Christian Braun

Northwest Notes: Braun, KCP, Edwards, Dort

The Nuggets can’t just plug Christian Braun into the starting lineup if Kentavious Caldwell-Pope leaves in free agency and expect the same production, Sean Keeler of the Denver Post writes.

Keeler notes that the team tried to overcome the free agent loss of Bruce Brown with a combination of Braun and Peyton Watson, but those second-year players couldn’t replicate Brown’s impact. If KCP does sign elsewhere, the Nuggets will need at least one proven veteran shooter behind Braun to slot into the bench. Keeler also notes Caldwell-Pope posted a 122.4 offensive rating per 100 possessions this season, compared to Braun’s 110.0 mark.

We have more from the Northwest Division:

  • A more aggressive Anthony Edwards and a more physical, forceful defensive effort against Luka Doncic could allow the Timberwolves to turn the Western Conference Finals around, Vincent Goodwill of Yahoo Sports opines.
  • Edwards concurs with Goodwill’s assessment, vowing to be a bigger offensive force in Game 3 this evening, according to ESPN’s Dave McMenamin. “I’m going to be super aggressive,” Edwards said. “I haven’t taken more than 16 shots in each game. So I’m going to be ultra-aggressive coming out, for sure.” The Timberwolves guard also says he and his teammates are unfazed by the prospect of being down 2-0 in the series and needing to win at least two road contests. “It didn’t do nothing but add fuel to the fire for Game 3,” Edwards said. “I think all my teammates ready to go, it’s fun. … I think we’re in a pretty good mood. Everybody’s smiling and joking. We know we’re a good team. We know it’s not over. I don’t think anybody’s worried. Just know we got to come ready to play tonight.”
  • In his series of player report cards regarding the Thunder, The Oklahoman’s Joe Mussatto notes that Luguentz Dort has improved his offensive game to complement his elite defense.

Nuggets Notes: Offseason, KCP, Braun, Cancar, MPJ

Addressing reporters at his end-of-season press conference on Thursday, Nuggets general manager Calvin Booth didn’t say anything that would suggest major roster changes are in the cards for the franchise this offseason, writes Bennett Durando of The Denver Post. While Booth suggested some tweaks will be necessary, he stressed that continuing to develop the team’s young players will be crucial to improving the roster as a whole.

“I think (the 2023 draft picks) need more seasoning,” Booth said. “They need to get in the gym. They need to play Summer League. They need to get stronger. Obviously, maybe in our top seven, we can use a little bit more talent. Maybe there’s a way to upgrade one or two positions. … Get a guy that’s a more accomplished NBA player for whatever (roster) slot they’re taking. But I don’t see anything that’s, like, crazy out of sorts for our roster.”

After losing key rotation pieces like Bruce Brown and Jeff Green last offseason, the Nuggets relied primarily on recent draftees to replace them, adding three rookies (Julian Strawther, Jalen Pickett, and Hunter Tyson) to the roster and assigning 2022 first-rounders Christian Braun and Peyton Watson larger roles.

Of those players, Braun was the only one head coach Michael Malone trusted in the postseason, resulting in some questions about whether Booth and Malone are in the same page when it comes to filling out the roster and distributing minutes. That’s a subject that has been discussed within the organization, as Durando relays.

“We’ve talked about this a lot upstairs,” Booth said. “The general manager, front office job oftentimes is to make sure the long-term view is something that we’re satisfied with. And Coach Malone’s down there in the trenches trying to win every night. And a lot of times, those things are aligned, but sometimes they ebb and flow away from each other.”

Here’s more on the Nuggets, via Durando:

