Denver Nuggets Rumors

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Nuggets, Will Barton Share Interest In New Deal

May 7 at 11:58am CDT By Chuck Myron

The Nuggets would like Will Barton to return, writes Christopher Dempsey of The Denver Post, and the shooting guard whose contract is up this summer tells Dempsey that he wants to be back in Denver, too, reiterating his earlier remarks. The team is expected to tender the $1,181,348 qualifying offer necessary to match any competing bids for him, according to Dempsey, who indicates that Denver and the Brian Elfus client are likely to wind up with a multiyear deal.

Barton saw sparse playing time with the Blazers over his first two and a half seasons in the league, but the deadline trade that sent him to Denver this February landed him on a rebuilding team with plenty of minutes to go around. He averaged 11.0 points on 9.0 shot attempts in 24.4 minutes per game over 28 appearances for the Nuggets, compiling a better-than-average 15.9 PER during that stretch.

I identified the 24-year-old among several players eligible for restricted free agency this summer with relatively even chances of being tendered a qualifying offer, but it appears the team is much higher on the former 40th overall pick than I figured. Barton struggles from the outside, having shot only 28.4% from three-point range in Denver and 23.0% for his career, but Dempsey observes that he helped the Nuggets play an up-tempo game, the sort of style the team seems to want its next head coach to implement. Interim coach Melvin Hunt had praise for Barton, but Hunt’s chances of remaining in his job for next season are unclear.

Wilson Chandler‘s partial guarantee of $2MM has jumped to a full guarantee of nearly $7.172MM, as Dempsey notes in a separate piece, so the Nuggets have about $53MM in commitments for next season, not counting a player option of nearly $2.855MM for Jameer Nelson. It remains to be seen what a new deal for Barton, who made the minimum this year, and the Nuggets would look like, but extending the qualifying offer to up his cap hold by a mere $200K would do little to impinge upon the team’s flexibility against a projected $67.1MM cap.

Latest On Tom Thibodeau, Bulls, Magic

May 5 at 3:43pm CDT By Chuck Myron

3:43pm: Bulls GM Gar Forman once more dismissed the idea of a rift between the coach and management, telling Vincent Goodwill of that, “We’re in total agreement with Tom that it’s all just noise.” Thibodeau had made a similar comment in Wojnarowski’s report.

11:31am: A parting of ways between the Bulls and coach Tom Thibodeau is “inevitable,” as Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports writes, though “maybe — just maybe” it will prove tougher to oust the coach from his job than to knock the Bulls out of the playoffs, Wojnarowski adds at the end of his column. Regardless, Bulls management is eager to be rid of Thibodeau, and its choice to replace him is Iowa State coach Fred Hoiberg, according to Wojnarowski. That largely falls in line with two reports from late last month, when Grantland’s Zach Lowe heard that people close to Thibodeau were convinced the Bulls would fire him at season’s end and Tim Bontemps of the New York Post wrote that many view Hoiberg as his likely replacement.

The Magic are waiting to see how the dynamic between Thibodeau and the Bulls plays out, Wojnarowski reports, just as many have been speculating, as Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel recently noted. It’s believed that the Bulls will seek some sort of compensation for letting Thibodeau out of his contract, which runs through 2016/17, to coach elsewhere, as Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders writes in his NBA AM piece. Kyler suggests that the Bulls wouldn’t demand as much as other teams have sought for coaches lately, given Chicago’s apparent eagerness to move on from Thibodeau, though the Basketball Insiders scribe also suggests the need to pony up compensation might dissuade Orlando from pursuing the coach. The Clippers relinquished  this year’s first-round pick for the right to hire Doc Rivers, and the Bucks gave up two second-round picks for Jason Kidd. Thibodeau is close with former Magic coach Stan Van Gundy, whom Orlando fired in 2012, Lowe points out, speculating that the dynamic could pose another hurdle to Thibodeau ending up with the Magic.

Former Thunder coach Scott Brooks is second behind Thibodeau on the Magic’s list of preferred candidates, sources tell Kyler, and the team is considering Warriors assistant Alvin Gentry, too, Kyler adds. Kyler hears the Magic, like the Nuggets, the other team with a coaching vacancy, have had “small informal talks” but that neither team is expected to begin formal interviews soon.

Thibodeau’s future with Chicago is in serious doubt in spite of support from Bulls star Derrick Rose, as Wojnarowski details. That backing has helped prolong Thibodeau’s stay in Chicago to this point, but it wouldn’t forestall the end for the coach this summer, Wojnarowski writes. Rose is also under contract through 2016/17.

