Patience pays dividends for Denver.
When Wilson Chandler opted-in to the $12.8 million dollar, final year of his contract, the Nuggets had two options. They’d secured Michael Porter, Jr., the presumed future at the small forward but his availability for ’18-’19 was uncertain. Chandler could be seen as a stopgap while MPJ recovered. On the other hand, Denver was well into luxury tax area with Chandler and Arthur opting-in, Harris’ extension going into effect and Jokic’ max deal. They hadn’t yet signed Barton or Craig so the financial situation looked daunting. Further, moving players that had little court time last year with big contracts (Faried, Arthur) looked to be unlikely.
Denver announced on July 3rd that they had moved Chandler and a second-round pick to Philadelphia for cash considerations. In salary and tax, the move saved Denver $50 million and moved them closer to the cap. Tributes to Chandler were everywhere, he was well-liked in Denver and had the distinction of being the final piece of the Carmelo Anthony trade on the Nuggets roster. Our own look at Ill Will can be seen here. This move both tantalized fans at the prospect of MPJ stepping right in (improbable) and solidified the Nuggets resolve at signing Barton.
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The bombshell came overnight on July 12th, the Nuggets announced they had traded Kenneth Faried, Darrell Arthur and a protected (12) 2019 first-round pick to the New Jer….er….Brooklyn Nets for guard Isaiah Whitehead, who Denver is expected to waive. The move stripped another $21 million in salary and drew Denver under the salary cap. The pick hurts but the Nuggets control how much. Moving Faried and Arthur allowed Denver to ink second-round pick Jarred Vanderbilt to a 3-year, $4 million dollar deal. It also left a roster spot open, letting Denver execs explore further moves. Monte Morris and Thomas Welsh are expected to be retained on two-way contracts. If nothing else materializes, Morris could open the season on the main roster.
The move, coupled with the Thomas signing catapulted the Nuggets into the news cycle. The team earned high praise for it’s roster. As we wait to see how this season plays out, the mind drifts to how high this Nuggets team can go.
Possibly already the third best team in the West, the Nuggets should provide some fireworks this coming NBA season.
What better way to honor Mr. 432, Doug Moe than to take the team back to their high-scoring, frantic roots.