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Dario Saric agrees to head to Denver on two-year, $10.6 million contract

NBA: Los Angeles Clippers at Golden State Warriors

Feb 14, 2024; San Francisco, California, USA; Golden State Warriors forward Dario Saric (20) reacts during the first half of the game against the LA Clippers at Chase Center. Mandatory Credit: John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports

John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports

It’s easy to picture the fit next season in Denver: Nikola Jokic goes to the bench, Dario Saric subs in and the offense doesn’t change much at all.

Veteran free agent Saric is headed to Denver on a two-year, $10.6 million deal, a story broken by Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. Saric has a player option in that second year.

Saric averaged eight points and 4.4 rebounds a game last season, shooting 37.6% from 3, where he took 50.8% of his shot attempts. Saric will likely play a lot of big man minutes off the bench, and paired with the athleticism and shot-blocking of Payton Watson, there is a natural fit there on paper.

Denver used its $5.2MM taxpayer mid-level exception and with that becomes hard capped at the second apron, $188.9 million. The Nuggets also just re-signed Vlatko Cancar at the minimum, giving them 14 players on the roster, meaning they still have room under that hard cap to take in Russell Westbrook in a trade with the Clippers, something that has been rumored for days (Los Angeles wants to trade him and Denver appears to be the only serious suitor).

So long as Nikola Jokic is the best player on the planet and he’s paired with peak Jamal Murray, the Nuggets are title contenders. Next season’s version has questions, though, the biggest of which is can Christian Braun step into Kentavious Caldwell-Pope’s shoes as a championship-level 3&D wing? Also, does this roster have enough 3-point shooting? Saric helps with that. This is also not a deep team, but adding Saric off the bench helps solidify the frontcourt, and that’s a big plus for coach Michael Malone.