Western Notes: Brooks, Dumars, Bonner, Draft

May 5 at 12:41pm CDT By Chuck Myron

The Nuggets are intensifying their search for a new coach this week after having spent the past few weeks focused on scouting and the draft, reports Christopher Dempsey of The Denver Post. They’ll likely chat with former Thunder coach Scott Brooks, among others, Dempsey writes amid a mailbag column, though it’s unclear if he’ll receive a formal interview. The hiring process is expected to last most if not all of May and GM Tim Connelly will collaborate with team president Josh Kroenke, son of owner Stan Kroenke, on the decision, as Dempsey details in his first piece. There’s more on the Nuggets amid the latest from around the Western Conference:

  • New rumors have surfaced suggesting that the possibility of the Pelicans hiring Joe Dumars remains in play for what would be a supervisory role above GM Dell Demps, Grantland’s Zach Lowe writes. Bleacher Report’s Ric Bucher first linked the former Pistons exec to New Orleans in January.
  • Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express-News lists Matt Bonner among the Spurs contemplating retirement. Bonner, who turned 35 last month, signed a one-year deal for the minimum to return to San Antonio last summer.
  • Dempsey believes that if Nuggets end up with the No. 7 pick, their likeliest first-round position as the lottery odds show, they’d try to trade it for a pick higher in the order or attempt to deal for a second top-seven pick, as the Post scribe writes in the mailbag column linked above.
  • Former Michigan State swingman Russell Byrd will be among the draft prospects at a workout the Jazz will hold Wednesday, sources tell Michael Scotto of SheridanHoops (Twitter link). Byrd is unlisted in the rankings that Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress and Chad Ford of compile.

Northwest Notes: Lawson, Matthews, Crabbe

May 3 at 9:52am CDT By Arthur Hill

Ty Lawson‘s days with the Nuggets may be numbered, according to Christopher Dempsey of The Denver Post. Lawson created a stir on Instagram last week when he responded to a question from a Mavericks fan about playing in Dallas with the phrase, “I wish.” The incident might not mean much on its own, but Dempsey points out that there were rumors this season that Lawson wanted out of Denver. He writes that Lawson was never comfortable in former coach Brian Shaw’s halfcourt offense, and that the constant losing wore him down. Dempsey charges that Lawson undermined Shaw by not playing as hard as he could and by having a series of off-court disciplinary problems.

There’s more news from the Northwest Division:

  • Free agent Wesley Matthews isn’t sure if he’ll be back in Portland next season, reports Kerrry Eggers of The Portland Tribune. Matthews, 28, is still rehabbing from surgery he had in March for a torn Achilles tendon. He will be among the top shooting guards on the market this summer. “So much stuff can happen between now and when free agency starts,” he said in response to a question about returning to the Blazers. “Ideally, perfect situation, yeah, who doesn’t want to go for the ideal, perfect situation? But right now, my focus is on getting [the foot] right.” Center Robin Lopez said he is “very open” to re-signing with Portland.
  • Allen Crabbe filled in effectively when the Blazers needed him, but still faces an uncertain future in the NBA, according to Jabari Young of  Crabbe appeared in 51 games this season and helped the team go 4-0 as a starter when Nicolas Batum was sidelined with an injury. But Crabbe’s contract for next year isn’t guaranteed, which means he will have to fight to earn a roster spot. “The offseason is really going to have to be a lot of focus on the things I need to improve on,” Crabbe said.
  • Billy Donovan’s biggest challenge as Thunder coach will be to get his stars to buy into his system, writes Royce Young of ESPN. At Florida, Donovan ran an NBA-style offense that emphasized trust over individuality, but NBA stars don’t necessarily like that approach to the game. Scott Brooks tried to invoke a similar philosophy last season, Young notes, but it was overwhelmed by injuries.

Southeast Notes: Magic, Vucevic, Hornets

May 2 at 8:41pm CDT By Arthur Hill

The slow pace of the Magic’s coaching search may be tied to the Bulls’ Tom Thibodeau, according to Josh Robbins of The Orlando Sentinel. Orlando hasn’t interviewed anyone for the opening since the season ended, and Robbins notes that many speculate the Magic are waiting to see if Chicago fires Thibodeau after its playoff run ends. The Nuggets are the only other NBA team with a coaching vacancy, and many league insiders say the Magic’s job is considered more attractive in coaching circles. So there is little pressure to fill the job right away, but that could change soon if Dwane Casey is fired in Toronto.

