It looks like the Denver Nuggets will participate in an large-scale game of catch-up with the rest of the NBA in the coming years.
At Denver’s annual media day Monday, Nuggets president Josh Kroenke said that the organization is interested in adding a practice facility and a D-League team down the road.
Kroenke didn’t offer a specific timetable on the addition of either things; he simply said he’d had conversations about adding both in the “near future.”
Twenty-two teams currently have relationships with D-League teams, which are essentially minor-league basketball teams.
“There’s been a lot of dialogue about that,” Kroenke said. “As the NBA as a whole continues to evolve, more and more teams are having a direct relationship, and we look forward to being one of those teams …”
NBA teams tend to send young players who aren’t receiving much playing time down to their respective D-League affiliate, so the players can get in-game experience.
Rookie first-rounders Malik Beasley and Juancho Hernangomez might struggle to crack Denver’s rotation this season. Both would be logical candidates to spend time in the D-League this year if the Nuggets did have a minor-league basketball team.
As for practice facilities: They are a newer NBA innovation than D-League teams.
Earlier this month, the Philadelphia 76ers opened their 125,000 square-foot practice facility that includes a 2,800-square foot locker room, sports science stations, courts, a chef from one of the city’s best restaurants and more. The total cost? $80 million.
Teams such as the Chicago Bulls ($25 million), Minnesota Timberwolves ($25 million), Toronto Raptors ($20 million) and Brooklyn Nets ($50 million) have all opened practice facilities in the last two years as well.
The Lakers, Pacers, Wizards and Hawks have plans to open their own in the future.
Right now, the Nuggets’ practice courts are located inside the Pepsi Center.
“State-of-the art is moving faster than state-of-the art ever has, I think,” Kroenke said. “But when this building was built and this practice facility was built in this building, it was state-of-the-art. Things have evolved since then. I’ve had a few conversations with a few people to start thinking about something like that for the Nuggets and the Avalanche as well. With these guys help sitting next to me, I think we’re going to be able to do that in the near future. I look forward to providing an update on that when I have an opportunity to.”
It’s unclear when or where the Nuggets’ practice facility will be. But it’s apparent they’re trying to keep up with the Joneses.