January 29, 2023

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Kentavious Caldwell-Pope has agreed to a two-year, $30 million contract extension with the Denver Nuggets, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. The total represents the highest amount Caldwell-Pope could have received thanks to the NBA’s extend-and-trade rules. Caldwell-Pope was acquired in an offseason trade with the Washington Wizards in which Denver sent back key players Monte Morris and Will Barton.

The goal of that trade was to secure a 3-and-D shooting guard to complete their vaunted starting five. In the small sample we’d seen of it, Denver’s starting foursome of Nikola Jokic, Jamal Murray, Michael Porter Jr. and Aaron Gordon dominated together. Murray’s 2021 torn ACL took them out of the championship hunt over the past two seasons, but with Caldwell-Pope as the final piece of their starting lineup, they have more defense and shooting than ever. 

With Caldwell-Pope now locked in, all five Denver starters are under contract for at least three seasons. That includes Jokic, the two-time reigning MVP who re-signed on a super max deal earlier in the offseason. The Nuggets are committed to keeping this group together through his age-29 season and trying to win the first championship in team history.

Whether they can win in a loaded Western Conference remains to be seen, but this is perhaps the most talented roster the Nuggets have ever assembled. Perhaps more importantly, it is the most expensive team Denver has ever fielded. After years of ducking the tax, the Nuggets are going all-in on contention. They’ll pay a hefty price for it, but the Nuggets should be right in the thick of the championship race for the foreseeable future.

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