The Nuggets are about to find out whether a roster full of players who deserve regular minutes is really a good problem to have, writes Nick Kosmider of The Athletic. That’s how coach Michael Malone has been framing the situation, but keeping everyone happy on one of the league’s deepest teams could be a season-long challenge. Coming off a 54-win season, Denver traded for Jerami Grant this summer and will have to incorporate 2018 lottery pick Michael Porter Jr.
Playing time will be important with potentially half the roster heading into a contract year. Paul Millsap and Mason Plumlee both have expiring deals, and Grant could become an unrestricted free agent as well if he declines a $9.3MM option for 2020/21. Juan Hernangomez and Malik Beasley are both eligible for rookie scale extensions, while Monte Morris and Jarred Vanderbilt will be eligible for extensions next summer. Torrey Craig is headed for restricted free agency.
“Sacrifice is the biggest word in our locker room,” Morris said. “We’re so deep that you have to be able to know sometimes that it ain’t gonna be your night. It’s knowing that you can be the so-called hero with six points on any given night.”
There’s more out of Denver:
- The team has a little more than a week to reach an extension with Beasley before facing the prospect of matching a very expensive offer sheet next summer, Kosmider notes in a separate story. Beasley already rejected a three-year, $30MM offer and recently hired Rich Paul of Klutch Sports as his new representative. The fourth-year shooting guard has a chance to cash in if he can repeat last year’s outbreak, which saw him average 15.9 PPG while shooting 55% from the floor and 50% from 3-point range. “I don’t think you can look at an 82-game season as a fluke,” Malone said. “… He built up to that. He worked toward that and when the opportunity presented itself, he took advantage of it.”
- It was only a matter time of time before Jamal Murray signed a maximum-salary contract, so Denver determined it made sense to do it sooner rather than later, writes Mike Singer of The Denver Post. With championship hopes this season, the Nuggets wanted to resolve Murray’s contract situation early so he could focus on basketball.
- Denver isn’t likely to make a trade early in the season, Singer adds in the same piece. Barton, Hernangomez and Gary Harris all missed time with injuries last year, so that depth could be needed until opportunities emerge closer to February’s trade deadline.