Nuggets Urged to Part Ways With $207 Million Champion

Michael Porter Jr.

Getty Michael Porter Jr.

The Denver Nuggets’ season ended with plenty of questions surrounding what they should do next. To get back to the top, they may have to move some parts around. One way they can do that is by trading Michael Porter.

The Denver Gazette’s Mark Kizla explained why the Nuggets should consider trading Porter after their season ended with a loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves in the Western Conference semifinals.

“A far bigger change is demanded to return this team to legit championship contention in a Western Conference that will only be tougher next season,” Kizla wrote in a May 20 story. “The Nuggets need to reconfigure the roster by trading Porter, who disappeared when the team needed him most against Minnesota, missing nine of a dozen shots in Game 7 and finishing with 9 points.”

Kizla then explained how Denver’s lack of depth ultimately killed their season.

“This Denver roster was simply too thin to stand up and defend its title,” he wrote. “During the postseason, Jokic looked tired, once musing that maybe it would be nice if he could clone himself. [Jamal] Murray was battered, with injury too often leaving him a shell of Playoff Jamal.”

Porter will enter the third year of a five-year, $207 million contract. His expensive deal could be moved for better rotation pieces.

Michael Porter Jr. Acknowledged That Family Troubles Distracted Him

Porter’s family has been through a lot over the past several months. His brother Jontay, who played for the Toronto Raptors, was banned for life by the NBA in April for betting on games. His other brother, Corban, pleaded guilty to vehicular homicide in April.

While talking with Kizla, Porter acknowledged that his family’s issues had affected him.

“I’m not going to sit here and act like it wasn’t a burden, and I wasn’t thinking about it all day, every day,” Porter said. “But that’s still no excuse. I’m a better player than I played in this series. I’m a better shooter than I shot in this series. In the NBA, you have to be able to separate your off-the-court matters with your on-the-court-play.”

In 12 playoff games, he averaged 15.8 points while shooting 46.6% from the field and 40.7% from three. Those numbers aren’t that bad, knowing his role on the Nuggets. However, Porter did not fare too well when the Nuggets played the Timberwolves in Game 7.

He scored 7 points on 3-of-12 shooting from the field. The Nuggets lost by 8 points, meaning that had Porter reached his season average in scoring, they could very well have been in the Western Conference Finals.

Michael Porter Jr. Apologizes for Poor Game 7 Performance

While talking with reporters, Porter acknowledged that he had a “terrible series,” per The Denver Post’s Bennett Durando. Furthermore, he added that he took some accountability for his performance.

“I told my teammates sorry. I feel like this is on me.”

The Nuggets will have to cross some bridges this offseason. They will enter the NBA’s second tax apron and yet have to think about what to do with Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, who will likely be a free agent since he has a player option for the 2024-25 season.

If the goal is to try to build a deep rotation around Jokic, Porter may be the odd man out.

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