Denver Nuggets

Eastern Notes: Jerebko, McRae, Dedmon, Hornets

Jonas Jerebko said he got several free agency phone calls after the clock struck midnight on July 1st, but he was glad that one of them came from Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge, according to Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe. Jerebko, who inked a two-year, $10MM contract with the Celtics, wanted to stay in Boston after being acquired from the Pistons in a February trade. “It was like proof that you had a good year,” Jerebko said of the calls from other organizations. “I had other teams interested, but after talking to Danny and the way we worked stuff out, this is where I wanted to be and we worked it out.” Jerebko averaged 7.1 points and 4.8 rebounds per game after the deal, both up from his numbers in Detroit.

There’s more from the Eastern Conference:

Northwest Notes: Nuggets, Papanikolaou, Jazz

Denver will drop to about $7MM below the salary cap once they officially waive Kostas Papanikolaou, former Nets exec Bobby Marks notes on Twitter. Marks adds that Milwaukee, Minnesota, Cleveland and Golden State have trade exceptions while Philadelphia and Portland have the cap space to claim the forward’s salary, which is worth slightly less than $4.8MM.

Here’s more from the Northwest Division:

  • If claimed, the 24-year-old’s contract will become guaranteed should he remain on the roster past October 4th. Any team that claims Papanikolaou off waivers cannot trade him until the 30th day of the regular season, as Marks notes on Twitter. With the season set to kick-off on October 27th, claiming the forward will not provide a potential suitor with the same type of valuable trade chip that the Nuggets previously possessed.
  • The Jazz didn’t sign any outside free agents because they didn’t want to block any of their young players’ development, Jonathan Tjarks of RealGM writes. Tjarks argues that most year-to-year improvements come from internal development rather than transactions in the offseason and the Jazz could end up being the team that improved the most due to their up-and-coming, young core.
  • Utah knew Enes Kanter was probably not going to be worth the mammoth contract he was set to receive this offseason and with the number of young players on the roster set to earn raises over the next few seasons, the team could not afford to add an ill-advised contract, Tjarks adds in the same piece.

And-Ones: Faried, Deng, DeRozan

The growing sense around the Nuggets is that the team wants to see if Michael Malone can mentor Kenneth Faried the way he reached DeMarcus Cousins with the Kings, and it seems highly unlikely that Denver will trade the power forward before the start of the season, writes Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • The Heat want to hold on to Luol Deng and see how well the team can play, sources close to the organization tell Kyler, but if Miami underwhelms, Kyler believes Miami would put Deng on the block.
  • The Raptors are not entertaining trades for DeMar DeRozan, sources close to the team informed Kyler.
  • The additions that the Clippers made this offseason to bolster their bench have made them the NBA’s most improved team heading into the 2015/16 campaign, opines Bradford Doolittle of (Insider subscription required). Doolittle also calls out the Hornets and Mavericks as teams that have made positive strides this Summer, while listing the Nets, Sixers, and Suns as franchises that have taken a step back this offseason.
  • With the NBA’s salary cap expected to increase dramatically next Summer there are a number of pending free agents who stand to benefit from the windfall, Kevin Pelton of (Insider subscription required) writes. Some under-the-radar players who can expect significant pay increases on their next contracts include Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (Hornets), Harrison Barnes (Warriors), Langston Galloway (Knicks), and Jordan Clarkson (Lakers), Pelton opines.

Chuck Myron contributed to this post.

Nuggets Expected To Guarantee Erick Green Salary

The Nuggets are expected to retain Erick Green through Saturday, when his non-guaranteed $845,059 one-year veteran’s minimum salary is scheduled to become partially guaranteed for $100K if he doesn’t hit waivers, reports Christopher Dempsey of The Denver Post (Twitter link). The 46th overall pick from two years ago projects as the third-string point guard behind rookie Emmanuel Mudiay and Jameer Nelson.

Green signed a three-year deal for the minimum last summer after he spent a year as a draft-and-stash prospect with Italy’s Montepaschi Siena. The former ACC Player of the Year from his time at Virginia Tech carved out only a limited role on the Nuggets as a rookie, averaging 3.4 points and less than an assist in 9.5 minutes per game. The now 24-year-old also spent a brief time on D-League assignment.

Denver is also expected to re-sign Darrell Arthur, as Dempsey reported earlier, and assuming his salary will be fully guaranteed, the Nuggets are poised to have 15 fully guaranteed salaries, the regular season roster limit. That means one of them will have to go for Green to stick into the regular season, and it seemingly makes chances remote that the Nuggets keep Kostas Papanikolaou past October 4th, when his $4.797MM non-guaranteed salary would become guaranteed.

