Denver Nuggets Rumors

Western Notes: Kobe, Thomas, Hayward

March 12 at 4:07pm CDT By Chuck Myron

Kobe Bryant didn’t hold back during the press conference that followed today’s official announcement that he’s done for the year. He said he has “not one lick” of patience for suffering through another losing season in 2014/15. With Phil Jackson agreeing to take a front office job with the Knicks, Bryant finds it difficult to understand why the Lakers haven’t hired him back, and he called upon co-owners Jim and Jeanie Buss to resolve their differences. He also wants to be in the loop on the team’s moves and expressed his frustration with the trade of Steve Blake. “I just want to get a phone call when somebody gets traded,” Bryant said (Twitter links via Dave McMenamin of ESPNLosAngeles.comBeto Duran of ESPN radio Los Angeles, and Bill Oram of the Orange County Register).

There’s more Lakers-related news as we examine the latest from the Western Conference:

  • Soon-to-be restricted free agent Isaiah Thomas admits to SB Nation’s James Herbert that he grew up a fan of the Lakers and still likes the team. The Kings point guard calls Bryant his favorite player.
  • Gordon Hayward largely stayed out of negotiations between agent Mark Bartelstein and the Jazz on a possible extension this past fall, and he plans to be similarly scarce as Bartelstein talks with clubs this summer, when Hayward will be a restricted free agent. Grantland’s Zach Lowe has more from his interview with the former Butler star, who expresses his fondness for the small-town feel of Salt Lake City.
  • A report last month suggested the Nuggets don’t plan to give Kenneth Faried a major payday when he’s up for an extension in the offseason, but the power forward’s improved play will make the team think twice, writes Chris Dempsey of The Denver Post.

And-Ones: Kobe, Lakers, Woodson

March 11 at 10:02pm CDT By Ryan Raroque

The Lakers are expected to officially declare Kobe Bryant out for the rest of the 2013/14 season, as per Kevin Ding of Bleacher Report. The 35-year-old guard is still dealing with discomfort after fracturing the tibial plateau in his left knee back in December. Ding adds that while the superstar guard has expressed hope in the team significantly re-tooling this summer via free agency, all signs point to the front office planning accordingly to have cap flexibility for the summer of 2015.

You can find more of tonight’s noteworthy links below:

  • With Kobe, Steve Nash, and Robert Sacre presently listed as the only guaranteed contracts for next season, Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times looks at the rest of the current roster to determine who has the best chance of sticking around after this year.
  • Mike Woodson‘s reported mistrust of Steve Mills partially stems from the Knicks executive’s presence in coaches meetings, practices, and road trips for large chunks of the season, writes Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders. According to Kyler, Woodson’s camp viewed it as meddling in the process and casting doubt on the coach’s job from the start.
  • Marco Belinelli doesn’t hold a grudge against the Bulls for declining to make him an offer this past summer, but his first choice would have been to re-sign with the Bulls, in spite of Tom Thibodeau’s efforts to convince the team to do so. Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express-News has the details, noting that when Gregg Popovich called Thibodeau for a recommendation, Thibs gave the shooting guard an endorsement.
  • Paul Millsap says he didn’t go “kicking and screaming” from the Jazz when they parted ways over the summer, adding that he respected the team’s decision not to pursue re-signing him, as Brad Rock of the Deseret News observes.
  • J.J. Hickson has hired Muhammad Abdur-Rahim and Aaron Goodwin of Goodwin Sports Management as his new agents, reports Chris Haynes of CSNNW.com (Twitter link). They replace Andy Miller of ASM Sports, whom the Nuggets big man jettisoned earlier this season.

Chuck Myron contributed to this post. 

D-League Notes: Timberwolves, Trades

March 7 at 7:56pm CDT By Cray Allred

While the NBA’s trade deadline passed over two weeks ago, the D-League’s window for trading players between teams closed today. While deals between D-League teams don’t affect NBA player rights, they can still have an impact on which NBA teams and development staffs get the closest look at prospects at that level. Here are some notes from the D-League, including today’s deadline deals:

  • The Timberwolves are looking at owning their own D-League team, a source tells Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN Twin Cities (Twitter link). Wolfson says the Iowa Energy, who currently serve as an affiliate for the Timberwolves, Nuggets, Bulls, Pelicans, and Wizards, are open to a singular partnership with Minnesota.
  • Sources tell Gino Pilato of D-League Digest that a multi-team trade sent William Buford to the Canton Charge, Vander Blue to the Idaho Stampede, and Richard Howell‘s returning player rights for next year to the Santa Cruz Warriors, among other D-League draft considerations.
  • In the same post, Pilato passes along a trade sending Santa Cruz’s Dominic McGuire to the Tulsa 66ers in exchange for Dominic Sutton‘s returning player rights.
  • Pilato reports one final deal between the Charge and the Delaware 87ers. Kyrylo Fesenko was sent to Canton in a trade that also saw the teams swap second round draft picks.