  • Asked about the possibility of surpassing the punitive second tax apron in order to sign Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, both team president Josh Kroenke and Booth expressed a level of comfort with operating above the aprons if it means maximizing the potential of a championship-caliber roster. “We spend a lot of time looking at the second apron and all this other stuff,” Booth said. “I think for me personally, it’s win a championship, one. Two, we have to look at the overall financial picture. And three, second apron. And I know the second apron is daunting, and there’s all kinds of restrictions, but I don’t think that’s first on our priority list. KCP’s been a great addition the last couple years. We obviously would love to have him back. We’re gonna take a hard look at what that looks like.”
  • If the Nuggets do lose Caldwell-Pope, it would likely thrust Braun into a starting job. Booth and Malone said they’re confident the young wing could succeed in that role if he continues to improve as a shooter. “I think Christian Braun, it’s all gonna come down to one thing. To be a shooting guard in the NBA, you’ve gotta be able to make shots,” Malone said. “That’s the bottom line. So if you want to simplify CB’s future as a starting two guard in the NBA, it’ll be determined upon his ability to be a 38% or above 3-point shooter.” Braun made 38.4% of his three-pointers in 2023/24, but didn’t shoot them at a high volume, converting just 63 in 82 games.
  • Booth said he expects Vlatko Cancar, who missed the entire season due to a torn ACL, to be able to suit up for Slovenia in the Olympic qualifiers, noting that the tournament will be a “great chance” to evaluate the big man. The qualifying tournament won’t begin until July 2, however, and the Nuggets will have to decide by June 29 whether or not to exercise Cancar’s $2.35MM team option.
  • The Nuggets signaled multiple times during Thursday’s presser that they likely won’t explore trading Michael Porter Jr. this summer, writes Durando. Kroenke expressed faith in the team’s current starting lineup (which includes Porter) and Malone refuted the idea (expressed by Porter himself) that MPJ was to blame for the second-round loss to Minnesota.

Nuggets Notes: Game 7, Jokic, Murray, Braun, Offseason

The defending-champion Nuggets were eliminated from the postseason in extraordinary fashion by the Timberwolves in Sunday night’s Game 7, blowing a 20-point third-quarter lead at home, writes Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN. According to Youngmisuk, it was the largest Game 7 blown lead in the past 25 years.

Perhaps all the more stunning is the fact that Denver is known for having one of the best home court advantages in the league, going 33-8 in the regular season and only dropping one playoff home game during its championship campaign in 2022/23. In the first round, the Nuggets went 3-0 vs. the Lakers at home. Yet in the semifinal, they dropped three of four to Minnesota.

As Bennett Durando of The Denver Post writes, Nikola Jokic (34 points, 19 rebounds, seven assists) put up his typical huge numbers. However, the reigning Finals MVP and three-time MVP noticeably ran out of gas as the game progressed, settling for jumpers in the second half and going 13-of-28 from the floor overall, including 2-of-10 on threes (he made 6-of-7 from the line). The Serbian star rested for a total of just 84 seconds, all of which came in the first half.

Jokic was humble in defeat, praising the Wolves and specifically their roster construction. Minnesota’s front office is led by Tim Connelly, who drafted Jokic to Denver before getting a raise from the Wolves a couple years ago.

I mean, I think they’re built to beat us,” Jokic said, per Youngmisuk. “Just look at their roster. They have basically two All-Stars (Anthony Edwards and Karl-Anthony Towns), two probably first-team defensive players (Rudy Gobert and Jaden McDaniels). Mike Conley is the most underrated player in the NBA, probably.

“From the bench, they have a Sixth Man of the Year (Naz Reid). … (They are) one team that they can do literally everything. They can be big, small.”

Here’s more on the Nuggets:

