Denver Nuggets Rumors

Nuggets Discuss Potential Randy Foye Trades

January 13 at 11:36pm CST By Chuck Myron

The Nuggets are engaged in trade talks regarding Randy Foye, as Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com writes at the bottom of a story about today’s Celtics-Nuggets trade. Windhorst echoes a Monday report from ESPN colleague Ramona Shelburne indicating that the team is fielding multiple inquiries about Arron Afflalo.

Foye hasn’t played since November 23rd as he recovers from a torn ligament in his right quadricep. The 31-year-old is making $3MM this season, but he’s on a de facto expiring contract, since his $3.135MM salary for 2015/16 is non-guaranteed. The Celtics have been seeking expiring deals from the Clippers in return for Austin Rivers, though it would seem that if Boston had interest in Foye, the Celtics and Nuggets would have made him part of an expanded Robinson-Nelson swap.

Denver has been active of late, receiving a pair of first-round picks in last week’s deal that sent Timofey Mozgov to the Cavs and shipping Nate Robinson to Boston for Jameer Nelson earlier Tuesday evening. The Nuggets are also making a hard push to trade Wilson Chandler, as TNT’s David Aldridge reported early Tuesday. The acquisition of Nelson appears to be a move with an eye on the present, in contrast to the future-focused Mozgov deal. The Nuggets are just 17-20, but they have won four in a row and are just two games in the loss column behind the Suns, who occupy the final playoff position in the Western Conference. Nelson will presumably move into the backup point guard role that Robinson had occupied and that Foye would man at times if he were healthy. Robinson is reportedly expected to reach a buyout deal with the Celtics, and Windhorst suggests that the Cavs are among the teams interested in him should he hit free agency.

Celtics Acquire Nate Robinson

January 13 at 8:18pm CST By Eddie Scarito

8:18pm: The trade is official, both the Celtics and the Nuggets have announced. Judging by Denver GM Tim Connelly‘s statement in the press release, the Nuggets intend to keep Nelson. “We are excited to add a player of Jameer’s caliber to our roster,” said Connelly. “We have no doubt that his experience and veteran leadership will be of value to our team.

NBA: Denver Nuggets at Minnesota Timberwolves5:05pm: The Celtics are close to acquiring guard Nate Robinson from the Nuggets, Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports reports (Twitter link). Boston will be sending Jameer Nelson to Denver in return, Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports tweets. Nelson had been acquired from Dallas in the deal for Rajon Rondo, but didn’t fit into Boston’s long-term plans. Robinson is expected to reach a buyout arrangement with the Celtics, Spears adds (Twitter links). The Nuggets will not be sending any draft picks to the Celtics in this deal, Spears also notes.

Robinson, the diminutive point guard out of Washington University, is a potential candidate to be signed by the Clippers if he is released, Wojnarowski tweets. Denver had discussed a deal with Los Angeles for Robinson in recent weeks, though no arrangement could be agreed upon, Wojnarowski notes. Robinson is set to become an unrestricted free agent this summer, and is making $2,106,720 this season.

The Clippers had also been reported to be in pursuit of new Celtic Austin Rivers and continue to try to acquire him even in the wake of this deal for Boston, tweets Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders. Los Angeles has reportedly engaged in talks to send out Jordan Farmar, so a separate deal for Rivers could still be possible. The Clippers are also looking to unload Reggie Bullock to clear cap space under their hard cap, Pincus reports (Twitter link).

In 33 games for the Nuggets this season, Robinson has averaged 5.8 points, 1.2 rebounds, and 2.3 assists in 14.1 minutes per contest. His career numbers over nine seasons in the league are 11.1 PPG, 2.1 RPG, and 3.0 APG. His career slash line is .424/.360/.796.

Nelson, 32, was also reportedly in talks to reach a buyout arrangement with he Celtics, since he was unhappy with his playing time since arriving in Beantown. In 680 career games Nelson has averaged 12.3 points, 3.1 rebounds, and 5.3 assists. His slash line is .439/.372/.816.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Heat, Clippers, Hornets Eye Arron Afflalo

January 12 at 5:39pm CST By Chuck Myron

The Heat, Clippers and Hornets have all discussed Arron Afflalo as the Nuggets field numerous trade calls on Afflalo and Wilson Chandler, reports Ramona Shelburne of ESPNLosAngeles.com (Twitter link). Afflalo has a player option for next season worth $7.36MM and was rumored to be interested in hitting the open market.

