For the first time in history, the Denver Nuggets won the NBA championship, securing the franchise’s title by defeating the Miami Heat 4-1 in the finals series. Nikola Jokic and his teammates brought home the coveted trophy. While they are immersed in celebration, the team is already concerned about the future, especially regarding the new rules in the collective agreement that will make it more challenging to retain key pieces in the roster.
At the beginning of this season, the main question was whether the Denver roster could stay healthy enough to compete for the title, considering that in the previous two years, the players accumulated a total of 535 missed games. This resulted in the Nuggets being eliminated in the first round of the playoffs in both seasons, despite Jokic winning the MVP award on both occasions.
In the current season, the situation was different. The Denver Nuggets had a total of 153 missed games due to injuries, which was the eighth lowest number in the league. In the playoffs, coach Michael Malone stuck with the same starting lineup throughout all 20 games. The result? The franchise’s first-ever championship.
The expectation is that the five Denver starters will be retained for the next two seasons. Jamal Murray, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Michael Porter Jr., Aaron Gordon, and Jokic are all under contract until at least 2024-25 (Caldwell-Pope has the option to become a free agent in 2024). Jokic is entering the first year of his five-year supermax extension, which amounts to $272 million (R$ 1.32 billion). Meanwhile, Murray has two more years on his contract and is eligible for an extension this offseason. Gordon has three seasons remaining, and Porter has four.
However, there is a concern related to the new collective bargaining agreement and its impact on the team’s ability to build depth around its key players. Denver is one of only two teams with three players on maximum contracts (Jokic, Murray, and Porter) and also owes first-round picks to Charlotte, Orlando (in 2025), and Oklahoma City (in 2027 and 2029) over the next seven years.
Among the most important players, there is a possibility of Bruce Brown, who is a free agent, leaving the team. After spending the last four seasons with Detroit and Brooklyn, he found a comfortable spot and a defined role in Denver. During the playoffs, he led all reserves in total points. He has received a proposal of $6.8 million (R$ 33 million) for the next season, but if he declines, he could receive double that amount from another team.
Regarding Jeff Green, the Nuggets have fewer restrictions. As he is an experienced player, his contract is likely not to vary much from the veteran minimum salary of $3.2 million. In this season, the 36-year-old forward averaged 7.8 points, 2.6 rebounds, and shot 48.8% from the field during the regular season.
While some players may depart, Denver also has the possibility of adding Ismael Kamagate to their roster. Kamagate is a second-round pick from the 2022 draft and plays as a center. In the current season, he averaged 9.6 points and 7.9 rebounds while playing for Paris Basketball. This addition could bring more depth to the Nuggets’ roster.
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