  • Jamal Murray, who was instrumental in last year’s Finals run but has been battling a calf strain, scored his 29th point just over a minute into the second half before adding just six the rest of the way. He finished with a game-high 35 points on a very similar line to Jokic (13-of-27, 4-of-12 on threes, 5-of-5 on free throws). Murray viewed the series differently than Jokic, believing the Nuggets were the superior team, but trying to repeat as champions took its toll. “Just mentally and physically, conjuring up the energy to fight like you’re being hunted,” Murray said. “I think that’s the emotion. When you’re the hunter, you have so much more motivation and you grasp on to anything to prove everybody wrong and you have a constant chip on your shoulder. I don’t know. … I feel like we should have won tonight. That’s the tough part. They beat us, but we had so many great opportunities, including myself, so it’s just tough, man.”
  • Second-year wing Christian Braun concurred with Murray’s assessment and said he definitely views the Wolves as a rival now after eliminating a shorthanded Minnesota in last year’s playoffs. “It sucks,” Braun said. according to Durando, “because I think we’re the better team. … I don’t like them. I think that we need more of that in the NBA. They’re a really good team. Really well-coached. Really good players. It’s a matchup that you love to play in. You don’t want to play, like, really friendly with a bunch of teams. I think it’s a really good rivalry for the NBA. I would say it is a rivalry. And that’s why this hurts more.”
  • While Jokic and Murray took responsibility, they combined to score 69 points, compared to 21 points on 8-of-28 shooting for the rest of the team, notes Youngmisuk. And the starting lineup, which has consistently been one of the best in the league the past two seasons, was minus-60 overall, per Durando.
  • ESPN’s Bobby Marks (Insider link), HoopsHype’s Mark Deeks, and cap expert Yossi Gozlan (YouTube link) preview Denver’s offseason and future salary cap situation, respectively. Starting shooting guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, one of the team’s top defenders who shot 41.6% from deep in his two regular seasons with the Nuggets, could be their top free agent — he holds a $15.4MM player option and would likely get a raise on the open market. The Nuggets have one of the league’s more expensive rosters, so re-signing the 31-year-old might not be a lock.
  • Murray reiterated his desire to play for Canada in the upcoming Olympics in Paris this summer, per Parker Gabriel of The Denver Post. However, Jokic was noncommittal about the possibility of suiting up for the Serbia. “I don’t know, my friend, we will see,” he said. “I need to think about it.”
  • Head coach Michael Malone was clearly frustrated after the series and defended his actions and team, calling it a temporary setback, per Youngmisuk. “This is just a momentary delay,” Malone said. “It’s a failure, it’s not fatal. We’ll be back. The better team won, so I’m taking nothing away from Minnesota … but mentally, emotionally, physically, I think guys are gassed. They’re dead tired. They gave me everything I could ever ask for, and that’s why as much as this hurts, I’ll walk out of this building tonight with my head held very high.”

Nuggets Notes: Murray, Nnaji, Playoff Rotation, Spurs

Nuggets guard Jamal Murray missed his seventh consecutive game in Thursday’s two-point loss to the Clippers, but head coach Michael Malone said his team’s second-best player is “getting closer and closer,” to a return, according to Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN (Twitter link).

Murray is officially questionable for Saturday’s contest vs. Atlanta due to right knee inflammation, tweets Vinny Benedetto of The Denver Gazette.

Here are a few more notes on the defending champs:

  • While he didn’t get any playing time, big man Zeke Nnaji was active on Thursday for the first time since March 17. He has been dealing with a right adductor injury the past few weeks. The 23-year-old isn’t on the injury report ahead of Saturday’s game.
  • In addition to Christian Braun and Reggie Jackson, Malone mentioned Peyton Watson and Nnaji as players who might crack the playoff rotation, though he suggested others could get a look depending on the matchup, writes Bennett Durando of The Denver Post. “A lot of it’s gonna come down to who we’re playing, to be honest,” Malone said. “If we’re playing a team that’s really big, I’ll probably have to play a bigger lineup and some other guys. Obviously, trying to get Zeke Nnaji back healthy. He’s been out for a little while now. We know that we can go with Aaron (Gordon) as our backup five. … But there’s a lot of guys that we can throw into games. And obviously, Christian, Reggie, Peyton, Zeke, D.J. (DeAndre Jordan) — whoever the game calls upon, those guys will all be ready. I have no doubt about that.”
  • It’s a tall order, to be sure, but general manager Calvin Booth says the Nuggets hope to emulate the Spurs‘ dynasty in the years to come, per Troy Renck of The Denver Post. Led by Tim Duncan, San Antonio won four championships from 1999-2007, and a fifth title in 2014. “It is of utmost importance and something I believe in a lot. As a front office, we understand the importance of studying historical patterns and what things have worked,” Booth explained. “The Spurs are the standard.”

Nuggets Notes: Winning Streak, KCP, Key, Top Seed, Lakers

The Nuggets have won six straight, reminding the league that the championship still runs through Denver, The Athletic’s Tony Jones writes.

The development of Peyton Watson and Christian Braun has supplemented Denver’s starting five after the Nuggets lost some key reserves during the offseason.

Denver put away the Lakers 124-114 on Saturday night with Nikola Jokic recording 35 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists.

“It doesn’t matter who we’re playing,” coach Michael Malone said. “We know that we have to play well, especially at this time of the year. We lost three in a row going into the break, and I’m just impressed at our mindset coming into the second half of the season. We got up for Washington. We got up for Portland and Golden State and so on. We’re playing the right way this time of year, and our guys are locked in, regardless of the opponent.”

