Feb 29, 2012; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Nuggets executive vice president of basketball operations Masai Ujiri talks before the start of the game against the Portland Trail Blazers at the Pepsi Center. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
DENVER - Masai Ujiri sounds more like a wise grandparent than a general manager. He said something that people, Nuggets personnel and fans alike, didn't necessarily want to hear but maybe it's what they needed to hear.
"We're not a contending team," Ujiri surprisingly said following practice Tuesday as the NBA trading deadline casually passed on by. "I think we also need to be patient as an organization to grow a little bit and see how it goes. We're excited for this second half, the last part of this season and we'll go from there."
If the season ended today the Nuggets would make the playoffs and they'd be the No. 5 seed in the Western Conference.
There is room for improvement, as Ujiri well knows, but that will come with time. Pieces like Ty Lawson, who has averaged 27.5 points and 8.3 assists in over the last four games, Danilo Gallinari has been as clutch as any player in the league and Kenneth Faried, who scored 40 points and won the Rising Stars Challenge Most Valuable Player award the day before the NBA All-Star Game are just coming around.
"We felt that we like our young team. We feel we are at a stage where we need them to grow and if you bring something in here that's not making a big difference then you are messing with a couple guys and their growth," Ujiri said. "We felt that standing pat is the best way to go."
The motives to keep the team as is weren't solely based on the chemistry of this team. Ujiri and the Nuggets said they entertained a few calls, like many organizations did around the league, but nothing piqued their particular interests.
"It seems to be pretty much quite," Ujiri recounted. "We were on the phone listening and seeing what was out there, but nothing tickled us."
The Nuggets seem content on waiting for the promise of the future, it's definitely bright, and according to Ujiri it surely isn't here just yet.
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