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Michael Malone, Denver Nuggets heavily interested in retaining Jerami Grant this offseason

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“I think he’s a big part of our future.”

Utah Jazz v Denver Nuggets Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

There is no denying how important Jerami Grant was to the Denver Nuggets playoff run that ended in a Western Conference Finals loss to the Los Angeles Lakers. Grant played a massive role in helping the Nuggets make their first WCF appearance since 2009 and Denver seems primed to retain his services for the long-term.

Grant has a player option of $9 million this offseason, which is unlikely to get picked up. Not only did Grant elevate his play during his first season in a Nuggets uniform, but he showed just how valuable a two-way player he can be.

The Nuggets seem to realize Grant’s importance to the teams success and it seems as if Grant would like to stay in Denver long-term as well. It was reported by Mike Singer of the Denver Post just the other day that Grant does plan to opt out and that he could command anywhere between $14 million to 16 million in a new deal.

Denver has the money to make that happen and Grant showed he is 100 percent deserving of it with his play in the postseason. Nuggets head coach Michael Malone discussed Grant during his end of the season press conference on Thursday morning and had nothing but positive things to say:

“Obviously, all the free agency will take care of itself, but as I reflect on Jerami’s season with us and more recently that playoff run. The 19 games that we played, Jerami was a tremendous part of us accomplishing what we were able to accomplish,” Malone said. “I often look back and I say it’s kind of funny, we got Jerami Grant from Oklahoma City, he was their starting power forward, who was also their backup five behind Steven Adams and for us most of the year he was our backup power forward and maybe got a few minutes at the small forward, maybe a few minutes as a backup five.”

Denver Nuggets v Los Angeles Lakers - Game Five Photo by Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images

“Well, as we have four and a half months off before the season starts and you look at the landscape of the Western Conference you realize, you’re going to have to go through LA. Whether it’s the Clippers or the Lakers or in our case both to get out of the Western Conference and they have size in their wings, they have Kawhi Leonard, they have Paul George, they have LeBron James and so I knew full well at some point we were going to have to put Jerami in the small forward position to combat that, and I thought he did so very well. Defensively he was amazing in all three series. Offensively he’s playing a position he hasn’t played a lot, but I thought his three-point shooting, his efficiency there was equally as impressive.”

“So, I think he’s a big part of our future and I would love nothing more than to be able to continue to coach Jerami Grant the person as well as Jerami Grant the player, and I think he showed everybody in Nuggets nation just how valuable he is on those 19 playoff games.”

Malone certainly had a ton of great things to say on Grant, but I would say the most important part of that quote is at the end. This tells me the Nuggets have no plans of letting Grant get away and that it would be surprising if he ended up anywhere but Denver next season.

Grant showcased his defensive versatility in the postseason and when you couple that with his offensive production and three-point shooting, retaining his services is a no-brainer for the Nuggets.