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Key Nuggets reserve headed for restricted free agency next summer

Harrison Wind Avatar
October 15, 2018

The Nuggets and backup power forward Trey Lyles did not come to terms on a rookie extension prior to Monday’s 4 p.m. MT deadline, meaning the 22-year-old will be a restricted free agent next offseason. Denver will still hold the right to match any offer sheet Lyles signs with another team and retain his services.

Lyles became a fixture in the Nuggets’ rotation last season, filling the void left by starting power forward Paul Millsap, who missed 44 games with a left wrist injury. Across 73 games (two starts), Lyles averaged 9.9 points on a career-high 49.1 percent shooting from the field. Lyles also shot 38.1 percent from three and recorded 4.8 rebounds per game.

This season, the Nuggets and head coach Michael Malone are determined to find more minutes for Lyles. The 6-foot-10 forward enters this year as the focal point of Denver’s second unit. Lyles’ enjoyed a strong preseason where he averaged 12.2 points, 7.4 rebounds and 3.4 assists in just 23.6 minutes per game. Lyles also put his playmaking ability on display, registering four or more assists on three separate occasions this preseason after only hitting that mark three times in 73 games last year.

Lyles expressed to BSN Denver at training camp last month that he wanted to stay with the Nuggets past this season.

“Coming here last year was a breath of fresh air for me,” Lyles said. “Being a part of a team like this, I’m happy to be here and I love what I see for the future for them and what they’re trying to build, so I want to be a part of it.”

Lyles will enter a plush free agent market where several teams are expected to enter the offseason with ample cap space. Next summer’s free agent market is jam-packed with big names. Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard, Kyrie Irving, Klay Thompson and Jimmy Butler are just a few of the All-Star caliber players who could be on the move come July 1.

Devin Booker, Karl-Anthony Towns, Justise Winslow, Myles Turner and Larry Nance were the only players from the 2015 draft class to sign rookie extensions prior to Monday’s deadline.

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