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Nuggets Sign Jamaal Franklin

SUNDAY, 3:16pm: The signing is official, according to the team’s website.

FRIDAY, 12:17pm: The Nuggets plan to sign former Grizzlies shooting guard Jamaal Franklin, reports Shams Charania of RealGM (Twitter link). Presumably, Denver will slide Franklin into the roster spot that they filled with Shavlik Randolph earlier this week, since they’re reportedly poised to waive Randolph. The 23-year-old Franklin has been playing for the D-League affiliate of the Lakers.

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports wrote a month ago that Franklin was likely to sign with some NBA team in the near future. He’s not far removed from having been the 41st overall pick in the 2013 draft, and while he saw just 7.7 minutes per game in 21 appearances for the Grizzlies last season, it’s not at all surprising to see him resurface in the NBA. He displayed an all-around game in 21 D-League contests this season, averaging 19.2 points, 8.9 rebounds and 6.5 assists in 34.1 minutes per game, numbers that were significant improvements on his D-League performance while on assignment from Memphis last season.

The Grizzlies waived Franklin at the end of August so they could use the stretch provision to spread his guaranteed salary for this season over a five-year period. The resulting payment this year, which came to less than $200K, left the Brian Elfus client with plenty of financial incentive to seek a lucrative deal wherever he could find one, and he signed with China’s Zhejiang Guangsha Lions in early October after workouts with the Spurs and Wizards. He averaged 28.5 PPG, 6.2 RPG and 4.6 APG in 33.8 MPG in 26 Chinese Basketball Association games before returning stateside.

Charania indicates that it’s a rest-of-season deal, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the Nuggets include an extra year in the arrangement to give themselves a greater degree of control, perhaps with a partial guarantee or guarantee dates built in, though that’s just my speculation. Even if his deal covers only the final days of this season, the Nuggets would be able to dictate his next NBA destination, since he’d be eligible for restricted free agency.

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