Despite never playing for the Nuggets in his 11-season NBA career, Chuck Hayes will begin the next chapter of his basketball tenure with the franchise.
The versatile bench player has not formally announced his retirement, but that looks to be the case after the 33-year-old has reached an agreement — according to Gordon Gross of Denver Stiffs — to join the team’s front office. He’ll begin his post-playing career as an entry-level assistant, per Gross, who adds that this is an unspecified role but one that will include him helping both the Nuggets’ front office and their coaching staff this coming season.
Per 1250 AM Sports radio in Lexington, Ky., Hayes will perform front-office duties, serving under general manager Tim Connelly, when the team is on the road and aid with player development under coach Mike Malone during its Denver stays. So, it doesn’t look like Hayes will be traveling with the Nuggets to start. He’ll aid new assistant Jordi Fernandez in player development, Gross reports. Hayes also worked with lead offensive assistant Chris Finch, who coached with the Rockets last season.
This transition comes after Hayes played in just two games for the Rockets last season. After functioning as a key player and starter for Houston teams at the start of this decade, Hayes mostly used his defensive skills in bench roles for the past five years. The 6-foot-6 forward, who was also used at center from time to time during his unique career, averaged 3.7 points and 5.0 rebounds per game during his career — one that began with Hayes catching on with the 2005-06 Rockets as an undrafted free agent out of Kentucky.
The Nuggets sport an intriguing group of young players whom Hayes could presumably help inside, with posts Jusuf Nurkic and Nikola Jokic set to see extensive run next season.