The Nuggets have their starting point guard (Jamal Murray), shooting guard (Gary Harris), small forward (Will Barton) and center (Nikola Jokic) locked up a combined 11 more seasons.
The big question comes at power forward.
Paul Millsap will be an unrestricted free agent this offseason. Michael Porter Jr. has shown promise. And Jerami Grant holds a $9,346,153 player option for next season.
Jerami Grant on “Posted Up with Chris Haynes,” via Quenton S. Albertie of Nugg Love:
I’m definitely not leaning towards picking up the player option.
Grant appeared bound for a raise. He’s a good finisher who active seeks opportunities at the basket and has improved his 3-point shooting. His versatile defense is valuable in any system. And he has the track record of hard work that should make teams comfortable investing in the 26-year-old.
But the NBA’s coronavirus-caused revenue decline presents a major variable. We’ll have to see where the salary cap lands. If the wrong teams have space, Grant could be stuck with just the mid-level exception, which – depending on the cap – could be less than $9,346,153.
In any cap environment, Denver has optionality. Millsap is still solid, though at 35, it’s unclear how many more good years he has left. Porter is exciting, though he’s still raw, and health remains a concern. Another impending unrestricted free agent, Mason Plumlee plays in plenty of two-center lineups with Jokic.
The Nuggets – who just traded a first-rounder for him – surely want to keep Grant. But they have other options, which gives them leverage.
Grant’s leverage comes with declining his player option and exploring unrestricted free agency. He’s setting that stage now.