Bruce Brown opts out of his contract with the NBA-champion Nuggets, AP source says

DENVER (AP) – Bruce Brown is set to become a free agent after declining his $6.8 million player option with the NBA-champion Denver Nuggets, a person with knowledge of the decision said Wednesday.

Denver Nuggets forward Bruce Brown hugs the championship trophy during a rally to mark the Denver Nuggets first NBA basketball championship Thursday, June 15, 2023, in Denver. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)

The person spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity because the move hasn´t been announced. The NBA free agency period opens next week.

Brown signed with Denver last summer and became an integral piece off the bench for the Nuggets. He can play either guard position or small forward and averaged 12 points and four rebounds in a postseason that culminated with Denver knocking off Miami in five games during the Finals to win its first NBA title.

Denver Nuggets forward Jeff Green, left, touches the trophy as forward Bruce Brown looks on during a rally and parade to mark the team's first NBA basketball championship on Thursday, June 15, 2023, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

Nuggets coach Michael Malone said at the Nuggets´ championship parade last week the team wants to keep Brown in their bid to defend their title. But the Nuggets cannot offer him more than $7.8 million for next season; if he stays, Brown would be eligible for a four-year deal in Denver starting in 2024-25, with an initial salary of about $14 million.

The 26-year-old Brown was a second-round pick in 2018 by Detroit out of the University of Miami. He played two seasons with the Pistons, and two more with Brooklyn, before joining a Nuggets team that includes a core of Jamal Murray, Michael Porter Jr., Aaron Gordon and Finals MVP Nikola Jokic.

Denver Nuggets forward Bruce Brown celebrates during a rally and parade to mark the team's first NBA basketball championship on Thursday, June 15, 2023, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

Denver Nuggets forward Bruce Brown hugs the championship trophy during a rally to mark the Denver Nuggets first NBA basketball championship Thursday, June 15, 2023, in Denver.

AP Basketball Writer Tim Reynolds contributed to this report.

Miami Heat guard Gabe Vincent, left, and Denver Nuggets forward Bruce Brown compete for possession of the ball during the second half of Game 5 of basketball's NBA Finals, Monday, June 12, 2023, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

Denver Nuggets forward Jeff Green, left, touches the trophy as forward Bruce Brown looks on during a rally and parade to mark the team’s first NBA basketball championship on Thursday, June 15, 2023, in Denver.

Denver Nuggets forward Bruce Brown celebrates during a rally and parade to mark the team’s first NBA basketball championship on Thursday, June 15, 2023, in Denver.

Miami Heat guard Gabe Vincent, left, and Denver Nuggets forward Bruce Brown compete for possession of the ball during the second half of Game 5 of basketball’s NBA Finals, Monday, June 12, 2023, in Denver.

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