The Denver Nuggets have exercised a $30 million option on forward Paul Millsap’s contract for next season, bringing back a key player for the franchise’s pursuit of a Western Conference title, league sources told ESPN on Saturday.
Denver can keep Millsap, hold on to its $9.2 million midlevel exception and still stay out of the luxury tax next season.
Millsap, a four-time All-Star, averaged 12.6 points and 7.2 rebounds per game for the Nuggets. Denver (54-28) had the second-best record in the West and reached Game 7 of the conference semifinals against the Portland Trail Blazers.
Denver has 12 players set to return next season, including a young core of All-NBA center Nikola Jokic and guard Jamal Murray.
“From how I want to do it, how I want my story to be told, [this is] definitely the group that can help me do it,” Millsap told reporters after the season about wanting to stay with the Nuggets. “That’s definitely a dream and a goal of mine. I think it’s the goal for everybody, especially the younger guys.”
Millsap ranked third among NBA power forwards — trailing only Giannis Antetokounmpo and Anthony Davis — in real plus-minus (4.24).
Across 13 NBA seasons with the Jazz, Hawks and Nuggets, Millsap has averaged 14.1 points and 7.4 rebounds per game. He’s shot 49% from the field.
The Nuggets are also extending a qualifying offer to forward Trey Lyles, who will become a restricted free agent, league sources said. Lyles averaged 8.5 points and 3.8 rebounds in 64 games for Denver last season.