Nate Robinson To Opt In For 2014/15

March 6 at 8:23am CDT By Chuck Myron

Injured Nuggets guard Nate Robinson will exercise his player option to return to the team next season, according to Chris Dempsey of The Denver Post. The move is not at all surprising, since the left ACL tear he suffered in January knocked him out for the rest of this season. Robinson tells Dempsey he’ll be ready for training camp in the fall.

The Aaron Goodwin client will make $2,106,720 next season, and that salary will push Denver’s guaranteed commitments for 2014/15 to nearly $61.156MM. Darrell Arthur has given early indications that he’ll exercise his player option, too, and the more than $3.457MM coming to him would almost assuredly push the Nuggets over the salary cap for next season.

Robinson averaged 10.4 points in 19.7 minutes per game over 44 contests in his debut season with the Nuggets. The ninth-year veteran shot 37.7% from three-point range, slightly better than his career average of 36.4%.

Odds & Ends: Arthur, Murphy, Mekel

March 4 at 4:58pm CDT By Chuck Myron

Darrell Arthur isn’t completely sold on exercising his player option for next season, worth more than $3.457MM, but he’s strongly leaning toward picking it up and remaining with the Nuggets, as Chris Dempsey of the Denver Post observes.

“I’m just going to wait until the season is over with and talk to (Nuggets GM) Tim (Connelly) and see what’s up and go from there,” Arthur said. “But I’m looking forward to coming back here. I like it here. I feel like when we’re healthy, we have a great team to build with, and I want to be a part of it.”

Here’s more from around the NBA:

  • Former Jazz swingman Kevin Murphy received multiple NBA training camp invitations this past offseason, but he didn’t think any of them gave him a fighting chance to make an opening night roster, as he tells Cameron Schott of RealGM. Murphy has instead split the season between a French team and the D-League, where he’s putting up impressive numbers for the Idaho Stampede.
  • The Mavericks have sent Gal Mekel to the D-League, the team announced. It’s a rehab assignment, notes Dwain Price of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. The rookie point guard has missed the past 21 games for Dallas after having surgery on his right knee.
  • Bucks 10-day signee Tony Mitchell admits he has a “strange game,” but coach Larry Drew explains how it fits what the team was looking for. Charles F. Gardner of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has the details.
  • Even if Canisius point guard Billy Baron goes undrafted, several NBA teams say they’d invite him to training camp for next season, as Bleacher Report’s Ric Bucher writes.

Northwest Notes: Fredette, Butler, Nuggets

March 3 at 7:42pm CDT By Zach Links

Earlier today, Chuck Myron released the first edition of the 2014 Free Agency Power Rankings.  Jazz forward Gordon Hayward, who will be a restricted free agent this summer, comes in at No. 8 on the list.  Utah was unable to hammer out an extension with the soon-to-be 24-year-old before the season began and it seems like they’ll have to pay a hefty price to hang on to him this offseason.  More out of the Northwest..

  • It may come as a surprise, but Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports hears from a source that the Jazz never seriously pursued Jimmer Fredette.  The former BYU superstar was on the open market after being bought out by the Kings and, of course, wound up inking a deal with the Bulls.
  • Darnell Mayberry of The Oklahoman has a Q&A with the newest member of the Thunder, Caron Butler.  Within the interview session, the veteran touches on why he chose to join OKC and what he brings to the Western Conference power.
  • The Nuggets have a rising prospect waiting in the wings in Europe’s Joffrey Lauvergne, writes Christopher Dempsey of the Denver Post.  The 22-year-old, currently playing in Serbia, was selected with the 55th pick in last year’s NBA draft by the Grizzlies and traded to the Nuggets on draft night.  The 6-foot-11 power forward and center is turning heads with his stretch four skillset and three-point range.

