According to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, the Denver Nuggets will extend a qualifying offer to power forward Trey Lyles, thereby making him a restricted free agent.
The Nuggets are extending a qualifying offer to F Trey Lyles, who'll become a restricted free agent, league sources tell ESPN.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 29, 2019
In the wake of the Nuggets reportedly exercising the team option on Millsap’s $30 million salary in 2019-20, it’s no surprise that the Nuggets are deciding to bring most of the band back together. Now that Denver is way over the salary cap threshold and only $11.9 million below the tax, extending the qualifying offer to Lyles with the intention of bringing him back on a cheap deal makes sense. Denver doesn’t have the flexibility to add a major piece in free agency with that roster spot, so adding a player with potential remains a solid option.
Of course, Lyles didn’t appear to be a player with high potential last season. After the Nuggets spent most of the offseason hyping up Lyles, the power forward from the University of Kentucky averaged 8.5 points and 3.8 rebounds in just 17.5 minutes per game on 41.8% from the field and 25.5% from three-point range.
It was a disappointing year for Lyles in 2018-19, but if the price is right for the Nuggets or Lyles signs his qualifying offer, he could still be a Nugget during the 2019-20 season. With Denver expected to sign Bol Bol to a guaranteed contract and possibly bring over Vlatko Cancar, adding Lyles and Millsap puts the roster at 15 guys. 15 guaranteed contracts if Lyles signs his offer sheet.
If, as Woj pointed out, the Nuggets plan to use their mid-level exception (or traded player exceptions) then they would need roster spots to add a player. At this point, I don’t see any opening up without additional news. The Denver Stiffs will keep you updated with the latest coverage of Nuggets free agency.