Offseason Preview: Northwest Division
Over the last several days, I have been going division-by-division through the league and laying out what decisions need to be made and what’s at stake for each NBA team this offseason. We’ve already completed the Eastern Conference, running through the Atlantic Division, the Central, and the Southeast. Yesterday we moved on to the West. We started start with the Pacific, continue today with the Northwest, and finish things out tomorrow with the Southwest.
Without further ado…
Key Potential FA: Bruce Brown (PO), Jeff Green, Reggie Jackson
Big Decisions: Try to get Bruce Brown to come back or find a way to replace him with the mini-mid-level, Sort out the backup center situation, Make sure Michael Malone is not still drunk by the time the season starts
The most the Nuggets can offer Brown as a starting salary is around $7.8 million. Maybe he really is willing do pull a Bobby Portis and sign a one-plus-one, get wildly underpaid for a year, and get a wink-wink agreement on a larger deal next offseason — but the better bet is for a player who was a second-round pick and then mini-mid-level signee to take the payday now. He should be one of the most sought-after free agents of this offseason, with no shortage of teams interested in his services. I tried to tell folks about Brown for literally years, and it took being an integral cog of a title team for everyone to catch up. Go Canes.
If Brown leaves, the Nuggets basically have to replace him by committee, with some combination of Christian Braun, Jackson (if they re-sign him, presumably for the veteran’s minimum), Peyton Watson, and the three players they drafted this year (Julian Strawther, Jalen Pickett, and Hunter Tyson) splitting the role however it shakes out. Green wasn’t very good during the regular season, but he was better in the playoffs and if he wants to come back for another year, that seems like a perfectly fine arrangement. The Nuggets should again try to find a competent backup center to get them through the regular season, but the solution for the playoffs seems like it will be Aaron Gordon, so it’s not the highest of priorities.
Beyond that, all that’s left to do is to get Malone to stop celebrating at some point between now and the beginning of training camp.