There’s more from the Southeast Division:

  • The four-year extension Nikola Vucevic agreed to in October should be a bargain for the Magic once the new television deal takes effect, Robbins contends in a separate story. Vucevic’s contract can be worth up to $53MM, which could be cheap for a productive center with the expected jump in the salary cap. The deal could eventually make Vucevic, the team’s leading scorer and rebounder this season, an attractive trade piece, but Robbins said he’s definitely in Orlando’s immediate plans. “They signed me here for the future, and that’s a responsibility I wanted: to be one of these leaders on the team,” Vucevic said.
  • An early-season ankle sprain was a bad omen for the Magic’s Kyle O’Quinn, writes Ken Hornack of Fox Sports Florida. The third-year player missed nearly a month with the ankle and was limited to just 51 games for the season. He will become a restricted free agent in July after making slightly more than $900K this year. “I don’t think that’s the biggest thing I have to worry about right now,” he said about free agency. “My biggest thing is being a better player, becoming more of a student of a game, getting back to where I need to be.”
  • The Hornets would like to own and operate their own D-League franchise, reports Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer. Eight teams currently have that arrangement with their D-League affiliates, while eight others fund the franchise and handle the basketball — but not the business — side of the operation. Charlotte officials have targeted seven cities in the Carolinas: Asheville, Charleston, Columbia, Fayetteville, Greensboro, Greenville (S.C.) and Raleigh. “We think this is a great opportunity for our basketball people to have complete autonomy and control of how that part of the business is run,” said team president Fred Whitfield.

Eastern Notes: Hennigan, Celtics, Magic

April 30 at 10:37pm CDT By Eddie Scarito

With a large stockpile of draft picks, ample cap space, and the popularity of coach Brad Stevens around the league, the Celtics appear to be in a position to have a strong offseason, as well as possess a legitimate shot to lure a big name free agent to Boston, A. Sherrod Blakely of writes. “We have to be a place where guys around the league will look at and say, ‘hey it can work to play in Boston, to play for Brad Stevens, play with those guys and play in front of those fans,’” co-owner Wyc Grousbeck told Blakely. “I think people are starting to take notice.

Here’s more from the Eastern Conference:

  • Multiple sources around the NBA told Blakely that the Celtics players who are most likely to garner trade interest this offseason are big men Kelly Olynyk and Jared Sullinger. The players who the team are least likely to deal are guard Marcus Smart and center Tyler Zeller, Blakely adds.
  • Magic GM Rob Hennigan‘s contract extension also includes a team option for the 2018/19 season, Josh Robbins of The Orlando Sentinel tweets.
  • The Thunder’s hiring of Billy Donovan helps the Magic in their own quest for a new head coach, Robbins writes in a separate article. With OKC now out of the coaching hunt, Orlando will now only have the Nuggets to compete with for available candidates, the Sentinel scribe notes.

Western Notes: Williams, Iske, Lawson

April 29 at 6:55pm CDT By Eddie Scarito

Monty Williams largely avoided talk about his future as Pelicans coach in his end-of-season press conference Tuesday, saying that his job status is not something he thinks too much about, as Jimmy Smith of The Times-Picayune relays (on Twitter). GM Dell Demps recently refuted a report that indicated the Pelicans made a playoffs-or-else mandate to Williams and Demps before the season. Owner Tom Benson sent a letter of congratulations Tuesday to Williams, Demps and their staffs for their work toward the team’s postseason berth this season, Smith observes in a full piece.

Here’s more from the Western Conference:

  • The Kings are finalizing an agreement with Sixers assistant Chad Iske for him to become associate head coach under George Karl, Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports reports. Iske had spent five years on Karl’s staff when Karl was coach of the Nuggets.
  • In a back-and-forth with fans on his Instagram account, Nuggets guard Ty Lawson said he was a superior player to Rajon Rondo, and indicated that he wished he played in coach Rick Carlisle‘s system with the Mavs, Marcel Mutoni of relays. Though Dallas will likely be in the market for a starting point guard this offseason, Lawson still has two seasons remaining on his deal with Denver.
  • Unrestricted free agent Charlie Villanueva says he wants to return to the Mavs next season, Earl K. Sneed of tweets. In 64 appearances with Dallas this season the 30-year-old averaged 6.3 points and 2.3 rebounds in 10.6 minutes per game.
  • Chandler Parsons says that he will act as a free agent recruiter for the Mavs this offseason, Michael Florek of the Dallas Morning News writes. “I’m officially shifting into GM mode,” Parsons said. “I have great relationships with a lot of guys that are out there. I have a great relationship with a lot of guys that are currently on our team, so as a guy that will be here for a while and as one of the key guys going forward I will definitely be talking to management. Anything I can do to help I’ll obviously do.

