Welcome, Mason Plumlee! The newest member of the Denver Nuggets!

Trades are always tough. Seeing talented players and assets depart is always a difficult part, but the part that makes it rewarding is the return. Mason Plumlee is a great player. He’s going to help the Nuggets a lot on the floor. Jusuf Nurkic possessed a different set of skills and a different type of ceiling, but Plumlee is great for what the Nuggets need for the next couple of years at least.

There’s a lot about the former Blazers center that Nuggets fans should know. Plumlee is a skilled center on the basketball court, but he’s also an accomplished rapper and person off the court. Teammates love him. The Los Angeles Clippers hate him. He rains dolla bills. Here are the five most important things to know about Mason Plumlee.

Mason Plumlee is a really good basketball player

This past offseason, I ranked each starter in the NBA by position. Plums clocked in at a robust 15th in the NBA among centers. If I had to re-rank everyone, he would check in at around the same spot. Plumlee is elite around the rim, shooting 66 percent from 0-3 feet. That would rank third on the Nuggets behind Nikola Jokic and Wilson Chandler. Over 20 percent of Plumlee’s shots are dunks too, and he can really get airborne.

Plumlee is also one of the best passing big men in the league. Like Denver’s own Nikola Jokic, Plumlee makes a living off of throwing dimes to his teammates. He averaged 4.0 assists per game in Portland, and he’s one of only five centers in the NBA to average as many in a game. He doesn’t get the fanfare that players like Jokic, Marc Gasol, Al Horford, and DeMarcus Cousins get for throwing darts, but he’s pretty good at it.

Teammates absolutely love him

After hearing about the news, many members of the Portland Trail Blazers were in utter disbelief, overcome by emotion that Plumlee was leaving. He is cited as one of the best teammates, and Damian Lillard had this to say about the trade (from Oregon Live):

"Mase was one of our guys; like a brother to me. I have a great bond with Mase, on and off the floor. It's sucked to see him go … and we're definitely going to miss him. I was very surprised. I figured if it was going to happen with anybody, it wouldn't be Mase, just because he meant that much to our team and did so many things for our team on the floor." – Damian Lillard after the Mason Plumlee trade

From afar, it appears that Plumlee had a true impact on his teammates with his style of play, work ethic, and selflessness on and off the court. The Nuggets will be picking up a gem here, somebody who will quietly go about making this Nuggets team even better.

Plumlee is a restricted free agent after the season

One of the reasons the Trail Blazers made this deal is because of their salary cap situation. Plumlee is in the final year of his contract, so the bill to pay him in the coming years will be higher than the Blazers will be able to afford. They have $137 million on the books for next season. For reference, the salary cap is estimated at $103 million.

The Blazers loss is the Nuggets gain though, as the Nuggets have the ammunition to pay Plumlee at this point. Denver Stiffs’ own Daniel Lewis detailed what a contract extension would look like for Denver.

The contract is estimated at 3 years, $50 million with standard raises each year, and even with that number, Denver isn’t really hurt. Due to the large number of rookie scale deals, the Nuggets have the ability to pay Plumlee with few short term implications.

If you doubted his passing earlier, here’s a nine minute highlight video on it

For real, he has a great head on his shoulders to be able to make the passes he does. It’s not quite Jokic, but off the bench, all the Nuggets need is someone who will operate as the fulcrum. Plumlee is great for that, passing out of the pick and roll and at the top of the key. Bench players are going to really benefit from Plumlee dimes. Jamal Murray, Will Barton, Wilson Chandler, Darrell Arthur, and Juancho Hernangomez are all willing catch-and-shoot guys. With Plumlee setting them up, it’s going to be raining jumpers.

His alter ego is ‘Plumdog Millionaire’

Speaking of making it rain, here’s Plumlee making it rain in a rap video. Just watch. This is gold.

The Nuggets are getting a great player and great person in Mason Plumlee. He’s a tireless worker who’s put in major effort to be the player he is. He was about to go watch film of the most recent practice, when Blazers general manager Neil Olshey informed him he was being moved. Plumlee is a willing worker who will cede the spotlight to others in order to get victories, and it’s likely that the Nuggets will get more victories with Plumlee in town.

Here’s to a great rest of the season with the newest Nugget!