Denver Nuggets

Northwest Notes: Lawson, Hanlan, Raduljica

The Nuggets are “firmly behind” point guard Ty Lawson despite his ongoing struggles with alcohol and problems with the law, writes Christopher Dempsey of The Denver Post. Denver GM Tim Connelly issued a statement of support after Lawson was sentenced Friday to alcohol rehab by a Denver judge on a DUI charge. “When one of our guys goes through some issues we support him as a family, and we’re going to stand behind him,” Connelly said. “I don’t want to comment too much on what’s going on in his personal life, but when any of our guys has an issue we all have an issue. And we want to stand firmly behind him.” It was reported earlier this week that the Rockets, Pistons and Lakers have expressed interest in acquiring Lawson.

There’s more from the Northwest Division:

  • Utah’s Olivier Hanlan faces a big decision now that summer league is over, according to Jody Genessy of The Deseret News. Hanlan will probably receive a one-year, non-guaranteed contract offer later this summer, which the Jazz must tender to retain his NBA rights. Hanlan can either sign the offer and compete for a roster spot in training camp or he can leave it unsigned — becoming a “stash” player whose rights are retained by the Jazz — and seek a job with a foreign team or in the D-League. Utah already has four point guards under contract, so heading overseas may be Hanlan’s best option. “My agent knows all of this,” he said of Michael Tellem. “He’s been going back and forth with the Jazz. I’ll sit down with him. I’ll know a bit [more] in the next few days.”
  • Miroslav Raduljica, who played briefly with the Wolves last season, tweeted that he will play for Panathinaikos in the Greek League for the next two seasons. The Serbian signed two 10-day contracts with Minnesota in January and appeared in five games, scoring eight points and grabbing five rebounds.
  • Blazers coach Terry Stotts liked what he saw out of his collection of young players during summer league, according to Mike Richman of The Oregonian. Portland’s summer league standouts were Noah Vonleh, who was acquired in a June 24 trade with Charlotte, and Allen Crabbe, who played 51 games for the Blazers last season.

Western Notes: Clippers, Gasol, Lawson

Mavs owner Mark Cuban, during an appearance on “The Afternoon Show with Cowlishaw and Mosley” (h/t Dallas Morning News), said that he did everything possible to land free agent DeAndre Jordan, who spurned Dallas to re-sign with the Clippers. “Well no initially you do [look back on it], ‘What could we have done differently?’ and you go through the whole process and unless we just held him hostage, there’s nothing we could have done,” Cuban said.

I mean literally Monday night I was texting him back and forth talking about players. He was asking for Mavs gear. Monday night everything was fine,” Cuban continued. “Tuesday morning everything wasn’t. And then we flew to — I flew to Houston, and then the next day I was with his agent the whole time. And in my mind, I’m like, ‘of course the guy’s going to want to see his agent and is going to meet with him face-to-face and if he changes his mind, that’s great, but at least he’ll have the counsel of his agent to guide him through it.’ And so if I’m standing there talking to his agent, at least I’ll have a sense of what’s going on. He would text his agent, I don’t know if he actually called him, but he definitely texted him while he was sitting next to me, but he never saw him at all the entire night. I don’t know what else I could have done.

Here’s more from around the Western Conference:

Chuck Myron contributed to this post.

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 Eurobasket.com (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).

Kings Rumors: Rondo, Cousins, Mbah a Moute

Rajon Rondo had wanted to play with DeMarcus Cousins for a while, writes Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders, who hears from the point guard about just how enticing the chance to play with his fellow former Kentucky Wildcat is.

“What made me comfortable is them having the best big man in the game,” Rondo said of Cousins. “It was a pretty easy decision. I think he’s definitely an MVP candidate and I look forward to playing with him and helping him grow as a player.”

