A Lump of Coal

This post brought to you by Jibblescribbits

Well this is a nice little lump of coal on Hockey Christmas eve. Stanley Kroenke wants the Avs to cut payroll because his other team that is in a different sport with a completely different economic structure got good for one season by cutting payroll.

Now, the Nuggets are being privately referred to inside the Kroenke Sports empire as the way the Avs should pattern themselves after. More than a couple of well-placed insiders say Kroenke has essentially told Avs personnel, “Hey, we cut our payroll with the Nuggets last year and nearly made the NBA Finals. You guys need to cut the payroll too. If I’m going to pay for a last-place team again, I’m not going to do it with one of the biggest payrolls in the league again.”

Obviously one (possibly fluke) season in a completely different situation is a great justification for moedling every franchise you own like that. I mean 14 years of success followed by one season of failure is obviously not a reliable model compared to 14 years of failure followed by one season of success. At least the Avs didn't have to take Nikoloz Tskitishvili, Raef LaFrentz, and "El Busto" Battie before finding their savior at the third pick.

After years and years and years of data across 4 sports, why haven't owners learned the easy lesson: It's not how much money you spend, it's how wisely you spend it.

I'm not even neccessarily disagreeing with Kroenke that some payroll needs to be cut. Clark and Tucker are vastly overpaid. Hannan probably is too.

But Smyth and Liles actually had good seasons, and are earning their contracts. They are also putting asses in the seats. Why in the world would you want to trade them unless you are in dire straights financially?

Listen the Avs need to shed salary, but not for the sake of shedding salary. They need to do it so they can invest that wasted salary into players who are going to make the team good again. The Nuggets didn't get better because they shed salary, they got better because they got rid of players who weren't playing up to their contracts, and brought in players who did play up to theirs.

The other factor in here is that the Avs are posied for a bounce-back year, at least to some extent. The Avs got career worst seasons from at least 7 players last season (Stastny, Clark, Tucker, Budaj, Foote, Hannan, Sakic, ). They also had a rash of injuries that were unusual. Despite Granato's coaching, the Avs would have been a better team this season anyways.

Regardless, the Avs really could make some shrewd moves this free agent season that would help the team, but they will need to open their pocketbooks just a little.

And Clark, Tucker, Salei, Smyth, Hannan and Liles aren't really going to be traded, and if they are it's going to be for next to nothing, and the cost of that is going to be keeping the team in the basement for years.


  1. Good post. I too think if money is spent wisely this summer (in addition to one of Sakic or Duchene playing), this team is a playoff team. I mean, does anyone really believe we're worse than Phoenix?

    - Magnum

  2. Does that mean the Av's will be giving away some of their players today for nothing? Does this genius know there is a salary cap floor?

  3. I'm not sure I buy it.

    1. Dater is about as connected to the Avs as I am, which is not at all. Not to say he's always wrong, but I take every supposed insider tidbit with a grain of salt until his track record improves from getting scooped on every major move and missing on most speculation.

    2. If the Avs are really serious about cutting cap room, why are they letting their cheapest players go? why not qualify Vernace? Why let a very servicable Guite go?

    I believe that the Avs are trying to shed salary, but I think Dater might be over-reacting. We'll see.

  4. @ Faux: It's possible. Of course giving l;ess than nothing (Tucker) away for nothing would still be an upgrade.

    @ doc: I take AD's reports with a grain of salt, because he can be a bit doom-n-gloom, and he has a bit of an over-emotional response at times (and He's probably be the first to admit that), but I have no doubt he has some contacts within.