5 Denver Nuggets who definitely won't be back next season

After faling short in their title defense, the Nuggets are looking in the mirror will be forced to answer some difficult questions this offseason
May 6, 2024; Denver, Colorado, USA; Denver Nuggets forward Michael Porter Jr. (1)
May 6, 2024; Denver, Colorado, USA; Denver Nuggets forward Michael Porter Jr. (1) / Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports
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1. The Nuggets aren’t going to be able to keep their core together while paying Michael Porter Jr.

MPJ had a solid season and was arguably the team’s second-best player in the first-round series win over the Lakers. He had a solid season overall and he was dealing with some horrible distractions in the playoffs. Porter Jr. is still just 25 and has shown the ability to be one of the best knockdown shooters in the league at 6’10”.

But Porter Jr. has proven to be far too one-dimensional, and when the shots aren’t falling, he can become invisible. That’s simply unacceptable for a player making almost $36 million next season. They’re going to have to pay Murray and Gordon soon and that’s going to make MPJ the odd man out. He’s young and good enough that he will still have trade value, and the team needs to capitalize before that changes.

Porter Jr. is the only real trade chip the Nuggets have that can help them improve the roster. His contract is big enough that they can either target a star player or bolster their depth by adding multiple role players. If the team keeps Porter, that would mean a huge gamble on the young and unproven Nuggets players making a huge leap, or the team striking gold in the draft or on a minimum free agency signing.

But those aren’t risks the team can afford to take. They need to make this team better and that means swapping out MPJ for players who fit better around Jokic, Murray, and Gordon. MPJ has been a great Nugget, but he can’t create offense for himself or others and he’s not a good defender. A team contending for the title can’t be paying as much as the Nuggets are for Mike. It’s a tough pill to swallow, but this is the big move that Calvin Booth and the Nuggets are going to have to make this offseason to retool and keep contending for championships.