Of course, plenty of rumors suggest Cousins isn’t long for Sacramento, but Rondo told Kennedy that he thinks much of the reported acrimony between Cousins and coach George Karl has been overblown. Rondo had plenty of kind words for the Mavericks despite his turmoil in Dallas, but he makes it clear he’s excited about Sacramento. There’s more on Rondo amid the latest from the California capital:

  • Rondo’s one-year contract with the Kings is worth $9.5MM, according to Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders (Twitter link).
  • Michael Malone said he felt “awful” for Tyrone Corbin, who guided a struggling Kings team after Sacramento fired Malone as coach in December last year, but the new Nuggets coach also told Grantland’s Zach Lowe that the Kings’ losing ways under Corbin “validated the job that my staff and I did.”
  • Malone also dished to Lowe on his relationship with Cousins. “That relationship was constant work. Constant. But we came to a deep respect,” Malone said in part.
  • The Kings had signed Luc Mbah a Moute for $1.55MM, an above-minimum salary, before voiding his contract Thursday because he failed his physical, Pincus tweets.
  • Kings coach George Karl said he and management wanted to re-sign Derrick Williams but simply couldn’t afford him, as the coach tells Marc Berman of the New York Post. A source close to Karl who spoke to Berman nonetheless impugned Williams’ basketball IQ and said Karl tore into the forward on one occasion for his lack of rebounding. Williams left for a two-year, $8.8MM deal with the Knicks. “It was more of fitting the finances and making the finances work,’’ Karl said. “There are other pieces we wanted and we couldn’t have enough money for him.’’

Rockets, Pistons, Lakers Interested In Ty Lawson

The Rockets, Pistons and Lakers are among the teams that have expressed interest in Ty Lawson lately, league sources told Chris Mannix of SI.com, who suggests that their interest persists in spite of Lawson’s arrest on suspicion of DUI this week. The possibility that the Nuggets trade Lawson this offseason remains strong, Mannix adds. The point guard’s talent continues to hold intrigue to teams around the league, as Mannix explains.

The news is nonetheless surprising, and conflicts with a report from earlier this week indicating that teams were showing little interest, at best, in Lawson even before the arrest, which was his second DUI-related arrest in six months. Denver was asking for a first-round pick and a young player in talks, as Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports wrote in that dispatch, while Yahoo Sports colleague Adrian Wojnarowski heard that teams had been waiting, prior to the arrest, for the Nuggets to lower their price for Lawson.

A league source tells Mannix that Kings coach George Karl would welcome Lawson in Sacramento, echoing just what a person familiar with Karl’s thinking told Bleacher Report’s Howard Beck in February. Still, Lawson’s off-court issues were a significant reason why the Kings weren’t willing to give the Nuggets the No. 6 pick when they spoke with Denver about Lawson before the draft.

Lawson’s troubles extend beyond his legal woes. He was late reporting back to the Nuggets after the All-Star break, and GM Tim Connelly publicly implored him to “grow up.” The Nuggets used their first-rounder, at No. 7, on point guard Emmanuel Mudiay, a move that prompted an incredulous reaction from Lawson when he was watching on television.

The Nuggets are set to pay Lawson more than $12.404MM this season and more than $13.213MM in 2016/17, though Mannix suggests he’s more of a bargain than those figures may indicate, given the escalating salary cap. Still, he’d be an awkward fit in Detroit, where the Pistons just made a lucrative commitment to Reggie Jackson and traded this week for backup point guard Steve Blake. Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press surmises that if Detroit had interest, that’s probably no longer the case (Twitter link). The Lakers drafted point guard D’Angelo Russell No. 2 overall last month, so there’s little logic behind a Lawson pursuit on their account, either. The Rockets just re-signed Patrick Beverley, though his deal is worth just $23MM over four years.

Nuggets Seek Danilo Gallinari Extension

The Nuggets recently agreed upon a contract renegotiation and extension with forward Wilson Chandler, and now the team intends to open talks regarding an extension with Danilo Gallinari, Christopher Dempsey of The Denver Post reports. Gallinari is entering the final year of his contract, during which he is scheduled to earn $11,559,225, and the Italian will be eligible to become an unrestricted free agent after the completion of the 2015/16 campaign.

With the Nuggets currently over the salary cap, any extension would likely need to be structured to kick in at the start of the 2016/17 season, similar to what Kenneth Faried did a year ago with his four-year, $50MM extension, Dempsey notes. Going this route wouldn’t allow Gallinari the sort of raise that Chandler got in his renegotiation. A straight extension would limit Gallinari to a starting salary of no more than 7.5% of what he’s making this season, with raises of no more than 7.5% for the life of the extension. The extension can also carry no longer than three years from the end of his current deal.

