The Nuggets might have fewer changes than any NBA team this offseason.
The Nuggets have 12 of their 15 players under contract for next season, and two of their three free agents are restricted. The Nuggets believe their young team played well enough in 2011-12 that they can bring back most of the same cast.
The Nuggets went 38-28 in the regular season, but their record undoubtedly would have been much better had they not had rash of injuries in the middle of the campaign. Once the team was mostly healthy, they won 11 of their last 15 games and then, as the West No. 6 seed, took the No. 3 Lakers to a Game 7 in the first round before losing the series 4-3.
Denver's primary players for next season are point guard Ty Lawson and forwards Danilo Gallinari and Kenneth Faried, all under contract for next season and all 24 or younger. Also back next season will be forward Wilson Chandler, who signed a long-term deal in March after returning from playing in China but ended up being lost for the last month of the season due to a hip injury.
The Nuggets' restricted free agents are center JaVale McGee, who had some impressive games after being acquired in March from Washington, and swingman Rudy Fernandez. The Nuggets have vowed to retain McGee, although it's possible they could let Fernandez go due to the great depth they have on the perimeter. Fernandez was lost for the season's final 1-1/2 months due to a back injury.
Denver's only unrestricted free agent is backup point guard Andre Miller, who might leave in order to join a team that is closer to a championship. If that is the case, after re-signing McGee, the Nuggets' other major source of offseason business would be to find another backup behind Lawson.
"As an organization and staff, you're excited because you don't think there will be many changes," said Nuggets coach George Karl.
All in all, the Nuggets have recovered well from February 2011, when agreed to appease star forward Carmelo Anthony, who had asked to be traded. Still, the Nuggets now have gone three straight seasons without winning a playoff series and they have been eliminated in the first round in eight of the past nine years. So there is still much work to do.