Two days after the start of free agency, Denver’s roster is essentially complete.
The Nuggets will sign center Isaiah Hartenstein, a league source told The Denver Post, filling out what had been a thin frontcourt at the start of free agency. Hartenstein spent the last two seasons in Houston. He’s expected to battle with incoming rookie Zeke Nnaji for the backup center role.
When the Nuggets pulled Torrey Craig’s qualifying offer on Sunday, making him an unrestricted free agent, the writing was already on the wall. The Nuggets, believing they were thin in the frontcourt given the loss of Mason Plumlee, were searching for a mobile big man to add, a league source said.
Hartenstein will fill the last roster spot, a source told The Post.
The loss of Craig, who will sign with the Milwaukee Bucks according to ESPN, is a significant one. Nuggets president of basketball operations Tim Connelly needed to decide whether to buttress his team’s perimeter defense after losing Grant or improve the frontcourt depth. He chose the latter even after drafting Nnaji.
Following Friday night’s bombshell news that Jerami Grant was leaving Denver for Detroit, the Nuggets acted quickly. First they added versatile forward JaMychal Green and then moved on retaining veteran forward Paul Millsap on a one-year, $10 million deal. That addressed the loss of Grant, who was slated to be the starting power forward.
If there was one silver-lining of Grant’s decision, it was that he made it just hours into free agency. Had he not, the Nuggets might’ve been hunting for a starting power forward on the bargain basement floor. Instead, they’ll bring back Millsap and add Green, a more physical power forward than Grant ever was.
The Nuggets also intend to convert Bol Bol from a two-way contract to a standard contract. He’ll fill the roster spot previously held by Keita Bates-Diop, who’s expected to be waived, a source told The Denver Post.
The Nuggets will also add forward Greg Whittington as a two-way player, a source told The Denver Post. He and Marquette’s Markus Howard will fill both of Denver’s slots.
Free agent contracts can officially be signed on Sunday, however, Denver’s signings may be announced throughout the week to accommodate for travel and upcoming physicals.