Nuggets have done everything right in the prior two seasons, only to be bite by terrible injuries. With Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr. on the mend and Denver facing the “largest offseason” of coach Michael Malone’s career. The NBA Nuggets’ front staff will meet some of the most painful choices in their journey NBA Finals.
Without precedent for over ten years, the NBA Nuggets expect to exceed the $149 million tax threshold. It will become very costly for the Kroenke’s to play the high-stakes game of championship chasing. Will they be nervous about the size of their bill?
It’s not only the $113 million in just four players that’s a concern; the roster selections are just as daunting. However, although Nikola Jokic has made tremendous defensive leaps. And is no longer the target he once was, the NBA Nuggets are still missing on the defensive end of the court. Once his fit, Porter won’t be a defender for all his skills on the court, either.
Aaron Gordon was Denver’s fire extinguisher
Denver’s “fire extinguisher,” as Malone dubbed him, Aaron Gordon, looked tired as the season and first-round playoff series wound down. Only Will Barton, Denver’s longest-serving starter, is left in the starting lineup. The NBA Nuggets might use Barton’s expiring $14 million contract as part of an acquisition strategy to improve defensively in the backcourt. Murray would benefit from the insulation, and Gordon would benefit from reducing overnight stress.
As a result of their common Baltimore heritage, Tim Connelly and Barton have a long-standing friendship. One of Denver’s long-standing locker-room cornerstones would shatter by any deal. That might be a price to pay for a shot at the crown. If it isn’t him, it may be someone else.
One of Denver’s most notable recent success stories, Monte Morris, is one of the organization’s most cherished members. The 2017 51st overall draft selection made his way through the G League and proved himself an NBA player before taking over for Murray as the starter. The 26-year-old, on the other hand, performed well. Morris, who has two years and $18 million remaining on his contract, is one of the most sought-after players in the league.
Might the NBA Nuggets at some point tolerate exchanging Morris, whose particular disposition is a sign of his consistent play?
As general manager, Calvin Booth puts it, “We aren’t tied” to our first-round draft selection this year. But we have several other players who we believe can fill the vacuum.” Is it possible that the Nuggets will discover another guy who has the same effect as Hyland had a year ago?
Young, cheap talent is a priority for the Nuggets as their tax cost rises. A draft selection may immediately impact players when combined with one of those salaries. It is a difficult choice, and it might make the difference between maximizing their title window or losing a chance. Denver’s front office doesn’t know what the June draft will bring, and they don’t know what trade offers they could get. However, if they want to win the title, they must consider all choices, no matter how uncomfortable or unpleasant they may be.
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