The Denver Nuggets have rewarded head coach Mike Malone with a contract extension, the team announced Wednesday. The deal will add two more years after this season, keeping him in house until 2021, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.

Malone has long been seen as a foundational piece for the Nuggets, growing the likes of Nikola Jokic, Jamal Murray and Gary Harris during his tenure with the team.

Initially hired in 2015 after a year-long stint with the Sacramento Kings in 2013-14 and 12 years as an assistant on different NBA teams, Malone posted the first winning season of his career in 2017-18, falling a game shy of the postseason after a finale showdown against the Minnesota Timberwolves for the last spot in the West.

“I never had any doubt that this would get done,” said Malone, according to Chris Dempsey of Altitude Sports. “My conversations and relationship with Tim (Connelly) and Josh (Kroenke) throughout the summer have been nothing but positive.

“All along, I felt that something would get done at some point. When? I wasn’t sure. But I did have a great feeling because of my relationship and my communication with Tim and Josh and Josh’s family.”

The Nuggets are a promising team after solidifying Will Barton's role as a starter at small forward, adding Isaiah Thomas as a sixth man and keeping continuity with the team's three-pronged core of Jokic, Harris and Murray. A healthy Paul Millsap will further help matters, and they also have first-round pick Michael Porter Jr. waiting in the wings once he gets healthy.

Malone's first order of business is to fix a defense that ranked 25th in defensive efficiency last season. Denver is an elite offensive squad, but a more respectable defense is needed in hopes to contend in a brutal Western Conference.