Northwest Notes: Nuggets, Saunders, Layden, Donovan

The Nuggets wrapped up their first playoff series victory in a decade last night, but the franchise would have been well positioned for the future no matter what happened, writes Joe Vardon of The Athletic.

Franchise cornerstone Nikola Jokic is signed through the 2022/23 season, while young star Jamal Murray remains on his rookie contract. Denver has a $30MM option for next year on Paul Millsap and can get nearly $20MM under the cap by declining it. They hold three trade exceptions totaling roughly $33MM that don’t expire until July, and first-round pick Michael Porter Jr. is expected to be ready next year after missing this season because of back surgery.

“What gets me really excited is when I think about what this team has in the next couple of years,” coach Michael Malone said. “I think we have a great window that we’re just beginning with this young group, and Malik (Beasley), Jamal, all of our young guys are a big part of that.”

There’s more from the Northwest Division:

  • Timberwolves coach Ryan Saunders and GM Scott Layden have been meeting with prospective candidates for the president of basketball operations job and both seem in position to return next season, according to Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic. Layden, who was rumored to be on thin ice after the Jimmy Butler fiasco, solidified his relationship with owner Glen Taylor after Tom Thibodeau was fired, Krawczynski adds. Sanders is still classified as an interim coach, but he has the full support of star center Karl-Anthony Towns and virtually all the players.
  • Thunder coach Billy Donovan didn’t offer any clues about his future with the franchise during this week’s exit interviews, relays Clay Horning of The Norman Transcript. “For me, it’s just kind of business as usual,” said Donovan, who is coming off his third straight first-round playoff ouster. “(GM) Sam (Presti) and I had a chance to visit a little bit on the plane yesterday on the way back, just talking about the next couple of days and getting together. So, I’m sure he and I will get a chance to sit down as some of this stuff slows down and talk in detail and (I) look forward to that.”
  • Thunder rookie Deonte Burton thinks he benefited greatly from the time he spent in the G League, relays Maddie Lee of The Oklahoman. Burton started the season as a two-way player before signing a multi-year contract in March. “G League is good talent, too,” he said. “Like a lot, a lot more talent than people think.”
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6 thoughts on “Northwest Notes: Nuggets, Saunders, Layden, Donovan

  1. Would the nuggets be able to decline Milsaps option to go under the cap and be able to resign him or would his cap hold keep them as an over the cap team?

    • Luke Adams

      His cap hold would be even higher than his option, so they’d have to renounce it to use any cap room, in which case they’d be limited in what they could offer to him. Don’t think it’s a very realistic scenario unless they dump other salary too.

    • dust44

      Idk that they really need to resign millsap. Like the player. But getting a better shooter to play in his spot or if the need to play bigger arises they have Lyles as well. I don’t think Millsap will play as many minutes as usual in a series against the Warriors or Rockets.

      • x%sure

        Problem is, Lyles surprisingly regressed. I think the Nuggets will regress without Millsap but I don’t think they ever planned to pay out that last $30mil. They have extra guards to trade for a 4 and I expect them to try.

      • D$!LLKU$H-og

        They would regress without his leadership and bbiq but for 30mm they could do better. K-Love would be an ideal 4 for them but not sure who or what Cleveland would want in return that would make sense. I’d imagine it starting with MPJ and a future 1st along with salary filler like Plumlee and s&t Lyles.

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