NUGGETS

Report: Nuggets are going after a two-time All-Star in free agency

Jun 29, 2022, 10:20 AM

Victor Oladipo...

Photo by Atilgan Ozdil/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

The Denver Nuggets made a big splash on Wednesday, shipping out Monte Morris and Will Barton for Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Ish Smith.

But Denver’s big offseason is just getting started, with free agency kicking off on Thursday. If you already miss Barton, the good news is a better version of his playing style could be a Nugget next season. Bleacher Report is reporting that the Nuggets are linked to two-time NBA All-Star Victor Oladipo.

Oladipo, also a Maryland native-like Barton, was last an All-Star in 2018-19, and since, his career has been derailed by injury. In the previous four seasons, he’s only played 96 regular-season games and has only started 50 in the past three seasons. Still, the former All-NBA and All-Defensive Team player was valuable for the Miami Heat this spring.

In 15 playoff games as a reserve, who often closed, Oladipo scored 10.6 points, grabbed 3.4 rebounds, and helped with 2.1 assists per game. However, he only shot 37% overall and 27% from deep. He’s a career 44% shooter, 35% from three, so it was a tough shooting stretch, and he still was a solid contributor.

At 6-foot-4, 213, Oladipo can play the point or off-ball and offer the Nuggets even more defense with a steady veteran hand on offense that was once a lead player. At 30 years old, if Oladipo has more in the tank which is possible, given he had just come back from yet another injury before joining the Heat’s playoff run, the Nuggets could be capturing lightning in a bottle with the former second overall pick.

Oladipo likely slides into the Nuggets’ Mid-Level Exception, which would see him get paid about $6.5 million per season. If Denver can move Jeff Green, they’ll be able to offer Oladipo about $10 million per season.

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