2022 NBA Offseason Preview: Denver Nuggets

After winning his first Player of the Year award in 2020/21, nuggets star Nikola Jokic It was better on 21/22. And it should have been – with caution Jamal Murray It is sidelined during recovery from an anterior cruciate ligament tear Michael Porter Jr. Shelved due to back surgery, Denver has lost two of its top three scorers for nearly the entire season.

With those two key players absent, it was supposed to be a wasted season for the Nuggets, but Jokic was so good that you felt the team still had a chance to make some noise in the playoffs if Murray and Porter could make it through. Back.

Unfortunately, time eventually ran out in the Nuggets season before Murray and Porter were ready to return, and despite Jokic’s tournaments—and his second straight cup—the club didn’t have enough to keep up with the eventual Western champions the Warriors in the first round of the playoffs.


Off-season plan of nuggets:

The return of the healthy Murray and Porter to the squad would go a long way toward bringing the Nuggets back into a legitimate contender. But that doesn’t mean the team should just sit back and watch these returning stars as off-season “extras”.

Murray and Porter would make the Nuggets’ attack more dangerous, but no defensive player is above average, so Denver needs one or more wingers that can defend (and better shoot as well).

Newly promoted chief of basketball operations Calvin Booth He will be tasked with finding these players, although he will have limited resources to do so in the Trade Market. The Nuggets gave up two future first-round picks and four second-round picks without getting any additional picks of their own, reducing the team’s ability to improve its offerings using draft assets.

This means that Nuggets may have to dangle players like Will BartonAnd the Monte Morrisand maybe Zeke Nnagy While pursuing defensive upgrades. All three are strong contributors to reasonable contracts, but Highland bonesThe rise and return of Murray should help make at least one Barton or Morris more consumable.

Nuggets also technically have the ability to trade the 21st overall pick, although they have to wait until after the draft to officially transfer it, due to the rule that prevents teams from leaving themselves without a first player in two consecutive future drafts.

The influential player wouldn’t make it back on its own, but linking pick number 21 to a combination of Barton, Morris and/or Nnaji would be enough to open up some interesting possibilities for Denver. On the other hand, the Nuggets roster is getting pricey and adding a low-cost starter could help keep his tax bill in check, so maybe they’ll stick with the first round of the year or try to get back into the second round instead. From trading outside the draft entirely.

Booth and his basketball operations team will have to make many decisions about free agents, including Cousins ​​of DeMarcusAnd the Austin RiversAnd the Davon Red. His cousins ​​played well as a reserve center behind Jokic and helped bring some solidity into Unit Two – I expect Denver to try to re-sign him, as long as other clubs don’t give him a big raise. Nuggets have rights other than birds only.

Rivers and Reed futures can be linked to other Nuggets List moves. They’ve shown that they can play rotation minutes, but would be very low on the depth chart if Murray, Hyland, Morris and Barton are still in the mix and may look for other opportunities in this scenario.

vegetables – Jamical Green And the Jeff Green – Both can access a free agency if they decline their player options. I’d consider Jeff more likely to test the market than JaMychal, given that JaMychal’s option ($8.2 million) is the more expensive of the two and he’s going to lose a low year.

Assuming JaMychal is chosen, the Nuggets could use his expired contract to help match salary in the trade, which could open up a larger role for Nnaji. Jeff’s ability to drop quick shots and guard multiple positions in defense makes him a precious deep piece, but he’s entering his 36-year season, so the team won’t want to pay more than he chooses ($4.5 million).

Jokic, Murray and Morris are eligible for an extension in this off-season, but only Jokic is one sure thing to get a new deal – he and the team are expected to finalize a five-year superfast agreement that will seal him during the 2027/28 season. Perhaps the timing isn’t right for an extension for Murray, who hasn’t played in over a year, or Morris, who would be ineligible to trade for six months if he signed for more money or more years than the extension–and–trading rules allow.


Set salary cap

Note: Our salary cap numbers are based on the league’s most recent forecast ($122 million) for 2022/23.

Guaranteed salary

  • Nikola Jokic ($33,047,803)
  • Jamal Murray ($31,600,650)
  • Michael Porter Jr. (30,500,000 USD) 1
  • Aaron Gordon ($19,690.909)
  • Will Barton ($14,375,000)
  • Monte Morris ($9,125,000 USD)
  • Zeke Nnagy ($2617,800)
  • Highland bones ($2201520)
  • Total: $143,208,632

Player Options

Team Options

Unsecured salary

Restricted Free Agents

  • Facundo Campazzo ($4,000,000 eligible bid / $4,160,000 max): Early Bird حقوق Rights
  • Flatco Kankar ($2,228,276 to view eligible / $2,228,276 to hold cap): Bird Rights
  • Total (booking ceiling): $6,388,276

Free agents in two directions

Draft Choices

  • #21 overall ($2,770,920)
  • Total: $2,770,920

Players Eligible for Extension

Note: These are players who are already eligible for an extension or will become eligible before the start of the 2022/23 season.

  • Nikola Jokic (veteran)
  • Monte Morris (veteran)
  • Jamal Murray (veteran)

Unrestricted Free Agents/Other Capital Holdings

  • Brian Forbes (Maximum $5,400,000): Non-Bird Rights
  • Cousins ​​of DeMarcus (Max. $1,811,516): Non-Bird Rights
  • Troy Daniels (Max. $1,811,516): Non-Bird Rights 2
  • Richard Jefferson (Max. $1,811,516): Non-Bird Rights 2
  • Austin Rivers (Max. $1,811,516): Early Bird Rights
  • Total: $12,646,064

OFFICE CAP OUTLOOK

With $143 million in guaranteed money earmarked for just eight players, Nuggets are on track to surpass the expected $149 million luxury tax threshold, so they’ll be limited to excluding the average taxpayer’s $6.4 million level unless they give up a decade or two.

Roof Exceptions Available

  • Average level exemption for taxpayer: $6,392,000 3

Notes

  1. Porter’s salary is worth 25% of the salary cap. If the cap ends above or below $122 million, that number will be adjusted up or down.
  2. The hat remains for Daniels and Jefferson in the Nuggets books from previous seasons because it hasn’t been abandoned. It cannot be used in a signature or trading transaction.
  3. This is an expected value. Alternatively, Nuggets can gain access to the full mid-level exemption ($10,349,000) and the semi-annual exemption ($4,050,000) if they stay below the tax yard.

Salary and cap information from Basketball Insiders and RealGM was used to create this post.

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