NBA Free Agency: Denver Nuggets Preview
What Happened Last Season:
The Denver Nuggets are the Jekyll and Hyde of the NBA. One night, they looked like world beaters in taking games from the eventual NBA champs, Golden State Warriors, as well as the league runner-up, Cleveland Cavaliers, and Eastern Conference finalists, Boston Celtics, looking like a team on the rise. But, then you have to balance that with losses the team suffered to cellar-dwellers in the Brooklyn Nets and Sacramento Kings. Denver made considerable gains and was in the thick of the playoff conversation until the last weeks of the season when a red-hot Portland Trail Blazers squad beat them to wrest the eighth and final spot from the weary Nuggets.
Upcoming Free Agents:
SF Danilo Gallinari (Player Option)
C Roy Hibbert
PF/C Mason Plumlee
Guaranteed Cap Space: $1,874,621 (per Spotrac)
Potential Cap Space: $37,850,386 (per Spotrac)
Finding a star to pair with Nikola Jokic
The 2016 season was a coming out party for the European post player. In going from second-round afterthought to one of the top big men in the league, Jokic may be the superstar the team has been looking for since Carmelo Anthony was jettisoned to the New York Knicks in 2011. The Nuggets are a young, exciting team with a nucleus of promising players in Jokic and guards Jamal Murray and Gary Harris, but GM Tim Connelly seems set on trying to bring in a high-profile free-agent to complete the core of the team.
Chris Paul was an early target on the Nuggets’ radar when the veteran point-guard made his intentions known that he was leaving the Clippers in some fashion this offseason. Paul even made mention that he was intrigued at the idea of pairing with Jokic and had Denver as one of the places he wanted to visit if he hit the free-agent market. None of that came to fruition as Houston completed a trade to bring on Paul earlier in the week.
Paul Millsap is a name that has been thrown in the ring as someone the Nuggets will try to sign. Millsap would be a solid front court option for Denver as they continue to try and add rebounding help for Jokic and Kenneth Faried. Rumors of a potential deal involving Kevin Love have surfaced as well, so the Nuggets are clearly in the market to get a quality big man on the roster.