Former Denver Nuggets guard signs with division rival

Portland Trail Blazers v Denver Nuggets
Portland Trail Blazers v Denver Nuggets / Justin Tafoya/GettyImages

Denver Nuggets fans have not had it easy this offseason. As teams across the league have continued to pick up free agents that could fill various needs for Denver, the 2023 NBA champions have not done much outside of losing Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and trading Reggie Jackson to save money.

One of the latest free agents to get scooped up is actually a former Nugget: P.J. Dozier.

Dozier signed with the Minnesota Timberwolves, the division rivals who eliminated Denver in the playoffs. Coming off of his first season in the EuroLeague, Dozier joined the Wolves on a one-year deal, per Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN

The 6-foot-6 combo guard played in the Mile High City for three seasons from 2019 to 2022. Dozier’s tenure with the Nuggets ended when he tore his ACL in late 2021 and could not stay on an NBA team in his post-injury comeback.

During his time in Europe, Dozier became a much more versatile player. He took leaps as a passer, particularly in pick-and-roll situations. With the Nuggets in desperate need of some depth at the point guard position, they could have used an addition like Dozier. His familiarity with Michael Malone’s coaching style and many of the core players on the roster could have also made Dozier a seamless fit.

Dozier’s recent overseas campaign happened with KK Partizan Belgrade in Serbia, Nikola Jokic’s home country. He averaged 9.2 points in just 20.5 minutes per game while shooting 48.6% from the field. While Dozier does not have the strongest 3-point jumper, he makes up for it with his defensive versatility and IQ.

Diehard fans remember the tenacious defense Dozier brought to overachieving Nuggets teams that suffered from countless injuries.

During his last NBA stint with the Sacramento Kings in early 2023, Dozier talked about the level of defensive impact he can bring on a nightly basis.

"Being versatile. Being able to guard the guards, guard bigger wings, and if I have to go battle down in the post I’ll do that as well. Just having a big guard with length and physicality."

P.J. Dozier

The Denver Nuggets' front office still has a lot of work to do

The Nuggets only have 12 roster spots filled right now, and their only signing of the offseason so far came when they brought back veteran big man DeAndre Jordan. Denver still needs to compensate for the losses of their starting shooting guard and backup point guard. Dozier would have at least helped them with depth at the guard position.

While the free agent market grows thinner, Nuggets general manager Calvin Booth may still have some tricks up his sleeve. Many reports have linked Russell Westbrook to Denver as a potential trade acquisition for the Nuggets.

The residents of Mile High City are begging for their basketball team to make a move, and only time will tell when this inevitable move takes place.