Gallinari has struggled with injuries throughout his career, and he has only appeared in more than 60 games in just three of his six NBA seasons. The 26-year-old only made it onto the court 59 times during the 2014/15 campaign, notching averages of 12.4 points, 3.7 rebounds, and 1.4 assists, with a slash line of .401/.355/.895. His career marks since being the No. 6 overall pick back in the 2008 NBA Draft are 14.2 PPG, 4.5 RPG, and 1.8 APG.

Northwest Notes: Lawson, Wolves, Montero

The Nuggets were requesting a first-round pick and a young player in trade talks about Ty Lawson days before his latest DUI-related arrest, reports Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports. Opposing teams were showing little to no interest, Spears adds, advancing a report from Yahoo Sports colleague Adrian Wojnarowski, who said that clubs were waiting for Lawson’s price to come down. Now, after the arrest, the Nuggets are in a position where they’re better off waiting for Lawson’s value to bounce back, an assistant GM tells Spears. We asked for your feedback about Lawson on Wednesday night. There’s more on the Nuggets amid the latest from around the Northwest Division:

  • Denver is scanning for trades that provide greater financial and roster flexibility, league sources tell Christopher Dempsey of The Denver Post. The search is unrelated to Lawson, as Dempsey makes clear. In any case, the report would suggest that the Nuggets are looking to unload a player in a deal that doesn’t bring back anyone in return.
  • Coach/executive Flip Saunders, with the $2.139MM biannual exception and roughly $1.7MM left on the mid-level exception, sounds open to adding a veteran point guard to the Timberwolves, according to Kent Youngblood of the Star Tribune (Twitter link via Tribune scribe Jerry Zgoda).
  • The Timberwolves had their choice of three trade exceptions with which they could take in Damjan Rudez from the Pacers, and Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders says they used the $1.5MM Ronny Turiaf exception to do so (Twitter link). That reduces the Turiaf exception, which expires December 19th, to $350,500, essentially exhausting its value.
  • The Oregonian’s Mike Richman chronicles the unusual journey of Luis Montero to his partially guaranteed contract with the Blazers, adding the Knicks, Sixers, Suns and Thunder to the list of teams that previous reports indicated he worked out for prior to the draft.
  • A virtually unusable $88K sliver of the Thunder‘s Thabo Sefolosha trade exception expired Wednesday. Oklahoma City used most of what was originally a $4.15MM exception to trade for Dion Waiters in January.
  • Jazz power forward Trevor Booker‘s salary, which had been partially guaranteed for $250K, is now fully guaranteed for $4.775MM, as our list of salary guarantee dates shows.

Western Notes: Cousins, Levien, Montero

Kings coach George Karl admits talking hypothetical DeMarcus Cousins trades “behind closed doors,” but Karl tells Ken Berger of CBSSports.com that he rejects the notion that he was actively trying to trade the center.  “As a coach, in meetings every year and maybe four or five times a year, you talk about what-ifs,” Karl said. “And 99% of what-ifs never happen. But isn’t it our job to talk about what-ifs? Does this make us better? Does this get us in a better place? That’s our job. There was never a discussion in that area even close to happening, in my opinion. … Never in the whole time of this experience did I ever think that I wasn’t going to coach Cuz.

Here’s what else is happening around the Western Conference:

  • Jason Levien has become an unofficial adviser to Kings owner Vivek Ranadive, Scott Howard-Cooper of NBA.com tweets. Levien was formerly the CEO of the Grizzlies, as well as a former Sacramento assistant GM, Howard-Cooper notes.
  • The Wolves were able to create a traded player exception worth $5MM as a result of dealing Chase Budinger to the Pacers, Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders notes (Twitter link).
  • Danny Green said that LaMarcus Aldridge contacted him during the free agent process to pick his brain about the Spurs, Jeff McDonald of The San Antonio Express News tweets. Green also noted that the possibility of playing alongside Aldridge factored heavily into his decision to re-sign with the Spurs, McDonald adds.
  • The Trail Blazersdeal with Luis Montero is a three year arrangement with the first season partially guaranteed, according to former Nets executive Bobby Marks (Twitter links).
  • The Thunder have removed forward Steve Novak from the trading block, Chris Mannix of SI.com relays. OKC was reportedly seeking financial relief and was willing to flip Novak in exchange for a future draft pick.
  • Wilson Chandler‘s contract renegotiation and extension with the Nuggets will pay him $10.4MM in 2015/16, $11.2MM for 2016/17, $12.0MM in 2017/18, and $12.8MM during the final season, Pincus notes (Twitter links).

