(FortCollins-CO) The Denver Nuggets have given Shawn Kemp the opportunity to perform at their free agent camp. The former All-Star hasn't played in three years and during that time has been fighting addictions to alcohol, cocaine, and marijuana. The New York Post reported that while playing for the Supersonics that Kemp had an alcohol problem. Shortly after those reports, Kemp checked himself into a rehabilitation clinic for cocaine related problems in 2001. Since then he has been arrested in the Seattle area in 2005 with small amounts of cocaine and marijuana in his car. By the way, this is all while ballooning up to almost 340 pounds.
Now Shawn Kemp is trying to live right and return to the NBA. The only question is this; Is the one time awe-inspiring big man worth the risk of maintaining a roster spot after all the skeletons in his closet are brought out for a dusting? The answer to that is maybe. Here is why.
Kemp was an All-Star six times during his prime days with the Seattle Supersonics. He has been around the block and he knows what it takes to play in this league at a high level. Furthermore, Nugget coach George Karl has personal insight to the man that Kemp is at heart. Karl made this statement when asked about Shawn Kemp. Karl replied, "Shawn always had a good heart, he just now seems a little more clearer, little more matured and more together."
Kemp also has some other personal ties to Nugget management. Director of player personnel Mark Warkentien recruited Kemp to UNLV. Nuggets assistant Tim Grgurich also helped Kemp develop all that raw talent out of Trinity Valley Community College into a headlining career.
In all honesty though, why would the Nuggets be looking at a guy like Shawn Kemp when they have Nene hopefully making a return to the team, a disgruntle situation with Kenyon Martin, and a slew of other forwards including Reggie Evans on their roster?
The answer is that Kemp would not cost much to obtain and maybe, just maybe, might have a good year coming off the bench. The Nuggets would only have to cough up $744,551 for a one-year deal, which is essentially nothing. But just because a guy loses 70 pounds doesn't constitute a full-fledge comeback in my book. If that kind of mentality was in place, why not try and lure guys like David Robinson or Charles Barkley back to the locker room? Plus, I heard that Dennis Rodman was still vying for minutes in some type of summer league...
My mind is still playing with potential offers to propose league wide for Kenyon Martin. Shawn Kemp is going to be around later in the summer and could potentially be a nice addition just inches away from starting pre-season, but for now, I think that the Nuggets need to concentrate on making big moves, not nostalgic ones.