The Denver Nuggets sit a prospect.
“According to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, the Denver Nuggets have signed forward/center Zeke Najee to a contract extension.
The deal is for four years and $32 million with a player option for the final year. His contract expires at the end of the upcoming 2023-2024 season. The extension will be effective for the 2024-2025 season.
Najee entered the NBA via the 2020 draft. He was selected by Denver with the 22nd pick of the first round. He struggled in his first season. Last season, he established himself as a viable backup center. Played more minutes (averaging 17) than he did in his first season (averaging 9.5).도메인
Played slightly fewer minutes last season due to the presence of Jeff Green (Houston) than he did in his sophomore year, but showed some improvement. Playing in 53 games, his most since entering the NBA, he averaged 5.2 points (.561 .262 .645) and 2.6 rebounds in 13.7 minutes per game. His overall performance in 36 minutes was on par with his previous season.
His role will be even more important next season. This is because Denver failed to retain its power forward this summer. Najee’s minutes are likely to increase. To top it all off, Blatko Chanchar, who was supposed to fill Green’s shoes, went down early with an injury. With Chanchar out of the lineup, it’s a red flag for the big men. It looks like they got him for the long haul.
At the very least, he’ll get the same amount of minutes as he did in the 2020-2021 season. Denver also decided to hold on to Jokic because they don’t have anyone else to step in behind him. With Jokic and Aaron Gordon behind him, the Nuggets should be able to overachieve. However, it’s unclear how much he’ll be able to contribute as a true second unit.
This is a contract that doesn’t come with a lot of upside for Najee. However, the Nuggets have no other options for a center and he’s still young, in his early 20s, so they decided to hold onto him. With a key member of the powerhouse tied up in a long-term deal, it’s important for Denver to find a complementary player. That’s why they locked up Najee to a multi-year deal.