Western Notes: Nash, Lawson, Mavs, Smith

February 28 at 11:53pm CDT By Cray Allred

Steve Nash worked hard to return to the court this season and eliminate the Lakers‘ ability to use the stretch provision, he reveals in a video at Grantland. Nash dispels the notion that he would consider joining the Clippers if the Lakers were to release him, saying, “It’s either back with the Lakers next year or this is it.” (Transcription via Bill Oram of Orange County Register on Twitter.) Here’s more from the Western Conference:

  • Timberwolves president of basketball operations Flip Saunders told Dan Barreiro of KFAN 100.3 that he’s confident coach Rick Adelman will complete this season with Minnesota (as transcribed by Andy Greder of St. Paul Pioneer Press on Twitter). Adelman contemplated leaving the Timberwolves prior to the season due to concerns over his wife’s health, and has spent time away from the team this year tending to her issues.
  • The Nuggets aren’t planning to shut down point guard Ty Lawson for the season, coach Brian Shaw tells Christopher Dempsey of The Denver Post. “Going forward, we’re pretty much out of the mix in terms of the playoffs, being realistic at this point. But you still want to see combinations of guys working together,” says Shaw. “Our young guys get a chance to have the focus a little more on them and play in combination with Ty, looking forward to the rest of the season and what possibly lies ahead for next season as well.” Lawson has battled multiple injuries this year, and is currently missing time due to a fractured rib while the Nuggets slide further out of contention. 
  • The Mavs have recalled Jae Crowder, Bernard James, and Shane Larkin from their D-League affiliate, while reassigning Ricky Ledo to the Texas Legends, reports Adam Wermuth of Mavs.com. This was the reversal of a one-game assignment/recall of the same players the Mavs made yesterday.
  • Rockets center Greg Smith is out indefinitely after undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery to repair a meniscus tear, reports Jenny Dial Creech of The Houston Chronicle. A lengthy recovery could put the rest of his regular season in jeopardy. The second-year big man played in 70 games for the Rockets last year, but injuries and Houston’s acquisition of Dwight Howard have limited Smith’s role this season.

Warriors Notes: Blake, Iguodala, Free Agents

February 28 at 11:11pm CDT By Cray Allred

The Warriors might have put the final nail in the coffin for the Knicks 2013/14 season with a dominant win tonight. Stephen Curry had a triple double to help the Warriors move past the Mavs into the 6th seed out west. Here’s more from Golden State:

  • The Warriors haven’t added anyone from the buyout/free agent market since the trade deadline like some of their Western Conference competitors, but coach Mark Jackson isn’t concerned about the lack of activity. He told reporters, including Rusty Simmons of The San Francisco Chronicle (Twitter links), that adding players is sometimes “too much” for an already-performing roster: “Sometimes the best move is no move.”
  • Steve Blake has been so impressed with the Warriors, he’s already thinking about re-signing in Golden State just a week after being traded there, he tells Diamond Leung of Inside Bay Area“I can’t lie. I wonder where I’ll be next year. If I had the opportunity to be here, I would love it,” says Blake. “I already knew from the outside that they were a special team. I didn’t realize what a great group of guys it was and how nice it is to play for [coach Mark Jackson]. Those are all things that I’ll be looking for, for a place I’d like to finish off my career at.” Blake is on the final year of his four-year, $16MM contract, and says he’s more interested in playing on the bench for a winner than getting a bigger role with a rebuilding team. “I don’t know if I want to go start on a team that’s going to win 20, 30 games that’s rebuilding. At this point in my career, I don’t think that’s what I’m looking for. If my role is to come off the bench like it is right now and contribute in that way and we’re winning, I’m all for it. That’s all I want to do is win right now, and I think this team has a chance to really do that.”
  • Curry told reporters before the game, including Brian Windhorst of ESPN (via Twitter), that the Warriors had a sign-and-trade deal for Andre Iguodala worked out with the Nuggets that fell through a week before Golden State eventually worked out a three-way arrangement with the Nuggets and Jazz.

Kings Agree To Buyout With Jimmer Fredette

February 27 at 5:52pm CDT By Chuck Myron

5:52pm: Fredette is “strongly leaning” towards joining the Bulls once he clears waivers, according to David Aldridge of NBA.com (Twitter link).

3:26pm: The Kings and Jimmer Fredette have reached agreement on a buyout, the team announced. Sacramento’s press release doesn’t specifically state that the team has placed him on waivers, but presumably that’s the case. The Kings and Fredette’s representatives with Octagon Sports have been engaged in buyout talks this week after Sacramento failed to find a new home for its former 10th overall pick before the trade deadline.

Fredette will likely become a free agent on Saturday, and the Cavs and Bulls appear to be the teams with the most significant interest in signing him. Fredette is reportedly cool on the idea of joining Cleveland and is strongly considering latching on with a playoff team from the Eastern Conference. Chicago is pursuing others on the buyout market, but its best shot at landing a player of note appears to be with Fredette. The Grizzlies had interest, but Fredette was leaning against signing with Memphis in the hours before the Grizzlies claimed Beno Udrih off waivers Thursday, likely short-circuiting any chance of Fredette ending up with them.

Sam Amico of Fox Sports Ohio nonetheless hears the Grizzlies, as well as the Nuggets, are intrigued, and he names the Jazz a likely suitor as well. The Cavs are a long shot, according to Amico.

