The Denver Nuggets were eliminated by the Golden State Warriors Thursday night and now look ahead to the 2013-2014 season. The Nuggets had a successful regular season, putting together a 57-25 record and locking up the third seed in a highly competitive Western Conference.
Still, a first-round exit is a first-round disappointment for a team with high expectations. The Nuggets face a summer where they won't have many options to add to their roster. If Andre Iguodala doesn't opt out of the final year of his contract ($15.9 million), the Nuggets are already on the books for $72 million. Iguodala is expected to opt-out, though. His future with the franchise will be the biggest decision made by the Nuggets' front office this summer.
At 29 years old, Iguodala will likely look for one final long-term contract with a similar payout to the $15 million guaranteed he will be leaving on the table. Denver will have to decide whether to bring Iguodala back long-term or allow him to walk as a free agent. Ultimately, the decision is in Iguodala's court, so Denver can only wait to negotiate with their big trade acquisition from the 2012 summer. Iguodala averaged 13 points on 43.1 percent shooting, 5.3 rebounds, 5.4 assists and 1.7 steals per game in his first season with the Nuggets.
The Nuggets will also have to decide on their future with swingman Corey Brewer. Brewer's $3.2 million will come off the books. In April, Matt Moore of CBS Sports sat down with Brewer to discuss his time in Denver, and Brewer stated his desire to stay with the Nuggets:
"It's going to be a tough decision," he said. "Hopefully, I can stay here. If I have to go somewhere else, hopefully, it'll be a similar system. A fast-paced system."
The Nuggets don't have much cap space to work with this summer, especially if they re-sign Iguodala, so Brewer's status will likely be in the air until that is figure out. Brewer played 25 minutes per game through the playoffs for Denver and averaged 12.6 points per game. He shot only 33 percent from the field and 29 percent from beyond the arc, however. At Brewer's estimated price, the Nuggets may also have a handful of other options to consider in free agency.
Another small contract coming off the books for Denver will be Timofey Mozgov. Mozgov played in 41 games for Denver, but fell out of the rotation as the season progressed. Once a centerpiece in the deal that sent Carmelo Anthony to the New York Knicks, Mozgov has lost his spot in the rotation to JaVale McGee, Kenneth Faried and Kosta Koufos.
One other key piece from the Anthony trade will also be a focus for Denver this summer. Danilo Gallinari tore his ACL on April 4. He has not had surgery to repair his ACL injury yet as he rehabs from surgery to repair meniscus damage to the same knee.
The majority of the Nuggets' core will remain intact next season. Denver shocked the NBA when they helped orchestrate a trade that landed them Iguodala while also sending Dwight Howard to the Los Angeles Lakers, and Nuggets General Manager Masai Ujiri will have another summer to adjust his roster. Will he tinker with the pieces again and make a big trade?
Even with 57 wins and the third seed, the Nuggets have plenty of work to do this summer. The most important decision will involved Iguodala's future with the franchise. The core of the team with Ty Lawson, Faried, McGee and Gallinari are all on the books next season.
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