The Nuggets already made their most significant transaction of the summer when they reportedly signed Paul Millsap to a three-year $90 million contract, but looking at their depth at the point guard and power forward positions, it’s likely that Denver isn’t done tinkering with their roster.
A move that would shed Kenneth Faried‘s contract or clear up the logjam at backup point guard with Jameer Nelson and Emmanuel Mudiay could be on the horizon and Denver could still use another wing, preferably in the 3-and-D mold to replace Danilo Gallinari and round out their rotation. However, how much cap space the Nuggets wind up with when everything is said and done is anyone’s guess.
Here are five budget free agents to keep an eye on with most of the top names on the market already signed:
Thabo Sefolosha – Wing – Unrestricted
2016-17 averages: 25.7 minutes, 7.2 pts (44.1 FG%, 34.2 3P%), 4.4 rebs, 1.7 asts, 1.5 stls
Sefolosha won’t be back in Atlanta with new general manager Travis Schlenk purging the Hawks roster of most of its veteran talent so the 6-foot-7 wing will be available. Enter Denver, who might look at a player like Sefolosha as a versatile wing who can play multiple positions and lock down an opponent’s best scorer.
Sefolosha isn’t as quick as he was when he was starting alongside Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant from 2010-14 but he’s still an incredibly smart defender who knows how to play the game the right way. Here’s Sefolosha holding Kawhi Leonard to 3-12 shooting in an 114-112 Hawks win from January:
Luc Mbah a Moute – Wing, Unrestricted
2016-17 averages: 22.3 mins, 6.1 pts (50.5 FG%, 39.1 3P%), 2.1 rebs, 0.5 asts, 1.0 stls
The 6-foot-8 forward who can swing between both the three and the four is one of the best defenders left on the free agent market and he’d be a solid addition to Denver’s wing rotation. With the sign-and-trade that brought Danilo Gallinari to Los Angeles from Denver, the Clippers’ cap space is pretty much maxed out and the prospects of Doc Rivers bringing back Mbah a Moute looks slim.
Mbah a Moute could pair with Wilson Chandler to form an above-average defensive duo that can interchange on the wing and he improved enough from three last year to not be a spacing-killer on the offensive end of the floor.
C.J. Miles – Wing – Unrestricted
2016-17 averages: 23.4 mins, 10.7 pts (43.4 FG%, 41.3 3P%), 3.0 rebs, 0.6 asts, 0.6 stls
Miles isn’t exactly the two-way small forward that would make a defensive impact on the wing for Denver but he’s a sniper from three who’s been a consistent bench option for Indiana over the last three seasons. The 6-foot-6 wing will command the biggest offer out of these five free agents and for good reason.
He’s hit on at least 37 percent of his threes in four of his past five years and has yet to show any signs of slowing down. At 30-years-old Miles is worth a contract on a short-term deal and would be a nice addition to Denver’s bench unit.
Hollis Thompson – Wing – Unrestricted
2016-17 averages (31 games with 76ers): 18.1 mins, 5.5 points (41.5 FG%, 36.6 3P%, 2.7 rebs, 0.8 asts, 0.5 stls
A bargain bin three-and-D wing like Thompson is someone Denver should think about for a camp invite come September. Thompson in the youngest free agent on this list at 26-years-old and doesn’t have an incredibly high ceiling but in the right situation he could take on a larger role than the one he had with Philadelphia and then for the Pelicans over nine games throughout February and March last season.
Thompson can spread the floor and give you stout defense. He won’t be a starter for Denver or probably even garner upwards of 15 minutes per game, but he would fit a role as a backup behind Wilson Chandler and Will Barton and could be called upon if injuries sideline one of Denver’s wings.
Brad Wanamaker – Guard – Unrestricted
2016-17 averages (66 games with Darüşşafaka – Turkish League): 31.4 mins, 15.9 pts (46.8 FG%, 39.9 3P%), 2.7 rebs, 4.7 asts, 1.2 stls
The Nuggets have reported interest in Wanamaker who’s played abroad since the 6-foot-4 guard went undrafted in 2011, but Denver would seemingly have to consolidate their backcourt and at the point guard position where Jamal Murray, Jameer Nelson, and Emmanuel Mudiay are all under contract along with second-round pick Monte Morris. Wanamaker is a heady guard with a gorgeous jumper and is regarded as one of the better point guards in all of Europe.
Wanamaker’s coming off an All-Euro Second Team selection and seems destined for the NBA. The Nuggets, if they clear out some of their point guard depth, could be a logical landing spot for the 27-year-old who played his college ball at the University of Pittsburgh. Wanamaker would be a potential camp invite.