The Clippers were in discussions with the Celtics about acquiring shooting guard Austin Rivers. The team seems interested in adding depth at the guard position and there’s no word yet whether one move would exclude the other.

Charlotte has been linked to Afflalo since last season when he was a member of the Magic. The Hornets have won five games in a row and find themselves just two games behind the Nets for the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference.

Miami is already in position to make the playoffs but would most likely need to add reinforcements if the team is to make any sort of deep postseason run. Mario Chalmers ($4.0MM) or Chris Andersen ($5.38MM)  seem like candidates to be in a trade for Afflalo based on their salaries, although that is just my speculation.

Afflalo is having a rough season so far. He is averaging 15.5 points per game and his player efficiency rating is down to 12.75. However, based on his past history, he should have plenty of interest from teams as the trade deadline approaches.

Chris Crouse contributed to this post

Northwest Notes: Waiters, Nurkic, Millsap

January 11 at 8:57am CST By Chris Crouse

New addition Dion Waiters will be the NBA’s latest reclamation project, writes Anthony Slater of The Oklahoman. The Thunder believe Waiters can help them overcome their early season deficit because his mentality is aligned with the team’s. “I’m excited about bringing Dion aboard,” teammate Kevin Durant said. “A guy that has a lot of toughness. Being from the East Coast, I know a lot about Philadelphia, South Philly, where he comes from. Those guys are tough and they play with an edge. And that’s what we need here.” Oklahoma City is 1-1 since Waiters joined the team and he is shooting 34.8% from the field in his first two games.

Here’s a look at the rest of the Northwest Division:

  • One of the beneficiaries of the Timofey Mozgov trade will be the new starting center for the Nuggets, writes Christopher Dempsey of The Denver Post. Jusuf Nurkics teammates are optimistic that the rookie can thrive in his new role. “He’s going to have to learn,” said guard Arron Afflalo. “It’s tough getting thrown in there under these circumstances. Sometimes when you become a starter in the NBA, it’s kind of earned over time or there’s a transition period within a summer or something. But to have a trade go down and suddenly you’re starting, it may be a lot for him, but he’s a maturing kid at this moment. He’s got a lot of tools and hopefully he takes advantage of this opportunity.”
  • Elijah Millsap, the newest member of the Jazz, is making a name for himself in Utah, writes Jody Genessy of the Deseret News. The younger brother of veteran Paul Millsap has played 71 minutes in three games and has shot the ball well from behind the arc since arriving in Utah on a 10-day contract. With his impressive play, another deal from the Jazz could be on the horizon for the 27-year-old rookie, but that is simply my speculation.
  • The Wolves are struggling this season and mental errors plague the young team, writes Andy Greder of the St. Paul Pioneer Press. Minnesota has lost 15 games in a row and currently resides in second place of our reverse standings with a record of 5-31.
  • LaMarcus Aldridge needs to be mentioned more often when discussing the best big men in the league, opines Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times. Turner argues that other players such as Blake Griffin, Anthony Davis and Kevin Love get unfairly mentioned ahead of Aldridge when the discussion of the best power forward in the league comes up. Griffin has never advanced farther in the playoffs than Aldridge has, while Davis and Love have yet to make the postseason. The Blazers currently sit atop the Northwest Division with a record of 29-8.

Bucher’s Latest: Kings, Pelicans, Cavs

January 9 at 1:10pm CST By Chuck Myron

It’s no secret that the Nets trio of Deron Williams, Brook Lopez and Joe Johnson are available on the trade market, and they’re among a long list of players that GMs say teams are open to trading as the February 19th deadline approaches, according Bleacher Report’s Ric Bucher. Jeff Green, Brandan Wright, Lance Stephenson, Greg Monroe, Brandon Jennings, Goran Dragic, Nik Stauskas, Ben McLemore, Jason Thompson, Arron Afflalo and most of the other Nuggets are also on that list, with Bucher, in many cases, confirming earlier reports. Still, Bucher hears plenty of new rumbles, as he passes along in his piece, and we’ll hit the highlights here:

