Nuggets Make Laughable Mistake in Letting Key Free Agent Walk

The Los Angeles Lakers will face a much weaker opponent in the Denver Nuggets next season thanks to their free-agency mistakes.
Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Lakers bowed out of the playoffs at the hands of the Denver Nuggets in each of the past two seasons. Nikola Jokic & Co. had the Lakers' number over the past couple of seasons due to their combination of size, versatility, and offensive firepower.

Fortunately for the Lakers, they will have a weakened opponent when they face the Nuggets next season due to Denver's free-agency mistakes. The Nuggets made the mind-boggling decision when free agency opened to let veteran starter Kentavious Caldwell-Pope sign with the Orlando Magic. Now, they have no way to replace him in their starting lineup due to their financial limitations.

The Denver Nuggets had the best starting lineup in the NBA over the past couple of years. Caldwell-Pope was a big part of that with his elite three-and-D ability as the shooting guard. Now, they have to replace him with Christian Braun in the starting lineup, a non-shooting shooting guard.

This means that the Nuggets will have less firepower, worse spacing, and likely a weaker offense.

What should be a big concern for Nuggets fans is that this was a purely financial decision. If the ownership was willing to pay the luxury tax and risk being at the second apron, they could have kept Caldwell-Pope. Their unwillingness to spend could be a hindrance to their ability to construct championship-level rosters around Nikola Jokic.

This is great news for the Lakers. The Western Conference is already stacked with talented teams. A weaker Denver team that the Lakers can potentially take down will open up their path for a deep postseason run.

Los Angeles has a chance to close the gap between them and other Western Conference contenders this offseason. GM Rob Pelinka and the front office still need to nail their decisions this summer to get themselves on the same tier as the Denver Nuggets.

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