Christmas came early for Denver Nuggets head coach Mike Malone, who agreed to a contract extension through the 2022-23 season on Tuesday. The team announced the extension and ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported the length:
The Denver Nuggets extension with coach Michael Malone takes him through the 2022-2023 season, league source tells ESPN.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) December 24, 2019
The extension is well-deserved for Malone, who was hired in 2015 and has improved the Nuggets’ win total in each of his four seasons — they are the only team in the league to do so over the last four years. Last year, the Nuggets finished 54-28, the second-best record in franchise history. This season, the Nuggets are 21-8 and enter Christmas Day second in the Western Conference.
Malone is 194-163 as the Nuggets’ head coach, good enough for the fourth-highest win total in franchise history.
“This season and team has been about continuity, with Coach Malone being the first piece of that,” team president Josh Kroenke said in a press release. “We are thrilled to continue to have him lead this promising young roster and are excited about what the future holds. Coach Malone has been pivotal in this organization’s success and will continue to be so.”
Building a foundation
Malone has succeeded in building a perennial contender in Denver despite not having major free agents come through town — perhaps besides Paul Millsap. The Nuggets have turned big man Nikola Jokic into a star and worked to develop players to excel within their system such as Jamal Murray, Gary Harris and Will Barton.
President of Basketball Operations Tim Connelly said that Malone was responsible for the franchise’s resurgence.
“His tireless work ethic and passion are clearly reflected in the continued improvement of our roster,” Connelly said. “We are all extremely excited for him to continue to lead our team as we try to build a championship-level organization.”
Malone, 48, spent more than a decade as an assistant coach before landing the Sacramento Kings’ head coaching job in 2013. He was fired after a little more than a season, but has found a home in Denver.
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