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By locking up Nikola Jokic and Will Barton, the Nuggets continue to trust their own process

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Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

The Western Conference became even more stacked this offseason. The Los Angeles Lakers signed LeBron James and the Golden State Warriors added four-time All-Star DeMarcus Cousins to their championship roster.

Instead of looking outside their organization to improve via a trade, the Nuggets’ brass looked inward — dropping around $200 million in combined salary to lock up Nikola Jokic and Will Barton for the next five and four years, respectively.

“Building a winner is a process, to use the term of the moment,” Nuggets president Josh Kroenke said Monday afternoon as Jokic and Barton officially signed their contracts. “And our process is unique to us.”

In one sense, the Nuggets did, in fact, take a unique path this offseason by standing pat. In doing so, they believe they took a step forward.

In response to being asked about James joining the Lakers and the West getting tougher, Kroenke said he “absolutely” thinks the Nuggets can compete in the West because of a relatively unique quality Denver possesses that other star-studded teams don’t.



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