NUGGETS

Denver Nuggets re-sign versatile backup forward

Jul 6, 2024, 9:17 PM | Updated: 9:20 pm

Vlatko Cancar will be back for year six in Denver, re-signing with the Nuggets on Saturday, according to HoopsHype.

Last Sunday the Nuggets declined their option for the 2024-25 season on bench forward Vlatko Cancar, but days later they bring him back. Thanks to a unique quirk in the rules, Cancar was actually set to make less than the league minimum on the option to conclude his contract term that he signed years ago. With the declined option and a new deal signed, Denver will pay Cancar more money based on service while also actually facing a smaller dollar amount against the salary cap and tax. Thus it benefited both sides to draw up a new deal.

Cancar could have technically left the Nuggets in free agency but becomes one of about a dozen players in the league they were unrestricted free agents but it was understood around the NBA that they would stay with their old team on a new deal.

Cancar may not be an eye-popping player to most, and he is coming off an ACL tear but he’s a do-it-all connecter that has proven to play well in Denver in the role he’s re-signing to play in again. And he can step into a bigger gig, as he’s doing alongside Luka Doncic for Slovenia right now, the fought internationally as they worked to get their squad through the Olympic qualification tournament in Piraeus, Greece. Cancar was getting his first game action in that competition since tearing his ACL in an international exhibition game last summer. The team fell just short, losing in the finale to Greece.

The 27-year-old was a contributor to the champion Nuggets, playing in 60 games, scoring five points a game on 37% shooting from deep with a few big-time dunks while adding an ability to connect many plays together. The Nuggets clearly missed the 6-8 player in their repeat bid. While he’s primarily played power forward, he’s played the two, three and five in the NBA too. In 2023-24, Cancar would’ve likely been the backup power forward and taken Jeff Green’s role from the year before. Without Cancar, Denver got a nice year from rookie Peyton Watson, but the team shortened their bench earlier into the season, which may have contributed to just how tired the team was in the playoffs.

Cancar is a very nice addition to the Nuggets roster and he’s a player Michael Malone and Nikola Jokic trust. The forward’s recovery over the rest of this offseason is now key for the Nuggets, who will view him as a ninth man.

After adding backup center Dario Saric earlier on Saturday, the Nuggets now just have one roster spot left to fill out their lineup. They’ll likely target a guard and are said to be interested in using that spot on Russell Westbrook.

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