The Nuggets’ title window is opening. Who should they add this summer to bust through it?

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As debilitating as Sunday’s Game 7 loss might be, there’s little doubt that the Nuggets arrived ahead of schedule this season.

They went from one game out of the playoffs a year ago into the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference and one win shy of the franchise’s first conference finals trip in a couple of years.

Now, using a big decision looming on Paul Millsap, and also a certain unknown quantity set for his much-anticipated Summer League reveal, the Nuggets find themselves entering a critical offseason.

If the Nuggets drop their $30 million team option on Millsap — and allow ’s face it, they be mad not to think about it — the franchise is going to be a participant in the free-agent and trade markets this summer.

They’ve resources galore, a competent front office in a desirable city and a budding superstar who shares the ball more than any player in his class. That’s a lot to market, and there s lots of potential targets.

Mark Kiszla and Mike Singer already identified two of them in Tobias Harris and Bojan Bogdanovic. Here’s a more Denver should make a run at:

Khris Middleton, SF — If you enjoyed Torrey Craig’s lockdown defense, but weren’t particularly fond of his erratic shooting, I’ve got just the guy for you. At 6-foot-8, Middleton has the length to give competitions the ability to provide a third or second option as well as problems on the perimeter. It’s difficult to envision him wanting to leave Giannis Antetokounmpo’s side, but given Milwaukee’s bulging cap sheet, it’s possible the Bucks won’t be able to manage him.

Harrison Barnes, SF/PF — Much like Middleton, Barnes is silky smooth 6-foot-8 shooter with the ability to stretch defenses and create off the dribble. He can slot in as a four, giving coach Michael Malone the luxury of multiple looks. The one problem: Barnes has a $25 million player option with Sacramento. At 26 years old, it’s anyone ’s guess whether he ll decrease it and go looking for a long-term thing.

Nikola Mirotic, PF — This one might hurt a bit on the defensive end, but when the Nuggets were to convince Millsap to remain at a discount — say, two years, $30 million — Mirotic could fit in nicely as an interchangeable stretch four who spaces the ground for Denver’s guards and adds scoring punch to the next unit.

Bobby Portis, PF — Consider this another option if the Nuggets are able to lower the purchase price on Millsap. There might be some bad blood between Portis and Nikola Jokic’s brothers. But when the Nuggets are interested in adding four who can bang down low in a discount price to a tough-minded stretch, that’s all water under the bridge.

Anthony Davis, C/PF  —  This is the longest of shots for the Nuggets — out of free-agent-to-be Kevin Durant, of course — but surely one worth investigating given Davis’ unrivaled talents. Davis (in)famously put himself on the trading block earlier this year, and there’ll likely be lots of suitors lining up to make New Orleans an offer. The Boston Celtics have been considered the best bet to obtain the Brow’s services, but with Kyrie Irving’s future in doubt, there may be an opening. If Davis is ready to commit to some long-term deal to keep in the Mile High City, the Nuggets have to consider it. If not, there s lots of fish in the sea.

Matt Schubert, The Denver Post

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+ Rockies Mailbag: Have a question about the team? Ask Patrick Saunders here.

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If you see something that’s cause for question or have a comment, thought or suggestion, email me at dboniface@denverpost.com or tweet me @danielboniface.


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