Michael Malone Contract Option Reportedly Picked Up by Nuggets

The Denver Nuggets reportedly picked up an option in the contract of head coach Michael Malone to keep him with the organization through the 2018-19 NBA season.           

Chris Dempsey of Altitude Sports passed along the news Tuesday afternoon.

Malone took the Nuggets job in June 2015 following short stints by Brian Shaw and Melvin Hunt after the departure of longtime coach George Karl.

The Loyola University product has guided the team to a 73-91 record across his first two seasons in charge. That includes a 40-42 mark this past season, a seven-game improvement from his first year but one game short of a postseason berth in the Western Conference.

He made headlines in January after a brutally honest assessment of the team’s defense, which he called “a joke right now,” per ESPN.com.

“It’s a losing proposition,” Malone said after a 120-113 loss to the Sacramento Kings. “Offense sells tickets; defense wins championships. Right now our defense is the worst in the NBA.”

He added: “No veteran leadership stepping up, don’t hear anyone speaking, taking the lead. We have two young guys trying to speak up on the team, which you applaud, but you need some leadership to shine and step up.”

Malone later apologized for the leadership comments.

Denver failed to make the necessary defensive changes, though. It finished the campaign 29th in defensive efficiency, allowing 110.5 points per 100 possessions and edging the Los Angeles Lakers by a fraction to avoid last place in the NBA, according to ESPN’s Hollinger Stats.

That said, the Nuggets front office must have felt comfortable enough with the overall progress to lock in Malone for another season.

Now the focus shifts toward adding more star power either through free agency or trades, especially if small forward Danilo Gallinari signs with another team after opting out of his contract.

 

Read more NBA news on BleacherReport.com

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