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Mike Malone to return as coach next season, front office to work on Nikola Jokic extension

Mike Malone, Nikola Jokic

Denver Nuggets head coach Mike Malone is expected to return to his post next season, according to Harrison Wind of BSN Denver. The team is now expected to prioritize efforts into securing a contract extension for franchise talisman Nikola Jokic, who is going into the fourth year of his rookie deal.

The Nuggets faced yet another disappointing end to the season, once again falling just short of making the playoffs — this time coming down to a do-or-die game on the road against the Minnesota Timberwolves.

President of basketball operations Tim Connelly can now get to work on his roster personnel, knowing the coaching side of the equation is already accounted for, looking to build from this past regular season.

Besides Jokic, the Nuggets also have the impending future of sixth man Will Barton, who is hoping to become a starter next season and taking that into his free agency considerations.

Barton averaged a career-high 15.7 points, along with 5.0 rebounds, and 4.1 assists per game through 81 games, starting in 40 of them.

Malone and the front office will have to make some tough decisions if they hope to keep them, likely parting ways with Wilson Chandler to free up the small forward slot for Barton, given that the other four starting spots have already been cemented.