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Northwest Notes: Malone, Lillard, Harkless

Nuggets coach Michael Malone didn’t have too much to say about Ty Lawson, other than that he’s been in contact and that he still considers the point guard “part of the Denver Nugget family,” but Malone, in his conversation with Grantland’s Zach Lowe, provided a glimpse into Denver’s draft night war room.

“It’s very rare when you’re picking No. 7 to get the guy you target. I kid you not, when I got the job, [GM] Tim Connelly said, ‘Emmanuel Mudiay. That’s the guy,'” Malone said.

The team’s other target was Duke small forward Justise Winslow, Malone admitted to Lowe with hesitation. Winslow slipped to the Heat at No. 10. The coach also spoke with Lowe about his time hanging around the Timberwolves last season, and Malone “absolutely” had interest in becoming the head-coach-in-waiting under Flip Saunders in Minnesota, tweets Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN Twin Cities. He would have considered such an opportunity over the Nuggets gig, Wolfson adds. Here’s more from around the Northwest Division:

  • Damian Lillard is a fan of Portland’s trade acquisition of Maurice Harkless, GM Neil Olshey says, and it’s with Lillard in mind that the Blazers are going after players like the former Magic small forward, as The Oregonian’s Mike Richman chronicles. Lillard signed a five-year max extension this month. “When LaMarcus [Aldridge] warned us he wasn’t coming back we went full bore with guys on the same career arc as Damian Lillard,” Olshey said. “Damian’s our best player right now, he’s a two time All-Star. We’re going to bring in players that compliment his skill set, how we want to play and that can grow with him as he continues to improve.”
  • The Nuggets were reportedly one of three teams interested in signing Sergio Rodriguez, but it doesn’t look like he’ll leave Spain for the NBA again, as Real Madrid wants him to stay, reports David Pick of (Twitter links). The contract reportedly contains an NBA buyout clause, but Real Madrid will fight to keep him, Pick says.
  • The precise value of Jameer Nelson‘s three-year contract with the Nuggets is $13,621,575, reports Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders (Twitter link).
  • The cap hits in the four-year deal the Nuggets gave Nikola Jokic come to $5,551,000, and year four is a team option, Pincus also shows (Twitter link).
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2 thoughts on “Northwest Notes: Malone, Lillard, Harkless

  1. Chris Crouse

    While I understand what Portland is doing, I’m not sure I like it. Lillard is a marketable player and after losing LaMarcus, they want to keep him happy and build around him with players who are developing on his timeline. Quite frankly, I don’t envision it working and I believe Dame will be exposed even more so on defense without Wes Matthews next to him. They will be an intriguing team, but the Blazers have a long way to go before they sniff playoffs again.

    • Chuck Myron

      Well, I don’t know that it’s a matter of choice for Portland. I don’t think paying the max, or close to it, to retain Matthews would have been the right play, and they swung and missed on Aldridge and Greg Monroe.

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