Western Conference Semifinals - Portland Trail Blazers v Denver Nuggets

The Denver Nuggets kept their roster mostly intact this summer, going against the larger NBA offseason trend of unprecedented player movement.

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The NBA has entered its annual quiet summer doldrums as the dramatic, landscape-altering waves of one of the most active and chaotic free agency periods in league history have calmed, with rosters settling into their new formations and a clearer picture of the upcoming season emerging.

Nuggets president of basketball operations Tim Connelly cut against the predominant grain by keeping out of the frenzied fray for the most part, retaining nearly all of last season’s regular rotation players including every one of their starters. And while even their biggest moves may have been overshadowed by the shockwave-inducing movement of top-flight stars such as Kawhi Leonard and Paul George to the Clippers, Anthony Davis joining LeBron James on the Lakers, or Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving teaming up on the Nets, Denver’s offseason has, for the most part, been favorably received by analysts and experts among the national NBA media.

Nuggets Offseason Recap

Players acquired:

Jerami Grant – The Oklahoma City Thunder traded Grant to the Nuggets in exchange for a top-ten protected future first round pick which will likely convey in 2020 barring a surprisingly disastrous season for Denver.

Bol Bol – The Nuggets, who entered the June 20 NBA draft without any picks, were able to trade for the once lottery-projected center by sending the Miami Heat their 2022 second-round pick and cash considerations after he fell out of the first round to 44th due to injury and attitude concerns.

Players Relinquished:

Trey Lyles and Brandon Goodwin – Denver had tendered qualifying offers to Lyles and Goodwin prior to the opening of the free agency period, but went on to rescind both, resulting in their becoming unrestricted free agents.

Isaiah Thomas and Tyler Lydon – Both Thomas and Lydon had expiring contracts and became unrestricted free agents following the end of the season.

Contractual Moves For Retained Players

Paul Millsap – Denver exercised their $30.4 million team option on the final year of Millsap’s contract, keeping their starting power forward and defensive captain on the books for one more year, and likely paving the way for an extension in 2020 should both parties remain mutually interested in staying together.

Jamal Murray – In the Nuggets’ biggest move of the offseason, they extended the 22-year-old Murray on a five-year, $170 million maximum deal, making the burgeoning star point guard the highest-paid player in franchise history, and cementing his role alongside center Nikola Jokic (who got his own max contract extension last summer) as half of the team’s two-man core duo for the foreseeable future. Murray’s extension will not kick in until the 2020-21 season.

Denver’s Salary Cap And Remaining Offseason Projections

According to salary figures at Early Bird Rights from Forbes contributor Jeff Siegel, the Nuggets, with a total of $130.7 million in guaranteed salary, are $27.3 million over the salary cap and $3.2 million under the luxury tax threshold for the upcoming season. They have 13 guaranteed contracts on the books, leaving two roster spots open which will presumably be used for Bol and 2017 second-round draft pick Vlatko Cancar, who Denver intends to sign according to a report by Sportando’s Emiliano Carchia. The Nuggets will be looking to avoid going into the luxury tax, and will presumably sign Bol to a deal similar to that of 2018 second-round pick Jarred Vanderbilt.

If that proves to be the case, Bol would land a rookie contract in the neighborhood of three years, $4 million with a salary at or just under $1 million. This would allow for the first year of a rookie deal for Cancar to go up to about $2.2 million without Denver exceeding the luxury tax limit. Both players would likely be paid out of Denver’s mid-level exception.

Nuggets Draft Grades

Despite having the eighth-youngest roster in NBA playoff history, the Nuggets were able to beat the more established, veteran Spurs in the first round of the postseason, and take Damian Lillard’s Trail Blazers to seven games. This was an exceptional outcome for such a youthful squad, especially considering they had missed the playoffs by a single game in their two previous seasons and initially had their sights set on simply making the postseason cut.

Denver is banking on the growth of their young players, including 2018 first-round draft pick Michael Porter Jr., who has a sky-high ceiling but remains a mystery box having yet to play a single game for the Nuggets after being red-shirted last season through his long rehabilitation from a back injury.

Many in the media around the league seem to agree that doubling down on continuity and keeping the team intact was the correct route for the Nuggets to take, with the reaction to the decision making by Connelly and his operations staff this summer having been mostly positive, as seen in the offseason grades below:

Sports Illustrated’s Andrew Sharp calls the Nuggets “one of the safest bets on the board” when it comes to title contention, maintaining that “continuity in Denver may give the Nuggets a leg up on the field” following the summer’s seismic shifts. Zach Harper of The Athletic is also bullish on Denver, saying they “should be in the mix for the top seed in the West and possibly a trip to the NBA Finals.”

There is still plenty of time left in the offseason, so one or more further big moves by the Nuggets can’t be ruled out. But in all likelihood, they are running it back with the players they currently have in their stable, adhering to their highly-valued organizational philosophy of patience and internal growth, and perfectly happy remaining true to the blueprint which has brought them success thus far.

