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News » Denver Nuggets Notes, Quotes 2009-03-01

Denver Nuggets Notes, Quotes 2009-03-01

Denver Nuggets Notes, Quotes 2009-03-01
--Perhaps no Denver player this summer will be affected more by the economic downturn than impending restricted free-agent F Linas Kleiza. Kleiza last October was close to signing a four-year, $25 million contract extension before owner Stan Kroenke, his Nuggets about to take on extra 2009-10 money by acquiring Billups, nixed it. Now, with the salary cap likely going down and Denver in jeopardy of paying the luxury tax, it will be hard for Kleiza to get a similar deal from any team.

"The economy affects everything, everybody," Kleiza said. "It's just reality. I've got a good agent (Bill Duffy). All the focus is on basketball right now."

It also hasn't helped Kleiza that his scoring average this season has dropped nearly a point from 11.1.

One Kleiza option could be returning for the $2.7 million qualifying offer and becoming unrestricted in 2010. Another could be going overseas, something Kleiza last October called a possibility but now isn't discussing.

--Some have wondered how the Lakers might do after losing C Andrew Bynum to a knee injury last month that could sideline him for the rest of season.

Nuggets coach George Karl sees no reason to worry. Karl believes the Lakers are better without Bynum.

"Don't you have to make the statement that maybe they're better without Bynum?" Karl said. "Why do we always say Bynum? How many games has he played for this team? I like Bynum. I think he's a great player. But sometimes you can have too much talent out there and it can kind of be confusing."

Karl knows a bit more about the Lakers than your typical NBA coach. His son, Coby Karl, played for them last season when they made it to the NBA Finals despite Bynum having been lost for the season midway through the campaign with a knee injury.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "Chauncey's one of those guys who's just smooth sailing. He's just going at a nice little pace and killing you at the same time. He's been a great fit for Denver, and I think he's made (forward Carmelo Anthony) a different player." -- New Orleans G Chris Paul on Denver G Chauncey Billups, whose Nuggets have clicked since his Nov. 3 acquisition from Detroit.

Author: Fox Sports
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Added: March 1, 2009


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