We have more on the Nuggets:

  • Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and two-way player Braxton Key were both away from the team Saturday due to personal reasons, according to Bennett Durando of the Denver Post.  Both players are expected to return before the team’s next game on Tuesday against the Suns.
  • Caldwell-Pope told Durando that Nuggets want to be the No. 1 seed, but as Durando writes, that may not be a great spot come playoff time. Jokic notes they could draw a traditional powerhouse in the first round. “Nobody wants the Lakers in the first round or Golden State in the first round,” Jokic said.
  • The Nuggets have faced the Lakers during some special nights this season, Durando tweets. They beat the Lakers on opening night in a rematch of the Western Conference finals. They also matched up the night Kobe Bryant‘s statue was unveiled and, on Saturday, when LeBron James scored his 40,000th career point. “It’s weird,” Jamal Murray said. “Every time there’s some night in L.A., we’ve gotta play them, you know? Like, first game of the season, revenge game? We play them. Mamba Night? We play them. LeBron night? We play them. It’s like, man, give them somebody else.”

Northwest Notes: Porter, Hayward, Biyombo, Billups, Nuggets

The Jazz have allowed Otto Porter to return home to contemplate where he wants to finish the season, sources tell Tony Jones of The Athletic. The team is willing to negotiate a buyout with Porter, Jones adds, but it will have to be completed by March 1 to make him eligible for the playoffs with another organization.

Porter hasn’t played since being acquired from Toronto two weeks ago, even though Jones’ sources say he is completely healthy. Utah is committed to giving more minutes to rookie forward Taylor Hendricks, according to Jones, which is why the front office is open to a buyout.

Jones notes that Porter was in uniform last Thursday for the final game before the All-Star break, even though he wasn’t used. He only played 15 games for the Raptors this season before the deal, but Jones points out that Porter had an important role in Golden State’s 2022 championship and could draw attention from several contenders if he hits the open market.

There’s more from the Northwest Division:

  • Gordon Hayward expects to be ready to make his Thunder debut when the season resumes Thursday night, writes Joe Mussatto of The Oklahoman. The veteran forward, who hasn’t played since December 26 because of a calf injury, appreciated having extra time to prepare after Oklahoma City acquired him from Charlotte at the trade deadline. “The nice thing about when I got traded was I’ve had another week and a half, because of the break, to continue to get work in,” Hayward said. “I was here for most of the break.” 
  • Coach Mark Daigneault sees newly signed center Bismack Biyombo as a “situational player” for the Thunder, per Rylan Stiles of Locked on Thunder. “That was something we were honest about upfront [with Biyombo],” Daigneault said. “… He is a great professional, very serious competitor, and I think he will help the environment in that way.” 
  • Trail Blazers coach Chauncey Billups had his arm in a sling at Wednesday’s practice after undergoing surgery this week to fix a long-standing problem with his right wrist, according to Aaron Fentress of The Oregonian. The issue involves a ligament tear that Billups suffered as a player in 2009.
  • Harrison Wind of DNVR Sports looks at three issues that will define the closing part of the Nuggets‘ season: how hard they’ll pursue the No. 1 seed, whether coach Michael Malone will consider expanding his rotation, and how effective Christian Braun and Peyton Watson can continue to be.

Northwest Notes: Wolves, Jokic, Braun, George

The Timberwolves arrived at the All-Star break with the best record in the West, and they’re determined to finish the season as the conference’s top seed, writes Chris Hine of The Star Tribune. It’s an accomplishment that Minnesota has achieved only once in its history — during the 2003/04 season — but it appears to be within reach. The Wolves are a game-and-a-half ahead of Oklahoma City, and their 20 road wins are the highest total in the league.

“It matters if you’re trying to project everything forward,” coach Chris Finch said. “You want every advantage possible. If you have the best record, then of course you get home court, but it’s too far out to really bank on anything.”

Being in contention for the top spot is a major accomplishment for Minnesota, which had to battle through the play-in tournament last season before being ousted in five games in the first round. Rudy Gobert, who has experience as a No. 1 seed with Utah, said it’s important to keep focusing on business and not get distracted by the standings.

