The Denver Nuggets are the 2023 NBA Champions, and rightfully so after demonstrating what the principles of continuity, teamwork, connectivity, accountability and patience can get a team.
That being said, while the Nuggets will certainly take time to enjoy winning their first championship in franchise history, the NBA has officially hit its offseason period. Consequently, Denver's front office must turn their focus towards the future and how to keep the Nuggets in championship contention.
Fortunately for the front brass though, the answer should be simple:
Doing what got them to and through the 2023 NBA Finals in the first place.
Here are the four best players that the Nuggets must re-sign in free agency after winning the title.
4 best players Nuggets must re-sign in 2023 NBA free agency
Although Bruce Brown will be declining his 2023-24 player option and testing free agency, the veteran guard has made it clear that he wants to return to the Denver Nuggets. Playing a multitude of roles for the Nuggets throughout the season, the interest between the two sides should be mutual.
The main question is how much Denver will be willing to pay Brown, who defense, playmaking and shot-making ability allowed him to play a pivotal role in several victories.
Brown averaged a career-high 11.5 points per game in the 2022-23 regular season, as well as 3.4 assists and 1.1 steals per game. Just 26-years-old, he averaged 12.0 points per game in the 2023 NBA Playoffs, while shooting 51.1 percent from the floor.
As the elder statesmen of a Denver Nuggets team that relied on his vocal leadership at least as much as what he could provide on the court, Jeff Green is another player who should return to the Nuggets next season.
Whether or not Denver will have a guaranteed spot for him in their rotation is another matter. However, even if Green were to be listed as a third-string frontcourt piece, his familiarity with the Nuggets could prove invaluable.
Green, who will be 37-years-old at the start of the 2023-24 season, started just four games last season (tied for a career-low). That trend would likely continue next season.
Thomas Bryant didn't play much after being acquired by the Denver Nuggets but his reputation as an interior defender and stretch-big precede him. That being said, Bryant will undoubtedly be looking at other teams in free agency, particularly ones that can guarantee him a consistent role.
Nonetheless, it wouldn't hurt the Nuggets to have a decent depth behind Nikola Jokic. Especially one that can space the floor and unclog the paint for Denver's cutters and slashers.
Bryant averaged 9.8 points, 5.7 rebounds and 0.5 blocks in 18.3 minutes per game last season, shooting 62.3 percent from the field and 44.1 percent from 3-point range. He needs to tighten up defensively, as 2022-23 was his worst as an interior defender since he was a rookie. However, history shows that he can make a positive impact altering shots in the paint at 6-foot-10 and 248 pounds.
Like Thomas Bryant, Colorado native Reggie Jackson didn't play a consistent role for the Denver Nuggets after joining the team mid-February. Another similarity Jackson has to Bryant is the fact that he fits a team need for the Nuggets; that is, if they believe he can get back to the way he played in the 2020-21 season.
They won't mind that Jackson — who has averaged 14.3 points and 4.7 assists per game over the past 10 seasons — will be one of the most affordable backup guards that they can get no matter what though.
If Jackson should return — both to the Nuggets and to form — then Denver can stabilize their second unit, have necessary depth behind star guard Jamal Murray and have the option of playing Jackson behind Murray in the backcourt as well. The ability to be flexible is never a bad one to have, especially in sports.