Nuggets make slew of front office, scouting hires, sources say

Several months after assuming top decision-making responsibilities for the Nuggets, general manager Calvin Booth is putting his stamp on the organization.

The Nuggets are hiring a slew of pro and college scouts, sources told The Denver Post.

Drew Nicholas, a former scout for the Sixers and Celtics, will be the Nuggets’ new director of scouting and oversee the department. Mike Penberthy, formerly an assistant coach for the Lakers, will join the organization as a pro scout and shooting coach. Chad Iske, an assistant coach for the Charlotte Hornets, will also join as a pro scout, as will Jarrett Stephens.

Jared Jeffries, who previously spent time in the Nuggets’ front office, is re-joining the team as a college scout. Joining him as the Nuggets bolster their scouting department is Todd Checovich, formerly the GM of the Iowa Wolves. His official role will be college scout and cap strategist.

As first reported by The Post last week, former Nuggets scouting coordinator Jon Wallace is leaving the organization and following former team president Tim Connelly to Minnesota. Wallace will be the director of player personnel and the new GM of the Iowa Wolves. Connelly’s brother, Joe, is also leaving Denver to become the director of scouting for Minnesota.

Booth’s new hires are expected to cast a wider net from a scouting perspective. There will also be a handful of other internal promotions announced in the coming weeks.

Gillespie update: Though he sustained a lower right leg fracture that required surgery, the Nuggets have no intention of parting ways with two-way guard Collin Gillespie, a source said. Even though Gillespie will be out indefinitely as he recovers, the Nuggets were thrilled to reach a deal with him on draft night and intend to support him throughout his recovery. Gillespie had a productive Summer League and was a favorite of coach Michael Malone.

Christmas it is: Internally, the Nuggets weren’t pleased last season when reigning MVP Nikola Jokic was overlooked for a Christmas Day showcase game. After winning MVP for a second consecutive season, the NBA didn’t make the same mistake.

The Nuggets are set to host the Phoenix Suns on Christmas, a source told The Post. The game will be one of five marquee matchups scheduled for the holiday.

There were plenty of people within the Nuggets’ organization who wondered whether there would’ve been a different outcome against the Suns two postseasons ago had Denver been healthy. If nothing else, Jamal Murray would’ve made a significant difference. Barring any significant injuries, we’ll finally get to see how the Nuggets stack up with one of the West’s elite squads.

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