“I can feel that we have a purpose,” he said. “Personally, I came here to help this team win a championship. But last year, it was kind of like a lot of adversity. We realized early on that it probably was not going to be that year, but we could feel that we had the potential. And this year, from day one of training camp, it was a different focus, different mindset. We learned from everything that happened last year, and it made us grow.”

There’s more from the Northwest Division:

  • Nikola Jokic isn’t a fan of the NBA’s new 65-game minimum for players to qualify for postseason awards, per Bennett Durando of The Denver Post. The Nuggets center believes it puts pressure on players to take the court when they shouldn’t, adding that it likely factored into Joel Embiid‘s meniscus injury. “We saw what happened with Joel,” Jokic said. “… I just don’t like it, how it forces players to play even if they’re injured if they want to achieve something.”
  • Nuggets guard Christian Braun has been dealing with a series of injuries dating back to October, according to Sean Keeler of The Denver Post. The latest is a sprained left ankle that robbed Braun of his explosiveness and made him grateful for the week-long break. “I don’t want to sit here and make any excuses, but it hasn’t been great,” Braun said. “But I feel all right … I think this this break for me, personally, will be great for my body. I think that’s the biggest thing for me right now, is getting my body back. (It) hasn’t felt great all year.”
  • Jazz point guard Keyonte George has been through an up-and-down rookie year, but coach Will Hardy has put him back in the starting lineup to see what he can do, writes Tony Jones of The Athletic. George turned in his best game Thursday with 33 points and a rookie record nine three-pointers. “He’s very talented. He plays well with the rest of the guys in our starting unit,” Hardy said. “We just thought it was time to put him back in the lineup.”

Nuggets Notes: Jokic, Officiating, Second Unit, KCP

While Bozidar Maljkovic — the president of Serbia’s Olympic committee — previously stated that Nuggets star Nikola Jokic would represent his home country at the 2024 Olympics in Paris, the reigning Finals MVP recently said he hasn’t decided yet if he’ll participate, as relays.

It’s far. Some people put words in my mouth that I said something that I didn’t. The head coach is the first to know [my commitment]. I always talk to the family and the team after the season,” Jokic told Aleksandar Zigic of RTS.

After Denver’s lengthy playoff run ended in its first championship, Jokic decided to sit out the World Cup over the summer. Despite missing the best player on the team, the Serbians took home the silver medal behind strong performances from Bogdan Bogdanovic and other teammates.

Here are a few more notes on the defending champions:

  • Jokic has been ejected from two games over the past month for arguing with officials about foul non-calls. The second incident occurred on Tuesday in Chicago, with Jokic immediately kicked out despite not having any technical fouls leading up to that point. When asked about how Jokic is officiated, head coach Michael Malone said he’s discussed it with the NBA, according to Ryan Blackburn of Mile High Sports (Twitter link). I’ve been contacting the league and having conversations about certain plays, certain games where we don’t think he’s getting the whistle he deserves,” Malone said as a part of a larger quote.
  • The team’s bench is trending in a positive direction after some up-and-down play to open 2023/24, writes Harrison Wind of DNVR Sports. Second-year players Christian Braun and Peyton Watson, plus rookie Julian Strawther, “have become the backbone” of Denver’s second unit, according to Wind, who takes a closer look at the play of Braun and Watson in particular.
  • Starting shooting guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope sat out Thursday’s victory over Brooklyn after being placed in the NBA’s concussion protocol and will be sidelined for Saturday’s contest against Oklahoma City as well, per Vinny Benedetto of The Denver Gazette (Twitter links). Caldwell-Pope is shooting 40.4% from three-point range and is frequently tasked with defending the opponent’s top perimeter scorer. He’s making $14.7MM this season and holds a $15.4MM player option for ’24/25.

Nuggets’ Michael Malone To Make Changes To Bench Rotation

The Nuggets concluded a 1-4 road trip by losing to the Rockets by 19 points on Friday, prompting coach Michael Malone to promise that changes to the rotation were on the way, as relayed by The Denver Post’s Bennett Durando.

I just told them,” Malone said. “Minutes, I’m gonna start playing different people. You just can’t go out there because you think you’re gonna play, and go out there and do nothing. You’ve gotta bring something to the party.

