Michael Malone, the coach who patiently built the Denver Nuggets into NBA champions, has been rewarded by the organization.
The Nuggets have given Malone a contract extension that will make him one of the highest-paid coaches in the NBA, a story broken by Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.
ESPN Sources: The Denver Nuggets’ Michael Malone — who led the franchise to the 2023 NBA championship — has agreed on a contract extension that’ll make him one of the league’s highest paid coaches. pic.twitter.com/klyGsLSYKO
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) November 13, 2023
Malone came to Denver in 2015 — after being let go in Sacramento, one of the truly strange firings in the NBA in recent decades — and took over a 30-win Nuggets team led by Danilo Gallinari, but with a 20-year-old Nikola Jokic trying to find his way in the league. The following year Jamal Murray was added to the roster and it was a slow, patient build from there, turning the Nuggets into an NBA power (a process slowed for a couple of years by Murray's ACL injury).
Denver is 8-2 to start this season with a +9.5 net rating (third in the league) — the Nuggets set the bar for any team that wants to consider itself a contender. Malone and his coaching acumen, as well as his understanding of these players and this roster, is a key part of that.
Malone deserved the extension, good on the Nuggets for keeping the guys core to their success and paying them well.