With 20/1 odds to win the NBA title, the Nuggets bet $92 million that forward Aaron Gordon is the final piece to their championship puzzle.
Whether you call that a prudent investment or foolish optimism, I say Gordon should call Jerami Grant and offer to buy him a Tesla. And even a shiny, new car might not be sufficient thanks, because even by the crazy economic standards of pro sports, there’s no way a player with Gordon’s skill set is worth an average annual salary in excess of $20 million.
But here’s the deal: The Nuggets really had no choice except to swallow hard and give Gordon a hefty contract extension. As much as any of us might’ve wished it to be true, Bradley Beal or any other first-tier NBA star isn’t going to walk through the doors of Ball Arena.
Denver couldn’t allow Gordon to play out the lame-duck year of his contract, even though he disappeared as the Nuggets were rudely bounced from the playoffs by Phoenix. After sending guards Gary Harris and R.J. Hampton, as well as a future first-round draft choice, to obtain Gordon at the trade deadline in March, president of basketball operations Tim Connelly could not risk the possibility that the best on-ball defender on his roster would walk after the upcoming season.
Isn’t it obvious? The Nuggets spent heavily on Gordon because of their rocky relationship with Grant, who bolted for Detroit as a…