  • Kings owner Vivek Ranadive unilaterally made the decision to fire former coach Michael Malone, sources tell Bucher, even though GM Pete D’Alessandro claimed the decision as his own. Most of the Kings organization was pleased with the direction the team was headed in and believed the team was overachieving, though there were doubts that Malone was the long-term solution, Bucher writes.
  • Ranadive wanted to make a splash with Malone’s successor, but Kings front office executives prevailed upon him to keep Tyrone Corbin as head coach, according to Bucher. Ranadive would relish the chance to turn the screws on the Warriors, of whom he used to be a part-owner, by hiring Mark Jackson, the ex-Warriors coach, a source tells Bucher, who nonetheless believes that the team won’t hire Jackson during this season.
  • Talk “circulating around the league” suggests that Pelicans owner Tom Benson is eyeing former Pistons president of basketball operations Joe Dumars and former Mavs and Nets coach Avery Johnson if he decides to make changes, Bucher writes. Still, Pelicans sources tell Bucher that the club hasn’t contacted either Dumars or Johnson, and that there are no signs that Benson is definitively displeased with either GM Dell Demps or coach Monty Williams.
  • Several executives from around the league don’t believe the pair of trades the Cavs made this week assure the team of any more than a second-round appearance, according to Bucher. One exec tells Bucher that the Cavs “overinflated” the market with what they gave up for Timofey Mozgov.

Western Notes: Nuggets, Lakers, Young

January 8 at 8:26pm CST By Eddie Scarito

The Nuggets, who finally decided to trade Timofey Mozgov, are realistic about their season being at a crossroads, Mark Kizsla of The Denver Post writes. We came into this season expecting to be a playoff team,” GM Tim Connelly said. “At this point, we’re on the outside, looking in. We probably have a couple weeks to change that, be relevant and view ourselves as a playoff-caliber team. I’m hopeful that’s the case. But I’m also realistic to know, and honest enough with our team internally, to say: If in a couple weeks, if that’s not the case, then we have a new reality. It’s now or never. The disappointment is real with where we stand. We’ll have all we need to know about this present roster within a few weeks.”

Here’s more from the West:

  • Fans of the Lakers and the Knicks shouldn’t get their hopes up that either team will be able to sign Rajon Rondo when he hits free agency this summer, since he’s unlikely to leave the Mavs, Michael Scotto of Sheridan Hoops writes. “Dallas will throw money at him and has a better chance at winning than the other two teams [Knicks and Lakers],” an Eastern Conference scout told Scotto.
  • Nick Young,who was a member of the Clippers for part of the 2011/12 season, said that his experience with the Lakers thus far has been the superior one of his time spent in Los Angeles, Bill Oram of The Orange County Register writes. “Being a Laker, there’s nothing like it,” Young said. “I think I learn more just being here and being around an atmosphere of winning, toughness and learning how to play under a great player like Kobe Bryant.
  • When asked about the declaration that the team would contend for a title within three years made by Lakers executive VP of basketball operations Jim Buss, coach Byron Scott was non-committal about the probability of that becoming a reality, Eric Pincus of The Los Angeles Times writes. “Our plan, when you talk about the organization, is to win the championship, that’s the bottom line,” Scott said. “I don’t know what the time frame is right now. Jeanie [Buss] and Jim, obviously that’s between them. I’ll let you know in September. That’s when training camp will start next year. We’ll have our free agents, our draft picks. I’ll get a pretty good idea of what we have at that particular time and let you know.

Cavs GM On Trades, Future, Waiters, More

January 8 at 12:15pm CST By Chuck Myron

The Nuggets got an “unbelievably good” return in the Timofey Mozgov trade, Cavs GM David Griffin told reporters, including Bleacher Report’s Ethan Skolnick, after giving up a pair of first-round picks to net the rim protector the team had sorely lacked. Still, Griffin is confident that he hasn’t given up on the future at the expense of the present, as he explained amid his chat with the media in the wake of the team’s second major trade in two days. Griffin spoke shortly before the trades, too, as we passed along, so it’s interesting to compare his remarks then to what he’s saying now. Skolnick as well as Dave McMenamin of ESPN.com and Chris Haynes of the Northeast Ohio Media Group round up Griffin’s post-trade comments, and we’ll share a few highlights here:

On balancing the present with the future:

“What I’m most proud of, and our front office staff is most excited about, is that we’ve put together a team that we believe can compete at the highest level. And we feel like we’ve done it without completely mortgaging the future. People look at the number of picks we’ve given away and everybody thinks, ‘Oh, my goodness, they’ve given away the farm!’ Well, we had an unbelievable farm, so we were putting it to work and we’re really pleased with where we are now. We’re going to make a first-round pick this year and we feel good about the situation we’re in.”

