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The Nuggets showed that they were the best team in the league in winning the NBA Finals, and the bad news for the rest of the league is that this team isn’t going anywhere. 

Nikola Jokic is only 28 years old. Jamal Murray is 26. And the Nuggets are going to be running most of their supporting cast back. 

This Nuggets team has been built to be a championship contender for a number of years. Here’s what their outlook is from a roster-building standpoint. 

Denver Nuggets free agents

The Nuggets should be in title contention for at least the next two seasons. Of their eight-man playoff rotation, only Bruce Brown, who has a $6.8 million player option that he will likely decline, and Jeff Green are free agents next season.

Most of their core, including their entire starting five, is locked up for multiple seasons. 

Player Years remaining on contract
Nikola Jokic 5 (player option in year 5)
Jamal Murray 2
Aaron Gordon 3 (player option in year 3)
Michael Porter Jr. 4
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope 2 (player option in year 2)
Christian Braun 3
Bruce Brown 1 (player option)
Jeff Green 0

The Nuggets could bring back Brown, but it will be challenging. Because they only have non-bird rights on him, the maximum that they could offer him is around $7.8 million in his first year. He will assuredly get higher offers in free agency, so he would have to agree to take a significant discount to stay. 

Green’s salary demands will be much lower. He is coming off a 2-year/ $9 million contract, and the Nuggets will likely be able to bring him back around that price using his Early Bird rights as long as they are willing to go deeper into the tax. 

How long can Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray stay together? 

Jokic is sticking around for a while. His contract extends through the 2027-28 season. 

Jamal Murray’s eventual free agency is the only big hurdle that the Nuggets face from a roster standpoint. But Murray isn’t set to become a free agent until the summer of 2025.

The new collective bargaining agreement makes it very difficult to have three max players, which they would likely have with Jokic, Murray, and Porter. Two years from now, they may have to look into moving either Murray or Porter. 

Murray and the Nuggets should be able to work out a long-term deal down the line — they can offer him the most money when he does enter free agency, and he also has a great chance at sustained winning there. 

How the Nuggets can improve their roster

It’s a good thing that most of the Nuggets’ key players are returning because they don’t have a lot of money available to upgrade the team in free agency. They are projected to be a luxury tax team with zero cap space. 

That means that they will only have the taxpayer mid-level exception of around $7 million to add free agents, along with a $9.1 million trade exception set to expire in July, some other smaller exceptions, and minimum salaries. 

The Nuggets can also add some cheap contracts through the draft. They don’t have a first round pick in 2023, but they do have two very good second rounders, at nos. 37 and 40.

That no. 37 pick was acquired via trade on Friday as a part of the team’s attempts to bolster its immediate future. The Nuggets shipped a future 2029 first round pick to the Thunder for a first round pick in 2024 and second round picks in 2023 and 2024, per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. Those second rounders should give them another pipeline to add cheap talent in the coming years. 

The Nuggets also have four first round picks through 2029, although none of them are available to trade until after their selections are made on draft night.

The Nuggets should enter next season as the favorite to win the championship again. They will have most of their team back, the best player on the planet, and championship experience. They have young players on their roster like Michael Porter Jr., Christian Braun, Peyton Watson, and Zeke Nnaji who should continue to improve with age. Things are looking very rosy for their future.



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