DENVER — None of them is headed to Disney World.
They aren’t going to be visiting the White House under special invitation anytime soon.
In fact, many of the Denver Nuggets don’t know what to do with their premature time off from work.
“I’m still stung a little bit and in shock a little bit that the season’s over,” Nuggets center Marcus Camby said after the team’s final meeting at the Pepsi Center on Friday morning. “I’m still hurting over that Game 5 loss. I’m not really thinking about next season or what I’m going to do tomorrow. That loss is definitely vivid in my mind right now.”
Going out on a four-game losing streak and losing 4-1 to the
San Antonio Spurs in the first round of the playoffs is going to hurt, but considering the circumstances, most Nuggets were in pret-
ty high sprits Friday — especially when asked about the potential for next year.
Nobody would go out on a limb and predict an NBA championship, but many were on the verge of it.
“Oh, we’re going to be really good,” Denver forward Carmelo Anthony said. “If we just start the season off the way we ended it this season, I think we can go a long ways.”
How far is a long ways? Home-court advantage? A division championship? A world championship?
“Why not?” Anthony said. “Why not? You know, that’s our mindset.”
It seems so simple now, but how does this Denver team — which went an astounding 24-5 after the All-Star break — achieve such lofty goals?
The entire team seems to think that having George Karl at the helm for an entire season — and especially the preseason — should help a lot.
“I think (Karl) has a lot more wisdom he wants to instill in us,” Camby said. “I think he didn’t want to clog our minds up when he got here, but I know he has a lot more schemes and a lot more philosophies he wants to teach us.”
Karl told his team to take the next few weeks off but to mark June 1 as the day to get back at it. From the looks of it, most of the Nuggets are onboard for that approach to this offseason.
“We expect to see each other a lot,” Camby said. “Hopefully, we can meet up somewhere and work out and hang out as a team and just try to keep getting better.”
Karl expects about 75 percent of his current team to be around this summer, but he’s welcoming a little time off as well.
“I’m going to go away ... for a little while,” Karl said. “I’m not going to think about anything except drinking beer and watching NBA basketball.”
Anthony is just looking forward to having a normal summer. After last summer’s controversial experience overseas in the Olympics, and then playing an entire NBA season plus playoffs, Anthony is ready to relax a little.
“That’s a lot on your body,” Anthony said. “I haven’t had any time off. I’ve probably had like 34 days off from the end of the season last year to now.”
But the former No. 3 overall pick assured everyone he’ll be more than ready by the time next season rolls around.
“I’m not going to have a start like I had last year, I can tell you that right now,” Anthony said. “This summer is the most important summer of my career, and I’m going to come in focused.
“I’m ready to take my game to another level, and I’m ready to take this team to another level. I’ve got to come into training camp a leader and put the team on my back.”
The next couple of weeks will be a good time to reflect, but that time off will be short and sweet, because Karl already has a plan to set into motion.
“I understand this is a business with free agency and everything, but hopefully our core guys can remain intact and come back here and make a couple runs at this thing,” Camby said. “I feel we have the team to get the job done.”