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Denver Nuggets GM says losing Bruce Brown to Indiana Pacers was a 'big blow'

Brown joined the Pacers in the offseason

Guard/wing Bruce Brown signed with the Indiana Pacers this offseason after a one-year stint with the Denver Nuggets.

Brown signed with Denver in 2022, and it was a two-year deal with a player option. In total, the contract was only worth about $13.2 million in value.

The 27-year old vastly outplayed that deal. He was among the Nuggets' top-six players all season long and was a key piece in their championship run. As a result, he opted out of his contract via his player option and became an unrestricted free agent.

Indiana swooped in and stole Brown away on a two-year, $45 million contract with a team option. The deal is a true win-win for an ascending team and a player entering his prime. It's a gigantic pay raise for Brown, and he earned it.

His departure hurts Denver, though, and Nuggets general manager Calvin Booth admitted as much in an interview with Kevin O'Connor of The Ringer.

"That blow was big," Booth said of Brown, along with veteran Jeff Green, departing in free agency. Brown had 530 postseason minutes for Denver last season — he was a major contributor in the important games.

He averaged 12.0 points and 4.0 rebounds per game in the playoffs, and Brown made several vital plays in the NBA Finals. But the finances made a reunion in Denver nearly impossible, and the Pacers used their cap space to scoop up the two-way swiss army knife.

The five-year veteran will help Indiana in many ways, and those skills are now not in Denver. That's why Booth called Brown's departure a big blow, and why the Pacers were excited to grab him. "One of the beauties of Bruce's game is he has great diversity as a player. He's played multiple positions, he's played everything from 1-4 in his years in the league so far," Indiana head coach Rick Carlisle said of Brown.

So far, Brown is averaging 6.3 points and 3.7 assists per game for the Pacers in the preseason. They next hit the court on Friday.