According to Shams Charania of the Athletic, Denver Nuggets third year players Malik Beasley and Juancho Hernangomez are not expected to come to terms on an extension.
Sources: Denver's Malik Beasley and Juancho Hernangomez are not expected to reach agreements by 6 p.m. ET deadline. All sides showed effort in talks, and Nuggets were aggressive in making offers to find deals. Both talented young players are headed for RFA.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) October 21, 2019
The report that the Nuggets were aggressive in their talks should give fans some hope that Denver will still look to retain the services of both Juancho and Malik in the offseason. However, because the sides are unable to come to a deal by today’s deadline, the market will determine how much each player will get paid on their next deal. It appears that Malik and Juancho are betting on themselves to go out and earn more than whatever those “aggressive” offers were.
From the Nuggets side, cap economics made extending their talented young players difficult. The Nuggets had already handed out a five year $170 million deal to Jamal Murray this Summer to go on top of contracts they’ve signed in recent years with Nikola Jokic, Will Barton and Gary Harris. The combination of those four players comes up to a total of $91.4 million in itself. Toss in another $8.5 million for the next youth movement (Monte Morris, Michael Porter Jr., Jarred Vanderbilt & Vlatko Cancar) and with the salary cap projected at around $116 million (and that’s before any impacts from a fallout with China) the Nuggets are going to be cap strapped even with the expiring deals of Paul Millsap and Mason Plumlee.
Perhaps if Malik and Juancho were the only two players the Nuggets had to be concerned about retaining Denver could have afforded to be even more aggressive but that’s not the case. It’s not a foregone conclusion that the Nuggets won’t want to bring back either Millsap or Plumlee for starters, but they also just gave up a first rounder to acquire Jerami Grant who is on an expiring contract as well. One has to believe Denver would not have surrendered such an asset if Grant wasn’t in their long term plans. There’s also Torrey Craig to consider who shouldn’t be terribly expensive but is in all likelihood going to get a raise above his current $2 million salary.
The Nuggets can’t pay all of those guys, they might not even be able to pay most of them. Now that Juancho and Malik become restricted free agents Denver runs the risk of someone putting a high dollar offer in on them partially because they don’t want the Nuggets to be able to match it. There’s not a ton of wings on the market this upcoming Summer like last offseason so both players could get some heavy interest. Add in their young age and coming from a system that has proven player development and its easy to see how another team could get carried away trying to pry one of Denver’s third year players.
The extension deadline saw a flurry of activity with big deals going out to Buddy Hield, Jaylen Brown and Domantas Sabonis. Other smaller but notable deals went out to guys like Dejounte Murray and Taurean Prince. With little information out there as to what Denver was offering (we assume north of the 3 year, $30 million they reportedly offered Malik) it’s hard to say if their negotiations were in line with what the rest of the league was doing. Other big names such as Brandon Ingram and Bogdan Bogdanovic also went without new deals. If nothing else, the Nuggets appear to have kicked the can down the road to the trade deadline. At that point they’ll once again be forced to face the question of whether or not Beasley and Hernangomez are in their long term plans.