Nuggets preparing bid for Ginobili

Updated: July 8, 2004, 11:57 AM ET
ESPN news services

The Denver Nuggets have zeroed in on San Antonio Spurs guard Manu Ginobili as their top priority in free agency if their long-shot pursuit of Kobe Bryant falls short and are believed to be planning to make a huge offer to Ginobili in the coming days, league sources tell ESPN's David Aldridge.

Nuggets GM Kiki Vandeweghe told Insider's Chad Ford, "I'd like to think we'll be making someone an offer soon." Vandeweghe also said he told Kenyon Martin he should return to New Jersey if that's where he'll be happy.
  • Ford: Kiki conversation
  • Ginobili visited Denver last weekend before returning home to his native Argentina, where he plans to be wed this coming weekend. Ginobili is hoping to have a deal in place by then.

    Herb Rudoy, who represents Ginobili, told Insider's Chad Ford on Wednesday that he still had not received a formal offer from Denver for the Spurs' restricted free agent, but they expect one any time. "I'm waiting around like an expectant mother," Rudoy said.

    The Nuggets have hosted several free agents since the beginning of the month, including Los Angeles Clippers guard Quentin Richardson and Portland Trail Blazers forward Darius Miles, and team officials have been in contact with Bryant as well.

    Manu Ginobili
    Shooting Guard
    San Antonio Spurs
    77 12.8 4.5 3.8 .418 .802

    Nets restricted free agent Kenyon Martin will be in Denver on Wednesday. But if the Nuggets make their expected offer to Ginobili, they would be out of the Martin sweepstakes.

    If Denver does make an offer to Ginobili the Spurs would have 15 days to match it. If they opted to match it, Ginobili would return to San Antonio. If not, he would become a Nugget.

    Elsewhere, a source tells Aldridge that the Nuggets will hire current WNBA coach and former Los Angeles Laker star Michael Cooper as an assistant coach. Cooper has coached the WNBA's L.A. Sparks to two league championships and is considered a rising coaching star. The Nuggets' current head coach, Jeff Bzdelik, was not given a coaching extension and is entering the final year of his three-year contract.

    Also, the Orlando Magic are expected to hire Clifford Ray later this week as an assistant coach. Ray has been an NBA assistant for many teams, including the Nets and Wizards, and is viewed as an outstanding "big man" coach. The Magic took 6-foot-11 high schooler Dwight Howard with the first overall pick in last month's draft.