DENVER— Juancho is coming to town.
The Denver Nuggets have signed rookie forward Juan Hernangomez to a standard rookie-scale $9.6 million contract.
Hernangomez was selected by the Nuggets with the No. 15 overall pick in June’s NBA draft. The team was expected to send the Spanish youngster back overseas this season. Instead, he worked his way onto Denver’s roster.
During summer league, he averaged 10.2 points, 8.2 rebounds, and 1.8 assists. He showed a tremendous on-court presence and nose for the basketball.
It’s still unclear exactly what Hernangomez’s role will be for this team. However, his addition creates one less space for another forward on this team, unless they are Nuggets are able to find a trade partner for Kenneth Faried, which is still very possible.
Moving Faried would open up both space and minutes for Hernangomez to find his place on the roster. Until then, he will get extremely limited minutes on the floor when Denver kicks off their season in October. He’ll likely find himself fourth in the team’s rotation at power forward, maybe third at center if head coach Michael Malone decides to give him that opportunity.
When asked how he would feel about joining the Nuggets roster following the draft, Hernangomez wasn’t sure whether he would be given a chance in the NBA.
“I don’t know what will happen this summer and then next year,” Hernangomez said. “I want to keep working and I don’t know where.”
Even with Juancho coming to the US, the Nuggets will still send one of their draft picks to Europe next season. Second round pick Petr Cornelie is expected to return to France this year to develop his game before joining Hernangomez on the Nuggets’ roster.