On the timing of the moves:

“We would have done all of these things much sooner if we could’ve. We’re fortunate that 35 games in for us, and 30-40 in for everybody else, people have now gotten to the point where they recognize the team they’re going to be. If we could have done this in training camp, we would have done the same thing.”

On relinquishing Dion Waiters to the Thunder:

“We liked Dion a great deal. I think what ended up happening for us is we got to a point where the fit of all the pieces we had, in terms of ball dominance, wasn’t as good as what we hope this trio can be. And moving forward, the fit of this group that we just got paired with what we had should be good enough, in terms of how they meld together.”

On his expectations in the wake of the trades:

“We want to win games. Nobody in this organization is satisfied with not winning. When I come up here and preach patience, I’m not saying let’s accept losing. That’s absolutely not what we’re doing. But in terms of being the best team we’re going to be, we have to acknowledge that it’s going to take some time for all of those things to jell and to be the best we can be. But we better be a [expletive] sight better than we’ve been right out of the chute. That’s what we expect to be. We’re not here to get to say we played. We’re here to win games. But to say that’s it’s got to look like a certain thing by a certain time, it’s just not fair.”

Cavs Acquire Timofey Mozgov

January 7 at 6:42pm CST By Chuck Myron

NBA: Los Angeles Clippers at Denver NuggetsThe Nuggets have traded Timofey Mozgov to the Cavs, the teams officially announced. Mozgov heads to Cleveland in exchange for the Grizzlies’ 2015 first-round pick and the Thunder’s 2015 first-round pick, both of which carry protections. The Nuggets send Cleveland the less favorable of the Bulls’ 2015 second-round pick and the Blazers’  2015 second-round pick. The Cavs are using the $5,285,816 Keith Bogans trade exception to absorb Mozgov’s $4.65MM salary. Cleveland had been carrying 14 players, so the Cavs won’t have to make a corresponding move.

Cleveland’s monthslong pursuit of the Nuggets center had lately progressed to “serious off-and-on” talks, as Grantland’s Zach Lowe wrote earlier this week. Sam Amico of Fox Sports Ohio heard recently that the Cavs were no longer receiving a “flat no” from Denver. Mozgov has a $4.95MM team option for next season, which gives whichever team holds his rights a degree of flexibility. The 28-year-old has started all 35 games for Denver this season, but the Nuggets had been drawing closer to the realization that they don’t have a true chance to make the playoffs this year, as Lowe also wrote this week.

The Cavs had also reportedly targeted Kosta Koufos, a backup center for the Grizzlies, but the need to acquire a starting-caliber pivot grew when Anderson Varejao was lost for the season with a torn Achilles tendon. Cleveland used the disabled player exception the league granted to compensate for that loss to accommodate Monday’s trade for J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert, leaving the Bogans trade exception available for the Cavs to nab Mozgov, as I explained. Cleveland also acquired the Thunder’s first-round pick in Monday’s trade and used it to strengthen the package for Mozgov, which was key in convincing Denver to make the move, as Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports writes. Denver can create a trade exception worth $4.65MM, the equivalent of Mozgov’s salary.

The Nuggets will get the Grizzlies’ first-rounder this year if it falls from pick No. 6 to pick No. 14. The same protection is in place for 2016, as Wojnarowski lays out in his story. The protection is only for the top five picks the following two years, and it’s unprotected for 2019, Wojnarowski adds. The Thunder’s pick is top-18 protected this year, top-15 protected in 2016 and 2017, and would become a pair of second-round selections if not conveyed by then, Wojnarowski notes.

Mozgov is in his first year as a full-time starter, averaging 8.5 points, a career-high 7.8 rebounds, and 1.2 blocks in 25.6 minutes per game. He’s not among the league leaders in any traditional category, including blocks per contest, but he gives the Cavs the serviceable rim-protector they’ve lacked since the start of the season. The Nuggets, who first acquired Mozgov in the 2011 Carmelo Anthony trade, receive two picks and the trade exception, assets the team can use to navigate the stacked Western Conference, where their 15-20 record has them in 11th place and five games out of a playoff spot. Teams have been reluctant to part with first-rounders, especially during the season, in recent years, so Nuggets GM Tim Connelly comes away with an unusual haul.

