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Denver Nuggets could reportedly lose NBA champions in free agency

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope has had another productive year for the Denver Nuggets.

The former UGA star finished the regular season averaging 10.1 points, 2.4 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 1.3 steals per game while shooting 46.0% from the field and 40, 6% shooting from three-point range in 76 games.

This month, Caldwell-Pope must decide on a $15.4 million player option contract for the 2024-2025 season.

If he declines, he will be a free agent who can sign with any team in the league.

June 12, 2023;  Denver, Colorado, USA;  (Editor's Notes: Caption Correction) Denver Nuggets guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (5) celebrates after winning the 2023 NBA Championship against the Miami Heat at Ball Arena.  Mandatory credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

June 12, 2023; Denver, Colorado, USA; (Editor’s Notes: Caption Correction) Denver Nuggets guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (5) celebrates after winning the 2023 NBA Championship against the Miami Heat at Ball Arena. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports / Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

On Saturday, Michel Scotto of HoopsHype reported information about Caldwell-Pope’s uncertain future.

Via Scotto’s article on HoopsHype: “Heading into free agency, there is also concern that guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope could decline his $15.44 million player option, gain access to unrestricted free agency and receive a potential short-term offer for an annual increase in salary similar to that by Bruce Brown in the previous two years. A $45 million deal with Indiana.”

Evan Sidery noted similar speculation last month.

Via Sidery on May 24: “Kentavious Caldwell-Pope could make around $20 million annually as an unrestricted free agent.

Caldwell-Pope’s championship experience will be coveted by contenders, as well as teams looking to take the next step toward the playoffs.

Keep an eye on the Sixers, Spurs and Magic as potential candidates for KCP.

The Nuggets would like to re-sign Caldwell-Pope, but their tax bill, projected on the second platform, could force them.”

Caldwell-Pope has never been an All-Star, but he has developed into one of the most productive role players in the league.

He was instrumental in Denver winning the 2023 NBA Championship against Jimmy Butler and the Miami Heat.

May 10, 2024;  Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA;  Denver Nuggets guard Christian Braun (0) and Denver Nuggets guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (5) respond to an on-court call against the Minnesota Timberwolves in the first half during game three of the second round of the NBA playoffs from 2024 at Target Center.  Mandatory credit: Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

May 10, 2024; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Denver Nuggets guard Christian Braun (0) and Denver Nuggets guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (5) respond to an on-court call against the Minnesota Timberwolves in the first half during game three of the second round of the NBA playoffs from 2024 at Target Center. Mandatory Credit: Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports / Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

The two-time NBA champion played eleven seasons in the league for the Detroit Pistons, Los Angeles Lakers, Washington Wizards (and Denver Nuggets).

His career averages are 11.4 points, 3.4 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 1.1 steals per game while shooting 42.7% from the field and 36.9% from three-point range.

March 13, 2024;  Miami, Florida, USA;  Denver Nuggets guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (5) steals the ball from Miami Heat forward Duncan Robinson (55) during the first half at Kaseya Center.  Mandatory credit: Jim Rassol-USA TODAY Sports

March 13, 2024; Miami, Florida, USA; Denver Nuggets guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (5) steals the ball from Miami Heat forward Duncan Robinson (55) during the first half at Kaseya Center. Mandatory credit: Jim Rassol-USA TODAY Sports / Jim Rassol-USA TODAY Sports

As for the Nuggets, they are coming off a season in which they lost to the Minnesota Timberwolves in Game 7 of the second round.