League sources: Nuggets made play for Buddy Hield, others in free agency

FIBA Men's Olympic Qualifying Tournament - Valencia
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It’s been well-documented how the Nuggets need to improve their shooting as much as anything this offseason. The team was last in the NBA in three-point attempts last season and they’ve already lost three of their best shooters in Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Reggie Jackson, and Justin Holiday.

Nuggets pursued free agent Buddy Hield

The Nuggets desperately need to add some shooters and clearly, the front office agrees as Michael Scotto of Hoops Hype reported that the team was pursuing veteran sharpshooter Buddy Hield. Hield has made the most three-pointers of anyone in the NBA over the past five years, but he’s now off the market as he agreed to a deal with the Warriors (the deal ended up being a sign-and-trade with the Sixers).

Unfortunately, as has been the crux of all the Nuggets’ issues this summer, the decision by Hield came down to money as Scotto added, “Denver couldn’t come close financially to being a finalist in Hield’s decision”. The most the Nuggets can offer free agents is the taxpayer midlevel exception, which is roughly $5.2 million. Hield’s contract with Golden State will pay him almost double that amount per year over the first two seasons.

Nuggets trying to use taxpayer midlevel exception to add player

It’s great that Denver can offer players a meaningful role on a contender, but at the end of the day, money talks, and the team can’t get close enough financially to compete for top free agents. Scotto did add that the Nuggets have been “dangling” that TPMLE to multiple free agents, but obviously nothing has come of it thus far.

There are still plenty of available free agents, and one would think that eventually, the Nuggets will strike a deal. Now that the moratorium has been lifted (as of Saturday at 12 PM EST), deals can become official and we should start to see some more movement with players left on the market.

Scotto also confirmed some previous reports, stating that Zeke Nnaji is available for trade - which makes sense as he’s really the only movable contract the team has. And he also confirmed that the Nuggets are interested in adding Russell Westbrook and that Nikola Jokic has indeed been pushing for the team to acquire the former MVP.