Nuggets Notes: Caldwell-Pope, Murray, Porter, Jokic

Re-signing Kentavious Caldwell-Pope will be the Nuggets‘ top priority this summer, writes Bennett Durando of The Denver Post. Caldwell-Pope has a $15.4MM player option for next season, and there will be a “robust” market awaiting him if he decides to opt out, league sources tell Durando.

“It gets hard not to think about it,” Caldwell-Pope said. “But right now to me, it’s just trying to get to the playoffs, trying to win another championship, whether I have a player option or not. That’s the least of my worries. It’s just trying to play high-level basketball, whoever that may be with.”

The 31-year-old shooting guard was a valuable component to last season’s championship team because of his ability to match up with elite wing scorers. He’s also shooting 40.9% from three-point range since coming to Denver, providing a needed floor spacer around Nikola Jokic.

Durando notes that the Nuggets will be motivated to keep Caldwell-Pope after losing Bruce Brown in free agency last year, but there are financial ramifications to a new contract. Denver is currently within $4.7MM of the second tax apron, and a hefty salary boost for KCP would likely subject them to those provisions next season.

There’s more from Denver:

  • Jamal Murray left Thursday’s game in the final minute after appearing to hurt his leg on an awkward landing, but it doesn’t seem to be serious, Durando adds in a separate story. “Just turned his ankle a little bit,” coach Michael Malone said.
  • Michael Porter Jr. set a franchise record for most three-pointers in a season Thursday night, topping the mark of 192 formerly held by Dale Ellis, per Ryan McFadden of The Denver Post. “Even when (Porter) is not hot, it seems like he is going to make every shot,” Caldwell-Pope said. “For him to continue to shoot with that confidence is great for him and us.”
  • Jokic remains a clear favorite for MVP honors, according to Michael C. Wright of Jokic tightened his grip on the top spot in the MVP race by following up Tuesday’s 35-point, 16-rebound performance at Minnesota with 30 points, 14 rebounds and 11 assists Thursday against New York.
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