Pacific Notes: Lieberman, Moreland, Durant

10:28pm: The Kings and Lieberman have reached an agreement, Lieberman tells Voisin (Twitter link).
7:29pm: The NBA will boast multiple female assistant coaches for the first time this season, as the Kings are expected to hire Hall of Famer and women’s basketball pioneer Nancy Lieberman to head coach George Karl‘s staff, reports Ailene Voisin of The Sacramento Bee. Kings VP of franchise and basketball ops Vlade Divac told Voisin today that he’ll make Lieberman an offer, and she said to Voisin that she’ll accept it.
“George and I talked about bringing her back after she helped us at summer league,” Divac said. “She was terrific. She brings a different dimension. I think [it’s] a nice opportunity for her.”
She’ll join Spurs assistant Becky Hammon, the head coach of the Las Vegas Summer League champs, who became just the second female NBA assistant coach ever last summer, and the first to hold such a position full-time. Lieberman has previously served as head coach of the Mavs D-League affiliate. Here’s more from around the Pacific Division:
  • The Kings decided one-year veteran Eric Moreland‘s playing style was too similar to that of No. 6 pick Willie Cauley-Stein, helping prompt Sacramento to waive Moreland on Thursday rather than guarantee his salary, as Shams Charania of RealGM writes. Jason Jones of The Sacramento Bee wouldn’t be shocked to see Moreland end up with Denver, where former Sacramento GM Pete D’Alessandro, who signed him to the Kings last year, works in the Nuggets front office, but Bill Herenda of CSN California heard early word suggesting that won’t happen (Twitter links).
  • The Warriors will surely chase Kevin Durant next summer, when he’s set for free agency, but realistically, they’d have to sign-and-trade for him, and such a deal would probably have to include Harrison Barnes plus more, as Tim Kawakami of the Bay Area News Group posits in a look at Golden State’s chances for the former MVP.
  • Golden State has promoted Luke Walton to lead assistant to replace Alvin Gentry, the team announced. Gentry became the head coach of the Pelicans earlier this summer. Walton joined the Warriors coaching staff last year.
  • The Suns have officially added Earl Watson, Nate Bjorkgren and Jason Fraser to their coaching staff, the team announced. Watson and Fraser come from the Spurs D-League team while Bjorkgren had coached Phoenix’s D-League affiliate. Chris Haynes of the Northeast Ohio Media Group first reported the addition of Watson, who helped with the Suns’ pitch to LaMarcus Aldridge, his former teammate with the Trail Blazers.

Contract Details: Powell, Mavs, Barton, Pacers

The terms of a contract between a newly acquired player and his team aren’t always immediately clear since clubs typically don’t release salary figures in official signing announcements. Below are some specifics on recently inked deals, all courtesy of Basketball Insiders’ Eric Pincus:

  • The precise value of No. 46 pick Norman Powell‘s three-year deal with the Raptors is $2,539,382, as Pincus shows (via Twitter). This season’s salary is the only one that exceeds the minimum.
  • Newly acquired Mavericks swingman John Jenkins’ 2015/16 minimum salary is fully guaranteed, according to Pincus (Twitter link), who also confirms Ian Begley of ESPNNewYork’s report that recent Dallas signee Maurice Ndour’s minimum-contract is guaranteed for the upcoming year.
  • Will Barton will make precisely $10,590,000 over the course of his new three-year deal with the Nuggets, Pincus relays on Twitter.
  • The Pacers’ three-year deal with Lavoy Allen is worth a total of $12.05MM, but it includes a team option in the final year of the deal, as Pincus notes on his salary page for Indiana.
  • Glenn Robinson III’s starting salary with the Pacers is for slightly above the minimum at $1.1MM, Pincus tweets. The minimum salary for a player with GRIII’s experience would be $845,059, as our glossary entry for the minimum salary exception shows.

Chuck Myron contributed to this post.

Nuggets Sign Nikola Jokić

JULY 28TH, 12:26pm: The signing is official, the Nuggets announced. For more details on the contract, click here.

JULY 14TH, 8:34am: The Nuggets have yet to make an official announcement, but the signing has taken place, according to the RealGM transactions log.

JULY 13TH, 11:09am: The four-year deal is worth $5.5MM, reports Marc Stein of, who indicates that Jokić has already signed the deal. The team has yet to make any formal announcement (Twitter links).

JULY 10TH, 11:28am: It’s a four-year deal with an option on year four, agent Misko Raznatovic tweets (hat tip to Sportando’s Enea Trapani). It’s not clear whether that’s a team or player option. The team still hasn’t made any formal announcement.

