Denver Nuggets star Nikola Jokic must not have January 14th circled on his calendar. That's the day Indiana Pacers guard Bruce Brown will return to Denver to be presented with his 2023 NBA championship ring, that is, if Jokic doesn't hide it from him first. At Denver's media day, Jokic joked with reporters about stiffing Brown of his championship ring after he left in free agency to join the Pacers, via Rachel Strand.
Jokic on losing Bruce Brown in the offseason: "Of course we're mad at him. Maybe we don't give him a ring." #Nuggets
— Rachel Strand (@MileHighRachel) October 2, 2023
It's awfully hard in today's NBA to keep a championship team together for another run. While the Nuggets did an admirable job, Brown was due for a major payday that the Nuggets couldn't provide, and he received it with the Pacers by signing a two-year contract worth $45 million this offseason.
That doesn't mean Jokic isn't allowed to be a little bitter about losing Brown, who was a valuable defensive presence and cutter offensively who played multiple positions last year for the Nuggets. While Denver will have a difficult time replacing a player as unique as Brown, the new Pacers guard shouldn't have a hard time getting his championship ring and being celebrated early next year as a key member of the Nuggets 2023 NBA Championship squad.
Brown, 26, averaged a new career high last season with 11.5 points a game for the Nuggets. He started 31 games for the Nuggets and made major contributions in the postseason run for Denver.
The Pacers will travel to face Nikola Jokic and the Nuggets in Denver on January 14th for the first of two regular-season matchups between the two teams.