Top Free Agent Targets: Denver Nuggets
Max Cap Space: $9.2 Million Mid-level Exception & $3.6 Million Bi-Annual Exception
Update: The Nuggets have picked up forward Paul Millsap’s $30 million-dollar option. Perhaps this signals that Denver would rather have Millsap on his expiring contract that gamble that they could land a guy like Tobias Harris. Still, Denver is under the luxury tax and will have a couple of exceptions to play with. They also extended a qualifying offer to Trey Lyles. So, let’s start with discussing Mr. Lyles.
Many expected the Kentucky product to make a meaningful leap this year. He did the opposite. Lyles disappointed in the last year of his rookie contract and it showed in the way his shooting percentages plummeted.
Yet, over the past two seasons only 13 players have had a year when they shot at least 55 percent on two-pointers and 38 percent on 3-pointers while taking at least three of them per game. Lyles could be worth retaining at the right price. Check out some of the names on that list.
The Nuggets do not have many holes to fill, if any. Adding a seasoned, pliable forward who can play in just about any lineup would help, however. There may be times next season when the Nuggets want to put a taller player in the 3 spot. Ariza can do just that while maintaining space on the court. He could be available for the MLE.
The veteran swing man and former teammate of Millsap would be another welcomed addition to the club. Carroll is not the sexiest name on the market yet, he can bring toughness and postseason experience to a team looking to make a deep run. Again, he is another player who could be obtainable on the MLE.
Coming off of his most efficient shooting season yet, Gay may be looking for a two- or three-year deal. Denver can’t offer him this but, they could ensure him a decent amount of minutes.
Gay would fit right in as a taller wing and also bring good spacing with a bit of shot creation skill as well. He nailed 48 percent of his corner triples last season. With Millsap getting older it could be wise to sign a player who could either play next to him or beside him.
Gary Harris and Will Barton have each missed significant time in recent seasons, so adding some wing depth could be prudent. Temple was overpaid on his last contract and could possibly be had for the BAE. He isn’t a sharpshooter, but Temple has shot league average from deep over his last five seasons.
This could be a solid match for both team and player. Heading into his final season Carter will be looking to make a deep playoff run; something the Nuggets are primed to do. Carter can provide wing insurance and still has a little gas left in the tank. His price could be steeper than the veteran minimum but not higher than the BAE.
With Bol Bol being a project, Denver will enter the season with only two players they would feel comfortable playing at center. Adding a third string center should be a priority. Lopez may opt to sign with a team that will give him more minutes. He may want to play on a contending team, however and if he does then the Nuggets should extend him an offer.