Denver’s bench was outscored 16-0 in the first half on Friday with Christian Braun, Peyton Watson, Zeke Nnaji and Julian Strawther the headliners of the second unit. Braun had a good road trip, according to Durando, but Watson was a minus-24 and Strawther was a minus-36 during that stretch, while Nnaji was a minus-10 before Friday, a game in which he got pulled after one minute.

The Nuggets have put an emphasis on a two-timeline plan this offseason, as evidenced by using three draft picks this year and entrusting young players like Braun, Nnaji and Watson with heavy minutes. That plan is being put to the test with star guard Jamal Murray having been out since Nov. 4. Malone said he hopes Murray comes back “really, really soon,” according to Vinny Benedetto of The Denver Gazette (Twitter link).

One such change is seemingly going to be a minutes increase for Justin Holiday, according to Durando. Holiday only averages 8.2 minutes and has seen time in just six games, but he drew praise from Malone after Friday’s contest.

I thought Justin played pretty well,” Malone said. “So we’ll see. We’re going home. Very disappointing road trip. … That’s the challenge when you have so many young, unproven players off the bench. But we also have games to win, and that delicate balance is a tightrope. But we need to win, and I’m gonna play the guys that are gonna help us get a win.”

Even though Reggie Jackson hasn’t been able to replicate what Murray brought to the starting lineup, Malone continues to praise the guard, whose production helped offset the bench’s issues when Murray was healthy.

We’re playing lineups out there with no point guard,” Malone said. “We probably had quite a few minutes of that tonight. … Reggie, I think, has done a really good job in place of Jamal. But just like if Nikola goes down, we don’t have another Nikola Jokic. We don’t have another Jamal Murray.

Outside of turning to Holiday, Denver’s options off the bench are limited. Vlatko Cancar was expected to play a bigger role this year but is missing the season with an ACL injury he suffered in August. Denver also has rookies Jalen Pickett and Hunter Tyson under standard contracts but that might not solve the issue of giving too much responsibility to younger players.

Outside of that, the only other veteran who isn’t currently a part of the rotation is 35-year-old DeAndre Jordan. Two-way players Collin Gillespie, Jay Huff and Braxton Key could also be in line for minutes.

Nuggets Notes: Jackson, Jokic, LaVine, Development, More

Nuggets guard Reggie Jackson, who joined the team in February of last season, has gotten accustomed to playing with two-time MVP Nikola Jokic by now, but it’s not an experience he’s taking for granted, he said earlier this week, per Ryan Blackburn of Mile High Sports (Twitter link).

“Just watching him control the game, watching how special he is, watching his mind just work over and over again,” Jackson said. “The way he works, just takes over the game physically but really mentally. It’s special.

“… Like I said, I refuse to take it for granted. Being his teammate, playing against him for many years… when you have something special, you have to enjoy it, because you never know how long you’re going to have it, and when it’s gone you will truly miss it. So, I’m just enjoying being his teammate, enjoying how easy he makes the game, enjoying playing as his teammate but also being able to watch him as we’re playing.”

Jackson re-signed with the Nuggets as a free agent over the summer, inking a new two-year, $10.25MM contract with the club.

Here are a few more items out of Denver:

  • In a mailbag for The Denver Post, Bennett Durando dismisses the idea of the Nuggets’ pursuing a trade for a third star, arguing that a splashy move like acquiring Zach LaVine would be “antithetical” to everything the franchise has done in recent years. Elsewhere in the mailbag, Durando answers questions about Michael Malone‘s potential Coach of the Year case and Denver’s defense so far this season.
  • The Nuggets are balancing title contention and player development out of necessity this season, according to Matt Brooks of, who takes a closer look at how the team has to lean on young players like Christian Braun, Peyton Watson, and Julian Strawther for regular minutes, sticking with them through their ups and downs. “If Julian has a bad game, I just can’t say, ‘Okay, I’m not playing him for the rest of the season,'” Malone said. “If Peyton doesn’t have a good game, I can’t (bench him). Those guys need to play this year.”
  • Winning the in-season tournament is “a goal” for the defending NBA champions, according to Michael Porter Jr. (Twitter links via Harrison Wind of DNVR Sports). The Nuggets are 2-0 in group play so far, with their third tournament game on tap Friday night in New Orleans. “The incentive is always nice,” Porter said. “No matter how much money you have. $500,000 is nice, especially for young guys who are on their rookie contract. We all have a collective goal to win, not really for the money, it’s just competing.”