Chuck Myron contributed to this post.

Northwest Notes: Lawson, Garnett, Ingles

Ty Lawson was arrested early this morning on suspicion of DUI, his second DUI-related arrest in six months, report Jesse Paul and Christopher Dempsey of The Denver Post. Lawson’s name has come up frequently in trade chatter since before the February deadline, and the teams with interest were waiting for Denver to reduce its price for the point guard, tweets Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports, adding that today’s news devastates Lawson’s trade value. The Kings were reportedly one of those teams eyeing him and spoke with the Nuggets before the draft, but his off-court issues were a major reason why Sacramento wasn’t willing to give up the No. 6 pick in exchange for him, according to Jason Jones of The Sacramento Bee (Twitter link).

Here’s the latest out of the Northwest Division:

  •  Jazz GM Dennis Lindsey said that the team’s roster is relatively set for the 2015/16 season, but the team could look to use its available cap space at the trade deadline to add a player who could help the team, Jody Genessy of The Deseret News relays (Twitter links).
  • Joe Ingles‘ base salary with the Jazz on his new contract is $4.1MM but can he increase that payout to $4.4MM via $150K per season worth of performance-based incentives that are included in his deal, Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders relays (Twitter links). This makes Ingles’ cap number for the 2015/16 season $2.15MM, as the NBA deems $100k worth of the incentives likely to be attained, and his 2016/17 cap number will range from $2.05-$2.20MM, Pincus adds.
  • Kevin Garnett‘s two-year deal with the Timberwolves will pay him $8.5MM for the 2015/16 campaign and $8MM in 2016/17, Pincus tweets.

Chuck Myron contributed to this post.

Nuggets Re-Sign Jameer Nelson

Courtesy of USA Today Sports Images

Courtesy of USA Today Sports Images

TUESDAY, 8:37am: Denver hasn’t made any formal announcement, but the signing has taken place, as the RealGM transactions log shows.

11:15am: It’s worth $13.5MM over the three years, according to Marc Stein of ESPN.com (Twitter links). Grantland’s Zach Lowe suggests that a partial guarantee is on the final season (Twitter link). Stein also indicates that Nelson has already put pen to paper, though the team has made no official announcement . That, combined with Nikola Jokic‘s pact, would leave less room for the starting salary in Wilson Chandler‘s new deal. We discussed some of the numbers involved for Chandler right here.

MONDAY, 10:39am: The Nuggets and Jameer Nelson have an agreement in principle on a new three-year deal, reports Shams Charania of RealGM (Twitter link). The point guard last month turned down a player option worth nearly $2.855MM that would have kept him under contract with the Nuggets through this coming season, but his new arrangement appears to tie him to Denver for a longer period of time. Several contenders also expressed interest in the 33-year-old, but new coach Michael Malone said Sunday that a deal would get done, Charania writes.

The general expectation was that Denver would re-sign the Steve Mountain client, as Christopher Dempsey of The Denver Post reported when free agency began. Earlier, Dempsey had identified the Nuggets’ choice of coaches as one of the determining factors Nelson would use to decide whether to return, and while Nelson was fond of interim coach Melvin Hunt, as many Nuggets were, the team’s hiring of Malone apparently wasn’t a turn-off.

Keeping Nelson around long-term provides a measure of insurance for the Nuggets in case they deal trade candidate Ty Lawson, whose contract runs through 2016/17. It provides a degree of stability for Nelson, who twice found himself in trades after signing with the Mavericks last summer. Dallas sent him to the Celtics in the Rajon Rondo swap, and Boston flipped him to Denver in exchange for Nate Robinson. Denver could still trade Nelson as soon as December 15th, but the team appears committed to him.

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