Nuggets free agency- 8 realistic targets in wake of Denvers Paul Millsap decision

Nuggets free agency- 8 realistic targets in wake of Denvers Paul Millsap decision

NBA teams have been plotting and scheming for years all in the name of flexibility.


This summer’s 2019 free agent class.

It’s been lauded as one of the deepest collections of stars ever to hit the free-agent market. Consequently, the NBA’s hierarchy is going to shift with Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard, Kyrie Irving, Klay Thompson and Jimmy Butler all becoming available once free agency opens Sunday evening at 4 p.m. MT.

The Nuggets, whose status as a free-agent destination has improved over the last two years, are not in the market to land one of the game’s elite stars. There would be interest in versatile forward Tobias Harris, according to a league source, but he’s likely to price himself out of the Nuggets’ range.

Denver is perfectly fine running it back with a 54-win team built around one megastar (Nikola Jokic) and one rising star (Jamal Murray). The rest of the team is littered with talent, some realized and some hypothetical. Rookie Michael Porter Jr. has the potential to raise their ceiling even higher.

The Nuggets enter free agency from a position of power, capable of adding a valuable lower-tier piece but not necessarily needing to add one.  Any addition needs to mesh well on a number of fronts. He can’t be overly expensive, he needs to be a high-character guy and he has to understand that the Nuggets already have a number of players penciled in for minutes.

After picking up Paul Millsap’s $30 million option on Saturday afternoon, likely their biggest move of the offseason, here are a few realistic options the Nuggets could land using their midlevel exception:

Jeremy Lamb, SG: Lamb could be a really nice value play for the Nuggets after having a strong year in Charlotte. He averaged $7 million throughout three years with the Hornets, and his production last season far surpassed that number. Lamb posted 15 points and five rebounds to go along with 35 percent shooting from 3-point range. Again, Denver could shore up its perimeter play with a valuable two-way guy at a fair price.

Al-Farouq Aminu, PF: A versatile, rangy big who can defend and shoot from outside, Aminu could fit in well with the Nuggets established pieces. Aminu is coming off a 4-year, $30 million deal with Portland and could also fit within the Nuggets’ price range. He’d be a valuable backup for Millsap and could help insulate the frontcourt in the event that Trey Lyles isn’t back with the team. (The Nuggets issued Lyles a qualifying offer on Saturday, making him a restricted free agent).

Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, SF: Another guy with good size and defensive versatility (noticing a pattern?), Hollis-Jefferson could fill a role off the bench if the Nuggets wanted to trot out a defensive-heavy lineup. There’s expected to be a solid market for him even after a sub-par year in Brooklyn.

JaMychal Green, PF: Green bounced around last year with the Clippers and the Grizzlies, but he could be another good value play if he’s interested in a team that will contend. He averaged 9.8 points and 6.1 rebounds last season with the Grizzlies before he was traded to the Clippers, where he posted similar numbers.

Seth Curry, SG: If the Nuggets can stomach his sass, Curry is not a bad option as a floor spacer off the bench. As with all their realistic options, knowing that minutes will be tough to come by is paramount. Curry shot 45 percent from 3-point range; if he’s content with less than $5 million, there could be a potential suitor in Denver.

Ed Davis, PF: Davis has great size and athleticism and is an excellent rebounder. He didn’t get a ton of run in Brooklyn last year and still managed to put up a career-high in rebounds (8.6). This addition would be, in part, to vary up offensive looks. With Davis in the second unit, Malik Beasley, Monte Morris and Will Barton would be free to initiate offense and Davis could mop up the glass. He made $4.5 million, so the price could be right.

Austin Rivers, SG: The Nuggets could use a combo guard who can play both ends of the court and create off the dribble on offense. Rivers could be an ideal fit in that regard. He’s just the sort of spare part that could find offense on his own and be a potential difference maker – especially at a bargain price.

Noah Vonleh, PF: Did Vonleh fatten up on stats while on a terrible Knicks team last season, or is there some potential value? Vonleh, who’s still just 23, averaged 8.4 points and 7.3 rebounds last season for New York. Would stability and culture help unlock real value for the former lottery pick?

Published at Sun, 30 Jun 2019 18:07:23 +0000