It’s not clear how much of Fredette’s $2,439,840 salary he’s giving up in the arrangement. The Kings declined the fourth-year option on his rookie scale contract, so he was due to hit free agency this summer. He never lived up to his draft position in Sacramento, where he saw his playing time shrink with each passing season. Still, he’s shooting 49.3% from three-point range with a 16.5 PER this season in 11.3 minutes per game.

“This was a very tough decision, but we’re confident that the agreement reached today represents the most productive path forward, both for Jimmer and the Kings,” Sacramento GM Pete D’Alessandro said. “Echoing a sentiment that everyone who knows him appreciates about Jimmer, he’s a tremendous person and a consummate professional. We thank him for the meaningful contributions he made to the team and in the Sacramento community. On behalf of an entire organization, we wish him nothing but great success in the future.”

The move opens a roster spot, and a report earlier this week indicated the team was likely to fill it with a 10-day contract for fellow former first-round pick Royce White. Still, coach Michael Malone said Thursday that such a move wouldn’t be happening soon.

Eddie Scarito contributed to this post.

Jimmer Fredette, Kings Close To Buyout

February 27 at 10:31am CDT By Chuck Myron

10:31am: The Cavs are indeed interested in Fredette, according to a full story from Stein, who reiterates that the Bulls are also going after the sharpshooter. Stein hears Fredette is strongly considering a playoff-bound team in the East. Fredette and the Kings still haven’t reached agreement on a buyout, but that could happen as soon as today, sources tell Stein.

8:57am: The Cavs are unlikely to have interest in Fredette, unless today’s medical exams on the injured Dion Waiters and C.J. Miles go poorly, as Jason Lloyd of the Akron Beacon Journal explains. Fredette wouldn’t want to sign with Cleveland anyway, according to an earlier report (linked below).

THURSDAY, 8:19am: The Bulls are a contender with an outside chance at landing Fredette, Stein tweets

1:01pm: The former BYU star is leaning against signing with the Grizzlies, according to Stein (on Twitter).

12:12pm: Fredette doesn’t have interest in joining the Cavs, Amico hears (Twitter link). Amico suggested Tuesday that Cleveland could get involved with the former BYU star, but it appears that’s not going to happen.

WEDNESDAY, 11:41am: The buyout is on track to be complete today, tweets Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports.

TUESDAY, 1:00pm: The Grizzlies are in on Fredette, tweets Marc Stein of ESPN.com. Memphis has pursued Fredette via trade since last season, Stein adds in a second tweet.

11:46am: The Cavs had interest in Fredette before the trade deadline, too, tweets Sam Amico of Fox Sports Ohio, who suggests that Cleveland could be in the mix again, even though the trade talks didn’t make much progress. The Jazz have had no discussions about adding Fredette, a source tells Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports (Twitter link).

11:32am: Some in the Warriors front office are high on Fredette, but the team is unlikely to have interest in signing him if he becomes a free agent, according to USA Today’s Sam Amick (Twitter link).

9:20am: The Nuggets had “significant” talks with the Kings about Fredette before the deadline, Wojnarowski notes, pointing out that Denver elected to trade for Aaron Brooks instead (Twitter link). Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders identifies the Knicks as a “team to watch” in a potential race for Fredette, citing New York’s desire to add three-point shooting as well as potential legal trouble surrounding Raymond Felton (Twitter links). Felton was arrested overnight and faces three counts of criminal possession of a weapon.

8:51am: Jimmer Fredette and the Kings are nearing a buyout agreement, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports. Several teams are expected to have interest in signing the former 10th overall pick for the rest of the season.

Fredette had been a frequent subject of trade rumors, but the Kings couldn’t find a taker for his expiring contract, worth $2,439,840 this year. The Kings declined his 2014/15 option before this season began, setting him up for unrestricted free agency this summer. Now it appears he’ll hit the market even sooner.

The one-time college superstar at BYU has yet to approach that kind of success in the NBA, averaging 7.0 points in 15.0 minutes per game over two and a half seasons. His minutes and scoring have declined in both seasons since his rookie year, and his numbers are just 5.9 PPG and 11.3 MPG in 2013/14. He’s nonetheless improved his three-point accuracy every year, and is up to an impressive 49.3% this season, albeit on just 73 attempts.

The timing of the news is somewhat surprising, since the Kings traded Marcus Thornton to the Nets last week and announced this weekend that Jason Terry will miss the rest of the season, which might have opened up minutes for Fredette. Still, Isaiah Thomas, Ben McLemore and Ray McCallum are all still competing for backcourt playing time.