Nuggets reward Michael Malone with contract extension, raise

NBA: Utah Jazz at Denver Nuggets
NBA: Utah Jazz at Denver Nuggets

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.

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.