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Denver: The New Old Option

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Let's get the media hook on this out of the way. Sam Amick of The Bee got in touch with Nuggets coach -- and the guy who reportedly blocked the Artest-Kleiza deal -- George Karl.

"We're not happy," Nuggets coach George Karl said of his team. "We're going to pursue things and change it up or figure it out and be better come October, but I don't think you'll see us overreact either."

Asked if Artest's comments might make Denver pause, Karl said no.

"I don't think Ron would be as good a player if he wasn't Ron," he said. "He's emotional. He's passionate. He's angry, and it makes him play the way he plays.

"Ron plays the game the right way, and plays with very high intensity."

So apparently, Ron-Ron's comments this week don't matter. (I suspect Carmelo Anthony and Allen Iverson also carry enough credibility to get Artest to be happy if he heard he was being traded to Denver.)

What does matter: Denver now has a fat trade exception, $10 million. They could take Artest straight-up for picks, or for a lower priced player (like Linas Kleiza). Neither is a better option than what else is reportedly on the table (Odom, Marion), but it's an option. Kleiza does move the team further from the luxury tax, though, which would allow better flexibility in other deals.

Personally, I think Denver is looking to either move for one of these restricted FAs (Okafor would be an interesting target, if Charlotte's low-balling him) or a point guard (they might be able to get Hinrich for nothing but a pick with this exception).