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INDIANAPOLIS - Dahntay Jones wanted to return to the Nuggets , but NBA economics paved his road out of Denver and to Indiana. The Nuggets could not afford to re-sign Jones, whose successful season warranted a bigger contract than the Nuggets were willing to provide.

And while that may have been a bit disappointing for the guard at the time, he said Tuesday he has no hard feelings toward anyone in the organization. Business, he said, is business.

"I'm still cool and close with everybody on the staff and in the front office," Jones said. "That's just the nature of the business, and you move on. And sometimes you move to different cities."

As the free-agent process progressed, Jones said he could see he would not be back with the Nuggets .

"I was hoping to (return to Denver), but I didn't know the situation as in-depth as it was," Jones said. "Once you get into it, you could see it was a small possibility. But I'm in a good situation for me over here."

UNC love. Former teammates Ty Lawson and Tyler Hansbrough were able to renew acquaintances Tuesday. The two played together in college at North Carolina and won last season's national championship.

But while Lawson has gotten off to a fast start in his rookie season with the Nuggets , Hansbrough (shin injury) has missed the first few games with the Pacers.

Hansbrough said he's not surprised at Lawson's fast start.

"He's a good player, I played with him for a while," Hansbrough said. "I know what he's capable of. I think he's playing well and will have a good year for them."

Footnote. The Nuggets are going to catch a depleted New Jersey team tonight. The Nets are without star guard Devin Harris (groin) and forward Yi Jianlian (knee). Also out are Jarvis Hayes, Keyon Dooling and Tony Battie.

Chris Dempsey, The Denver Post

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