Beat writer Mike Singer opens the Nuggets Mailbag periodically during the offseason. Ask a Nuggets – or NBA – related question here.
Is it time for me to give up my dream of seeing Bol Bol as a regular in the Nuggets’ rotation? What are the chances that he will be back next season and a contributor? Does it have value as a business asset?
– Matt, East Colfax
There is no greater mystery on the Nuggets’ roster than Bol Bol, who signed a two-year contract last season and barely left the bench of Michael Malone. Even though injuries increased at the end of the regular season, Bol played 26 minutes the entire month of April. Reserves Zeke Nnaji and Vlatko Cancar have apparently overtaken him on the depths chart, which doesn’t bode well for consistent minutes next season.
It feels like the Nuggets are on hold with the 21-year-old, not really wanting to trust him on the pitch and yet unwilling to cut the bait. Would it have been included in the deal with Aaron Gordon if Orlando was interested? How does Tim Connelly convince a team to trade for him when he hasn’t engendered enough goodwill to play in Denver?
Maybe the introduction of the Grand Rapids Gold gives Bol a new lifeline with the organization, but it’s hard to see where they would allocate spinning minutes for him. Backup five? Backup three? It also goes to the heart of the matter. What position does he play in?
Do you think the Nuggets are taking a page from the Suns’ book and looking for a traditional PG to pair with Jamal Murray? Or do you think they’ll be heading well into the playoffs with a Murray / Will Barton or Murray / PJ Dozier backcourt and could a Monte Morris / Murray starting pair be something to study?
– @ DavidSt24 via Twitter
I think the Nuggets more than trust Monte Morris to be their starting point guard next season. It was a luxury to watch him leave the bench as a true first-floor general. The project can dictate some of the direction. Due to Murray’s injury, they almost have to look for help in the backcourt. While they can bring Austin Rivers back, for me their most pressing issue is guard shooting. PJ Dozier’s return will help stabilize guard posts, but the draft can be indicative of what’s to come. If the Nuggets go for a big guy at No.26, it could be seen as a sign of confidence that Will Barton will return. If they pick a keeper it could be insurance in case Barton leaves. Rivers and Facu Campazzo’s backcourt (sort of) has survived the last month and more of the season. Would it last a whole season? I am skeptical.
Should the Nuggets use Will Barton and someone else in a trade to bring in a young talent to supplement or replace what they are losing due to Jamal Murray’s injury?
– @OscarGambler via Twitter
Will Barton has a $ 14.6 million player option he needs to vote on by July 17. I recently heard several people discuss a possible extension. It doesn’t mean it will happen, just that it’s a consideration. Whether that happens depends on what kind of offer Barton might get from another team and how much the Nuggets are willing to pay him. I’m not going to speculate on what a deal might look like. But to answer the question, there is a lot of goodwill between the Nuggets and Barton. Malone and Connelly are both big fans of what Barton can do when he’s healthy. The Nuggets will be sorely missed next season for one-on-one playmakers, and Barton is set to start for a team with high expectations. I find it hard to see them trade that kind of ability.
Will Barton resume his player option for next season? Is it possible that he declines his player option but still returns to Denver? What does his recent change of agent mean for the situation? If Barton isn’t on the roster, who should the Nugs target for 2nd guard? Should we start Monte Morris and Jamal Murray?
– Jonathan, golden
See above. If I had to bet I think Barton will be back.
Is there any chance the Nuggets will trade Facundo Campazzo next season?
– Agustin Besteiro, Olivos, Argentina
Remember when the Nuggets were burned out for carrying too many guards to start last season and then nearly all of them got injured? At various times, Murray, Morris, Dozier and Barton were all injured. Campazzo was the only goalkeeper who remained healthy all season and gradually improved throughout the season. Considering his deep connections to the organization, the chemistry he established with Nikola Jokic, and how he proved to be able to keep them afloat in April and May, I don’t think he go nowhere.
Should the Nuggets accompany Zeke Nnaji, JaMychal Green and Vlatko Cancar in their 3-5 bench rotation? And would that allow more flexibility to call in a guard / wing rotation player? Mainly to help until Murray returns?
– Mateja (translated by Matt), Kragujevac, Serbia
First, they need to make sure JaMychal Green is back to make this plan work (which I like, by the way). His player option deadline is July 26. Like Barton, I wouldn’t rule out an overtime for Green. What’s great about the Green / Nnaji duo is that the two players aren’t relegated to four. Green can play small-ball five (which many teams use in their second unit), and Nnaji can play three. This leaves Cancar with no defined role, but still gives Malone some flexibility in the Second Unit. The main question is whether the Nuggets are content with no real save center. Isaiah Hartenstein’s experiment didn’t work, and neither did JaVale McGee’s experiment (who, in fairness to McGee, never really got a chance to work). The Nuggets like flexibility of position. The other guy to keep in mind here is Dozier, who also played a power forward last season.
A word on JaVale McGee? Will the Nuggets try to keep him?
– Rea, Zagreb
The Nuggets can try anything they want, but McGee is a free agent. He was traded to Denver, apparently, to aid the Second Unit. Instead, he grabbed a handful of DNP’s and wasn’t a factor in the playoffs. I would have some serious questions if I was McGee and the Nuggets wanted to hold me back. (By the way, see you in Zagreb in a few months!)