close to $3.65 million in 2009-10, up from the $998,398 he made last season, when he averaged 6.4 points and 2.5 blocks in 20.6 minutes.
"You write the best-case scenario, think you're dreaming and open your eyes and it's real," Bryant said. "He's very excited. They treated him as a priority."
With his colorful tattoos and spiky hair, Andersen was an instant hit with Denver fans, who've embraced his return to the court.
Andersen came back to the NBA in 2008 following a ban that lasted almost two years after he tested positive for an undisclosed "drug of abuse."
The energetic forward known for his defensive disruption around the basket provided a spark off the bench as the Nuggets made a run to the Western Conference finals, where they fell to the Los Angeles Lakers in six games.
He swatted 175 shots in the regular season, second only to Orlando Magic All-Star Dwight Howard -- in far less minutes.
Andersen began his career in Denver in 2001, before bolting to New Orleans three seasons later.
He had a breakout season with the Hornets 2004-05, only to have his career derailed by drugs.
Following his ban, Andersen returned to New Orleans late in the 2007-08 season, playing five games and blocking four shots.
Several teams offered him NBA minimum contracts before the 2008 season, but he elected to play in Denver, where he lives.
Andersen replaced Marcus Camby's shot-blocking presence in the middle, adding a big dose of energy as well -- swooping his arms after big plays.
The fans ate it up. Some of Anderson's flock would even arrive at Pepsi Center wearing feathery costumes and spiky hair.
Andersen received a raucous ovation whenever he entered the game.
"They've really embraced him," Bryant said of his legion of fans. "I think it's a win-win [situation]. They (the Nuggets) wanted him and he wanted to be here."
Last edited by LateNightNBA : 07-08-2009 at 04:02 PM.
Re: Chris Andersen to re-up with the Nuggets (5 yrs/$25 Mil)
Originally Posted by LateNightNBA
Chris Andersen and the Denver Nuggets have reportedly reached an agreement which will pay the high-energy fan favorite $25,000,000 over a period of 5 years.
The first year is said to be worth $3,000,000 and he will have $8,000,000 coming to him in the final year of the deal.
This can't be true, the maximum amount of yearly raises allowed in NBA contracts is 10.5%.