The Denver Nuggets have agreed to a contract extension with Head Coach Michael Malone. The Nuggets tweeted out an official statement via their team account this morning, and according to Katy Winge of Altitude, owner Josh Kroenke informed the team of the decision following Wednesday’s shootaround.
Josh Kroenke made the announcement today to the team at the end of shootaround. The players/staff applauded, congratulated coach. Details will be kept within the organization. https://t.co/M0Z8x5hVN7— Katy Winge (@katywinge) October 17, 2018
Following Denver’s announcement, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reported—via twitter—that the extension adds two years to his current deal.
Denver coach Michael Malone's contract extension adds two years onto his current deal, which was entering its final season, league sources tell ESPN.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) October 17, 2018
Michael Malone has been at the helm for three full seasons in Denver and has a 119-127 record with the Nuggets. The Nuggets have also improved every season that he has been at the helm, from 33 wins his first season, to 40 wins his second season, to 46 wins last season. And while he is the first coach in Denver Nuggets history to receive a contract extension despite having never brought his team to the playoffs, the Nuggets clearly value the leadership that he brings and trust that he is the guy to get them over the hump.
As recently as this morning, it was widely believed that Denver would allow their head coach to enter the final year of his contract without guarantee of an extension. Despite the improvement, the playoff drought endured. It appeared that Malone’s extension must be earned with an appearance in the postseason. That was not the case.
Considering how bright the future looks now, it’s hard to remember that the Nuggets were stuck in a truly dark place not too long ago. The Brian Shaw era was disastrous. The team had no identity, the locker room appeared fragmented, and there was no blueprint for a path forward. That has all changed under Michael Malone.
While the results of the last two seasons have been disappointing to say the least, Malone and his staff has successfully cultivated a new, healthier basketball culture in Denver. Not only has the blueprint been discovered, the players have bought in.
Through steady improvement and strong relationships with his young players, Malone made the case for his extension. The Nuggets may have waited until the final hour, but Denver’s head coach will enter the 2018-19 campaign with his job secure.