Following Tim Connelly‘s departure for Minnesota, Nuggets general manager Calvin Booth was thrust into the lead role of Denver’s front office just weeks before the 2022 draft and wasn’t shy about immediately shaking up the roster this offseason.
Of the 17 players who currently have standard guaranteed contracts or two-way deals with the Nuggets for 2022/23, eight have joined the team since the ’21/22 season ended. That group includes wings Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Bruce Brown and rookies Christian Braun and Peyton Watson, among others.
Speaking to Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic, Booth said that last year’s team was “a little bit smaller” than the front office had envisioned, so it was a priority this summer to add some size, especially on the perimeter. Upgrading the defense was also a goal, according to Booth, who discussed a few specific roster moves in his conversation with Vorkunov.
Here are a few of the most noteworthy comments from the Nuggets’ new head of basketball operations:
On the motivation for the trade that sent JaMychal Green to Oklahoma City:
“It helped us open up another roster spot to get a more regarded or better defender on the perimeter. JaMychal brought a lot of toughness and explosion around the rim and he’s a great shooter, but (defending) in space wasn’t his strength. So, it allowed us to open up a roster spot where we can get somebody that could be more versatile and switch and do something like that.”
On whether Booth thinks the defense will be better in 2022/23, particularly on the perimeter:
“Yeah, definitely do. I think, again, with the injuries, and Jamal (Murray), I think, is an underrated defender. Obviously, it’s gonna take a while to get back into tip-top form for him coming back off the injury, but I fully expect him to be a two-way guy once he’s back feeling like himself.
“But Aaron Gordon had to cover a lot of holes last year; he had to go into the backcourt a lot more probably than Coach (Michael) Malone or himself would have liked to. So, hopefully with the addition of KCP and Bruce Brown and Christian Braun and some of the guys of this nature — Davon Reed, he’s back, he does some good things for us — Aaron won’t have to go into the backcourt quite as much.”
On the plan for Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr. as they return from injuries this fall:
“I definitely think they’ll both be healthy (to start the season). Especially with the nature of Mike’s injury, and even Jamal, we’ll probably have to be wary about back-to-backs and things of that nature. As we get close to the season Coach Malone and I will sit down with performance staff and map out a plan for what that looks like during the regular season.”
On attempting to maximize Nikola Jokic‘s prime years:
“That’s just a priority. That’s the No. 1 focus. Maximize the timeline. Put personnel around him that allows him to play his best and get the most out of his teammates. So, that’s the No. 1 priority in our organization right now.”
8 thoughts on “Nuggets’ Booth Talks Offseason Moves, Murray, MPJ, Jokic”
JaMychal Green trade sent Green to OKC
Could not having gotten 2 better fits with the assets they had than KCP and Bowen, like the Braun pick as well –
Scary thought is, they just opened up MORE space for Joker on the court to operate. He could have his best season yet
Nice catch, always mix the ex Spur up w him ha/similar games/names
* Always mix up Cha and Mem too for some reason
Jokic just surpassed Wilt for best PER in a single season in NBA history, a record that stood for 60 years. If his best season is yet to come, let’s sit, relax and enjoy, no matter which team you root for
Based on their off seasons, you’d think that Booth was the proven FOC who was coaxed away from his prior employer with big $$, and Connelly was a first timer who needs to prove himself. Connelly is surely a likeable guy though.
Nuggets seem like the team to beat this year, if everyone is healthy they are very stacked.
As a Pistons fan, I wish we didn’t let KCP, Middleton, or Brown go for pennies on the dollar, the Nuggets have always been the team out West I have rooted for since Mr Big Shot was sent back home.
Hope you guys stay healthy.
Billups one of my all time favs