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The NBA has entered its annual quiet summer doldrums as the dramatic, landscape-altering waves of one of the most active and chaotic free agency periods in league history have calmed, with rosters settling into their new formations and a clearer picture of the upcoming season emerging.

Nuggets president of basketball operations Tim Connelly cut against the predominant grain by keeping out of the frenzied fray for the most part, retaining nearly all of last season’s regular rotation players including every one of their starters. And while even their biggest moves may have been overshadowed by the shockwave-inducing movement of top-flight stars such as Kawhi Leonard and Paul George to the Clippers, Anthony Davis joining LeBron James on the Lakers, or Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving teaming up on the Nets, Denver’s offseason has, for the most part, been favorably received by analysts and experts among the national NBA media.

Nuggets Offseason Recap

Players acquired:

Jerami Grant – The Oklahoma City Thunder traded Grant to the Nuggets in exchange for a top-ten protected future first round pick which will likely convey in 2020 barring a surprisingly disastrous season for Denver.

Bol Bol – The Nuggets, who entered the June 20 NBA draft without any picks, were able to trade for the once lottery-projected center by sending the Miami Heat their 2022 second-round pick and cash considerations after he fell out of the first round to 44th due to injury and attitude concerns.

Players Relinquished:

Trey Lyles and Brandon Goodwin – Denver had tendered qualifying offers to Lyles and Goodwin prior to the opening of the free agency period, but went on to rescind both, resulting in their becoming unrestricted free agents.

Isaiah Thomas and Tyler Lydon – Both Thomas and Lydon had expiring contracts and became unrestricted free agents following the end of the season.

Contractual Moves For Retained Players

Paul Millsap – Denver exercised their $30.4 million team option on the final year of Millsap’s contract, keeping their starting power forward and defensive captain on the books for one more year, and likely paving the way for an extension in 2020 should both parties remain mutually interested in staying together.

Jamal Murray – In the Nuggets’ biggest move of the offseason, they extended the 22-year-old Murray on a five-year, $170 million maximum deal, making the burgeoning star point guard the highest-paid player in franchise history, and cementing his role alongside center Nikola Jokic (who got his own max contract extension last summer) as half of the team’s two-man core duo for the foreseeable future. Murray’s extension will not kick in until the 2020-21 season.

Denver’s Salary Cap And Remaining Offseason Projections

According to salary figures at Early Bird Rights from Forbes contributor Jeff Siegel, the Nuggets, with a total of $130.7 million in guaranteed salary, are $27.3 million over the salary cap and $3.2 million under the luxury tax threshold for the upcoming season. They have 13 guaranteed contracts on the books, leaving two roster spots open which will presumably be used for Bol and 2017 second-round draft pick Vlatko Cancar, who Denver intends to sign according to a report by Sportando’s Emiliano Carchia. The Nuggets will be looking to avoid going into the luxury tax, and will presumably sign Bol to a deal similar to that of 2018 second-round pick Jarred Vanderbilt.

If that proves to be the case, Bol would land a rookie contract in the neighborhood of three years, $4 million with a salary at or just under $1 million. This would allow for the first year of a rookie deal for Cancar to go up to about $2.2 million without Denver exceeding the luxury tax limit. Both players would likely be paid out of Denver’s mid-level exception.

Nuggets Draft Grades

Despite having the eighth-youngest roster in NBA playoff history, the Nuggets were able to beat the more established, veteran Spurs in the first round of the postseason, and take Damian Lillard’s Trail Blazers to seven games. This was an exceptional outcome for such a youthful squad, especially considering they had missed the playoffs by a single game in their two previous seasons and initially had their sights set on simply making the postseason cut.

Denver is banking on the growth of their young players, including 2018 first-round draft pick Michael Porter Jr., who has a sky-high ceiling but remains a mystery box having yet to play a single game for the Nuggets after being red-shirted last season through his long rehabilitation from a back injury.

Many in the media around the league seem to agree that doubling down on continuity and keeping the team intact was the correct route for the Nuggets to take, with the reaction to the decision making by Connelly and his operations staff this summer having been mostly positive, as seen in the offseason grades below:

Sports Illustrated’s Andrew Sharp calls the Nuggets “one of the safest bets on the board” when it comes to title contention, maintaining that “continuity in Denver may give the Nuggets a leg up on the field” following the summer’s seismic shifts. Zach Harper of The Athletic is also bullish on Denver, saying they “should be in the mix for the top seed in the West and possibly a trip to the NBA Finals.”

There is still plenty of time left in the offseason, so one or more further big moves by the Nuggets can’t be ruled out. But in all likelihood, they are running it back with the players they currently have in their stable, adhering to their highly-valued organizational philosophy of patience and internal growth, and perfectly happy remaining true to the blueprint which has brought them success thus far.





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