JUNE 30TH, 12:12pm: The Nuggets are finalizing a fully guaranteed three-year contract with Nikola Jokić, whom Denver drafted 41st overall last year, reports Shams Charania of RealGM (Twitter link). Christopher Dempsey of The Denver Post wrote in May and again on Twitter today that Denver was expected to sign the 6’10” center before summer league, but it wasn’t clear just what sort of deal he would be getting.

Jokić had been insistent on a long-term deal, but he was enthusiastic about the prospect of joining Denver and had begun making it known he was on his way there, as David Pick of chronicled. The 20-year-old averaged 16.5 points, 9.7 rebounds in 29.5 minutes per game for KK Mega Vizura in his native Serbia this past season.

Denver has about $53MM in guaranteed salary against a projected $67.1MM cap, so the Nuggets could open cap space and sign Jokić into that. Otherwise, they’d have to use the $5.434MM mid-level exception on him. Either way, the signing couldn’t become official until next week, when the July Moratorium is over.

Latest On Carlos Boozer

The Knicks, Rockets and Mavericks continue to have interest in signing Carlos Boozer, league sources tell Michael Scotto of SheridanHoops (Twitter link). Scotto first identified the Knicks as among the teams eyeing the Rob Pelinka client earlier this month, though Marc Berman of the New York Post reported soon thereafter that the Knicks had engaged in internal conversations about him but hadn’t made a formal pursuit. Chris Broussard of pegged the Mavs and Rockets as among the teams in on Boozer just before free agency began, while Broussard later heard that the Mavs were one of four teams in talks with the former All-Star.

The Knicks and Mavericks have access to the $2.814MM room exception. The Rockets are in a tough spot, since they only have roughly $2.3MM left on their mid-level exception to spend but would trigger a hard cap if they gave any of it to Boozer. Houston also has No. 32 pick Montrezl Harrell who remains unsigned.

Several other teams, including the Clippers, Spurs, Raptors, Pelicans, Nuggets, Nets, Lakers and Heat, have reportedly been interested in Boozer over the last month, but it’s unclear if any of them remain in the mix. Boozer and the Clippers reportedly had mutual interest.

Warriors To Sign Ian Clark

The Warriors have agreed to sign two-year veteran shooting guard Ian Clark, reports Shams Charania of RealGM (Twitter link). Golden State and the David Mondress client are still negotiating terms, but Clark has committed to the team, Charania adds. Golden State is limited to paying him the minimum salary, so it would seem the back-and-forth would be over length and the amount of guaranteed money. He became an unrestricted free agent after the Nuggets decided against making a qualifying offer of about $1.147MM.

Clark, 24, had hoped the Nuggets would re-sign him after his summer league performance, in which he averaged 13.4 points per game and made 12 of 24 total three-point attempts, but Denver renounced its rights to him to clear cap room. That didn’t preclude the team from re-signing him, but it did make it seem to make the possibility less likely. Denver claimed him off waivers from the Jazz late last season, apparently with the idea of keeping him for this year, but it appears that plan didn’t work out.

Golden State has 13 guaranteed contracts, leaving room under the 15-man regular season roster limit for the team to give one to Clark. The Warriors have a connection with him that dates back to the Las Vegas Summer League in 2013, when a 33-point outburst in the championship game helped him secure a contract with the Jazz. He’d gone undrafted out of Belmont earlier that summer.

Do you think Ian Clark has a shot to make the rotation for the Warriors this year? Leave a comment to let us know.

Emmanuel Mudiay Signs With Nuggets

The Nuggets have signed No. 7 overall pick Emmanuel Mudiay, as Mudiay revealed on his Twitter account. The team hasn’t made a formal announcement, but it did tacitly acknowledge the signing on Twitter.

Courtesy of USA TODAY Sports

Courtesy of USA TODAY Sports

Mudiay can receive a maximum of $3,102,240 in the upcoming season and $3,241,800 in 2016/17 with a total of $14.02MM over the next four seasons, as our chart of likely salaries for first-round picks shows. The point guard, who played in China last season after originally committing to SMU, was expected to be a top-five pick leading up to the draft before he slipped to the Nuggets’ spot in the lottery.

With veteran Jameer Nelson the only other viable option on the roster, Mudiay is expected to be the team’s starting point guard in his rookie season. As GM Tim Connelly told Christopher Dempsey of the Denver Post, the main concern with Mudiay is not playing him too much.

“I think it’s certainly a slippery slope,” Connelly said. “If you look at a lot of the elite players, they were thrown to the wolves early. Their early failures led to big-time success down the road. There’s going to be nights when Emmanuel is going to look like a 19-year old, and hopefully there’s nights where he looks like one of the elite point guards in the league. But we’re not going to put too much pressure on him. We’re going to kind of let it happen organically. And having a guy like Jameer [Nelson] behind him makes the transition that much easier.”

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