Nuggets’ GM Calvin Boothe believes Christian Braun can start if Kentavious Caldwell-Pope doesn’t return

Christian Braun and KCP pic
Christian Braun and KCP pic

Following a championship in 2023, the Denver Nuggets finished second in the Western Conference in 2023-24. They finished 57-25 and played the Lakers in the opening round of the 2024 playoffs. Denver won that series 4-1 vs. Los Angeles and had a matchup vs. Minnesota in the second round. 

The series went seven games and the Nuggets ended up losing. This offseason, one of their starters from the last two seasons could be leaving the team. General Manager Calvin Boothe noted that the team is prepared if Kentavious Caldwell-Pope leaves in free agency this offseason. Booth said the team would then use Christian Bruan as their starting SG in 2024-25.

Denver has a plan if Kentavious Caldwell-Pope doesn’t return

After four seasons with the Lakers from 2018-2021, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope played 2021-22 with the Washington Wizards. Following that year, he signed a two-year, $30 million contract with the De ver Nuggets. However, his 2024-25 season is a $15.4 million player option. Does KCP want to be paid this offseason or is he more worried about staying with one of the top contenders in the West? For his 11-year NBA career, Caldwell-Pope has made $103 million in career earnings.

If KCP does leave and signs elsewhere, the Nuggets feel confident in a player who’s come off the bench the last two seasons. Denver selected Christian Braun 21st overall in the 2022 NBA Draft. As a rookie, Braun played in 76 games for the Nuggets and made six starts during the regular season. After winning a championship with Kanasa in his final collegiate season, Braun stayed hot and won an NBA championship with Denver. Last season, head coach Michael Malone expanded Braun’s role. He played in all 82 games for the Nuggets and made four starts.

In his second season with Denver, Braun averaged (7.3) points, (3.7) rebounds, and (1.6) assists per game. Additionally, he improved his three-point percentage to (.384) last season. With the steps he took forward in year two, the Nuggets are confident about Braun stepping into the starting lineup if needed. Ideally, the team would like to see KCP return. He’s been a valuable piece of their starting lineup for the last two seasons. Caldwell-Pope won a championship with the Lakers in 2020 and then with the Nuggets in 2023. Denver wants to keep his championship DNA part of their roster in 2024-25, We’ll have to see what GM Calvin Boothe can get done this offseason.

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