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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.