Wojnarowski reported in August that the Cavs and GM David Griffin had offered a first-round pick for the 7’1″ center, but the Nuggets resisted, seemingly hopeful that Mozgov would help them make a run to the postseason. The move clears space in Denver’s lineup for the team’s plentiful other big men, including this year’s first-round pick, Jusuf Nurkic, who’s seen only 13.4 MPG so far.

Photo courtesy USA Today Sports Images. Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports first reported the teams had reached an agreement in principle, while Marc Stein and Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com reported earlier that the sides were in advanced discussions and on course to complete a deal today. Wojnarowski reported the Cavs would send out the Grizzlies’ 2015 first-rounder and the Thunder’s 2015 first-rounder (on Twitter), while Jason Lloyd of The Akron Beacon Journal reported that the Cavs would receive a second-round pick (Twitter link).

Cavs Notes: Mozgov, Waiters, Shumpert

January 6 at 7:20pm CST By Eddie Scarito

The Cavs aren’t receiving a “flat no” when they ask the Nuggets about trading for Timofey Mozgov, as Sam Amico of Fox Sports Ohio hears. Cleveland picked up an asset for the future in the form of the Thunder’s protected 2015 first-round in Monday’s trade, and the Nuggets are reportedly drawing closer to the realization that they won’t make the playoffs this year.

Here’s more out of Cleveland:

  • Dion Waiters was displeased with what he construed as favoritism from Cavs brass toward Kyrie Irving, Amico reports in the same piece.
  • Iman Shumpert is the player that will benefit the Cavaliers the most from last night’s trade, but his durability remains a question, Terry Pluto of The Northeast Ohio Media Group writes. Pluto also declares Cleveland the clear winner in this trade, considering that it netted Shumpert, J.R. Smith, and a first-rounder, while not giving up that much in return.
  • Despite their newly acquired personnel, the Cavs haven’t changed all that much, Tom Ziller of SB Nation writes. Shumpert’s reputation as a defender may be inflated, Smith’s volatility could become an issue, and the team did nothing to address its primary weakness–interior defense, Ziller opines.
  • Waiters didn’t fit with the Cavs’ new, more accomplished and urgent core, and the team dealt him to acquire depth, perimeter defense, and future flexibility, Ethan Skolnick of Bleacher Report writes. The third-year guard wasn’t ready at his age, and at this stage of his career, to make the sacrifices to his game that the team required of him, and his style of play didn’t mesh well with the role the Cavs had placed him in, Skolnick adds.
  • Entering Monday night’s game, the Cavaliers didn’t have the roster of a team that could contend for an NBA championship, and the Waiters trade didn’t do much to change that, Michael Lee of The Washington Post writes. Until Cleveland acquires a rim protector, its fortunes aren’t likely to change despite the newly acquired players.

Chuck Myron contributed to this post.

Lowe On Cap, Raptors, Nuggets, Cavs, Love

January 6 at 2:18pm CST By Chuck Myron

Most league executives assume the salary cap will surge to around $90MM for the 2016/17 season, though they’re preparing for any eventuality, Grantland’s Zach Lowe writes. The cap’s at $63.065MM this year, so that means teams are in line for nearly 30% more spending power within the next two years, thanks to the NBA’s new $24 billion TV deal. Lowe has much more from around the league as teams peer into an uncertain future:

  • Raptors GM Masai Ujiri won’t say whether he’ll trade a first-round draft pick for someone who could help the team this season, but Ujiri tells Lowe that he “won’t make decisions that are going to shorten our growth and help us only this year.”
  • The Nuggets, Ujiri’s old team, appear to be closing in on the realization that the playoffs are out of reach, several league sources said to Lowe. That suggests that current Nuggets GM Tim Connelly is about to change his approach to the team’s roster this season, though that’s my own inference.
  • Chances are the Cavs will send a first-round pick out in a trade that brings back a center this season, Lowe writes in a separate piece. Cleveland maintains “serious off-and-on talks” with the Nuggets and Grizzlies about Timofey Mozgov and Kosta Koufos, respectively, according to Lowe.
  • Kevin Love has insisted on multiple occasions that he’s committed to the Cavs for the long term, but the Grantland scribe believes the All-Star power forward will undoubtedly survey the market in free agency this summer if conditions don’t improve in Cleveland. Love, who has a player option worth more than $16.744MM for 2015/16, is taking fewer shots this season than in any year since he became a full-time starter in 2010/11.