Nuggets Notes: Malone, Free Agents, Morris, Murray

Even though the Nuggets‘ magical postseason run came to an end Saturday, the team appears to have a bright future ahead, writes Mike Singer of The Denver Post. After overcoming 3-1 deficits in the first two rounds of the playoffs, Denver couldn’t do it again against the Lakers, but coach Michael Malone believes the experience in Orlando should benefit his players.

“I think we have something special brewing,” Malone said. “And I think most importantly, I think people around this country, around the world, who were watching the playoffs, this group of guys, you would be hard pressed to find a better story coming out of this bubble. A bunch of young kids faced elimination, looked it in the face and just kept on surviving and advancing.”

The Nuggets’ hopes for improvement will center around the development of rookie forward Michael Porter Jr., who averaged 11.4 points and 6.7 rebounds per game in the postseason. Porter should be a full-time rotation player next season, and fellow rookie Bol Bol may also have a larger role. In addition, Will Barton will return after missing the entire playoffs with a knee injury.

“I think all great teams and champions have to go through the pains of losing,” Malone said. “And nothing is handed to you in this business. And we’re making steps. We’re moving in the right direction with a great group of guys.”

There’s more on the Nuggets:

  • Denver’s challenge for the offseason will be deciding how to handle free agents Jerami Grant, Mason Plumlee, Torrey Craig and Paul Millsap without exceeding the luxury tax threshold, notes Bobby Marks of ESPN. The Nuggets hold Bird rights or Early Bird rights on all four players and can go over the salary cap to keep them. However, the team already has $95MM in guaranteed money committed to five players. Marks states that Denver can spend $29MM without paying the tax — that figure drops to $20MM if Grant opts into a $9.3MM salary for next season.
  • Reaching an extension with reserve point guard Monte Morris should be another priority, Marks adds in the same story. Morris has a $1.7MM non-guaranteed contract for 2020/21 that will become guaranteed whenever free agency begins. Marks believes a realistic extension offer would be in the neighborhood of $27MM over three years.
  • Jamal Murray played Saturday’s game with a bone bruise on his right knee and another bruise on his right foot, according to Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN. The pain contributed to Murray’s off night with 19 points on 7-of-17 shooting. “I don’t like to tell everybody what I got. I just like to play through it,” he said. “I was in pain, but it’s cool. I was out there. I was struggling a little bit today.”
newest oldest

12 thoughts on “Nuggets Notes: Malone, Free Agents, Morris, Murray

  1. El Don

    Wow DEN is such an awesome team!
    Murray, MPJ & Jokic… future can’t be brighter in the mile high city!

    • x%sure

      We called it, & Clippers falling karma. I doubt you like the making light of MPJr but hopefully he sees the films and critical takes and says, *If I’m so good why don’t I fix that ppl are laughing*

  2. Count that baby and a foul!

    Give up your first rnd pick/G.Harris/and salary filler/cap space for B. Griffin and let him take the Paul Milsap role. No one can convince me that 50 gms of B.G. and load managed for playoff run is not better than what Milsap gave that team this year!

  3. Simmons>Russ

    Trade away Gary Harris to a team that has cap space for a late first round pick in order to free up more money.

    Resign Grant at 45mil over 3 years (15mil), Monte Morris at 3 years and 24mil (8mil). Let Millsap leave, possibly sign and trade. Then look at cheaper extension for Craig and Plumblee

  4. KnickerbockerAl

    Blake would be a good move, that way. Grant should opt in to 9 mill. There will be more for teams to spend next yr. He’s not getting more than ten mill.

    • x%sure

      You know Grant’s better than his year-end stats due to a long adjustment. Not a smart guy but very flexible in positioning.

      Griffin isn’t a culture fit and would require the FO to give up a lot in matching salary, when they like to hold on to people… or did, when Karnisovas was there.

      My post is longer than yours this time, I’ll take a cookie.

      • tiredolddude

        That they hung with the Lakers is commendable given what you would have expected to be a mismatch on the boards. But while I agree about Blake, having the big banger on the glass seems to be all that’s missing for the next level. Not that they’re a dime a dozen or anything

        • x%sure

          That’s why they spent so much on Milsap, but he was struggling IMO at his age. He didn’t even look as imposing as he used to!

  5. Lionel Muggeridge

    Harris and Millsap aren’t needed. Resign Plumlee for the minimum. Try and get Grant on a 4/60 deal.

  6. From what I see, Malone doesn’t know how to handle Porter Jr. This kid’s offensive ceiling is almost limitless…. That being said, I live in Chicago and I see a good amount of Denver games from an outsiders perspective… What was painfully obvious was that every coach in the playoffs knows Malone is completely predictable. They knew all they would have to do was run plays at Porter in the pick and roll in PLAYOFF BASKETBALL when teams are going to score regardless. They knew, ESPECIALLY RIVERS and VOGEL, that Malone would poop his pants over some boneheaded defensive plays and Porter would be on the bench and probably third off the bench. The teams best three point option benched. It’s chess. Yes, Porter needs work defensively but with that type of scoring in the PLAYOFFS when teams are scoring regardless it was just silly to watch unfold. It’s obvious there is tension between Porter and Malone. I hate saying this but Malone just has it out for this kid. It was insane to see him sitting when that other guy missed 3/4 free throws down the stretch in game 3. Teams are scoring in crunch time.

    • AND MURRAY ALMOST GOES OUT OF HIS WAY NOT to pass the kid the ball. I viewed him take some crazy off balanced forced shots instead of kicking out to Porter on the perimeter WIDE OPEN

Leave a Reply