As every NBA franchise across the league looks for the latest and greatest practice facility to house their multi-million dollar investments, the Nuggets have lagged behind the league in that department.
In February, the Detroit Pistons released plans for a 100,000 square-foot practice facility, complete with two regulation courts side by side, as the franchise preps for their move back to Detroit. That announcement came on the heels of the Toronto Raptors’ unveiling of their own $38 million compound. Across the league, more and more NBA teams are loading up on pricey pads to serve as their players’ home away from home.
Practice facilities are no longer a “nice to have”. They’re becoming a necessity as teams want to replace their old and outdated buildings with state-of-the-art recourses for their players, coaching staff, and front office, and house it all under one roof.
At Media Day last fall, Nuggets’ president Josh Kroenke addressed Denver’s lack of a “state-of-the-art” facility.
“Yes,” Kroenke said on if conversations about building a practice facility had taken place. “I think state-of-the-art is a very relative term. State-of-the-art is moving faster than state-of-the-art ever has I think. When this building was built and when this practice facility was built in this building it was state-of-the-art. Things have evolved since then and I’ve had a few conversations with a few people to start thinking about something like that for the Nuggets and for the Avalanche as well. With these guys help sitting next to me I think we’re going to be able to do that in the near future and I look forward to providing an update on that when I have the opportunity to.”
In an interview with the Denver Post, primarily about the Colorado Avalanche, Kroenke says a Nuggets’ practice facility is “definitely going to happen.” In fact, the space could serve as a double practice facility that houses both the Nuggets and Avalanche.
Here’s an excerpt from the interview:
Kroenke confirmed that as part of the potential redevelopment in the Elitch’s/Pepsi Center area, the Avalanche probably will end up with a new practice rink. Kroenke said talks are in the early stages, and said consideration is being given to making it a double practice facility for both the Nuggets and Avalanche … or beyond.
“We’re working on the conversations as we speak,” he said. “Eventually, that’s definitely going to happen. I’m excited about the conversations. I’ve had them on the hockey side, I’ve had them on the basketball side. We’ve had conversations with both the lacrosse and the Rapids as well.”
Currently, the Nuggets practice on a full-length court on the second level of Pepsi Center. It’s a fairly standard setup complete with four side baskets, which is an adequate amount, but it’s not a ton of space to operate for 15 NBA players and nearly that many coaches and staff.
The placement for the Avalanche (and possibly Nuggets) facility in the Elitch’s/Pepsi Center area also makes sense. The amusement park, which is located adjacent to Pepsi Center was sold to a local real estate firm backed by Stan Kroenke in 2015.
Announcing plans for a practice facility, actually constructing one, and then opening the doors is usually a year-long and sometimes multi-year ordeal, so an actual building is still likely years out.
But good on the Nuggets for finally entering what’s becoming the new arms race throughout the NBA.