Chuck Myron contributed to this post.

2014/15 D-League Usage Report: Nuggets

April 28 at 8:00pm CDT By Eddie Scarito

The relationship between the NBA and the D-League continues to grow, and 17 NBA franchises currently have one-to-one D-League affiliates amongst the 18 D-League teams. The remaining 13 NBA teams shared the Fort Wayne Mad Ants this season. We at Hoops Rumors will be recapping each team’s use of the D-League this season, looking at assignments and recalls as well as the players signed out of the D-League. We’ll continue onward with a look back at how the Nuggets utilized the D-League during the 2014/15 campaign…

D-League Team: Fort Wayne Mad Ants

Affiliation Type: Shared

D-League Team Record: 28-22

Number of NBA Players Assigned To D-League: 1

Total D-League Assignments: 1

Player Stats While On Assignment

  • Erick Green: 1 assignment, 2 games, 21.0 PPG, 2.5 RPG, 3.0 APG. .517/.273/.900.

D-League Signings

  • None

Assignment/Recall Log

Northwest Notes: Nuggets, Freeland, Wolves

April 20 at 4:45pm CDT By Chuck Myron

There’s only one Northwest Division team in the playoffs, but it’s been a newsy day around the division, with the Thunder’s apparent interest in UConn coach Kevin Ollie as a possible replacement for Scott Brooks perhaps the most significant story. Concerns in the Blazers locker room about whether LaMarcus Aldridge will re-sign loom over Portland, while another team already has a coaching vacancy, and we’ll pass along the latest from Denver and other Northwest locales here:

  • The Nuggets would prefer a coaching veteran to fill their vacancy, as Sean Deveney of The Sporting News writes within a larger look at the offseason ahead in Denver. Ty Lawson is probably staying put, Deveney adds, and the same can be said for Jusuf Nurkic, whom the Nuggets regard as a steal a season after he was the 16th overall pick.
  • British-born Joel Freeland hasn’t played a large role for the Blazers in the three years since he came over from playing in Spain, but as his contract nears an end, he would prefer to remain in the NBA and with the Blazers, as he told Chema de Lucas of Gigantes Del Basket (translation via Mark Woods of Portland can match offers for Freeland in free agency this summer, but that only applies to offers from other NBA teams, not overseas clubs, and the Blazers would first have to tender a qualifying offer of nearly $3.767MM.
  • Flip Saunders said today that the Wolves will have a strong prospect regardless of whom they draft with their first-round pick, which could fall between No. 1 and No. 4, but Michael Rand of the Star Tribune figures the coach/exec must hope he can land a big man. Rand argues that’s because of the injury history of Nikola Pekovic, who’s under contract through 2017/18. Top two prospects Karl-Anthony Towns and Jahlil Okafor are big men and the players widely projected to go next are guards Emmanuel Mudiay and D’Angelo Russell. Saunders said he’ll draft the best available talent rather than for position.

Northwest Notes: Nuggets, Brewer, Garnett

April 19 at 10:51am CDT By Arthur Hill

Sources close to the Nuggets say money won’t be an obstacle in the search for a new coach, reports Christopher Dempsey of The Denver Post. He speculated that veterans like Mike D’Antoni and Alvin Gentry could be had at an annual salary of $3MM to $4MM, as the chance to coach again would be more important than haggling over a contract. If they want Billy Donovan, the Nuggets would have to top his $3.7MM salary at the University of Florida and handle his $500K buyout. GM Tim Connelly has stated that he would like to fill the coaching vacancy before the June 25th draft.

There’s more from the Northwest Division:

  • The Rockets’ Corey Brewer credits the Wolves for their help in finding him a new home, reports Brett Pollakoff of Pro Basketball Talk. Brewer, who has become an important reserve in Houston, said coach and president of basketball operations Flip Saunders helped him find his way to a playoff team with the December trade to Houston. We looked at the trade options,” Brewer said of Saunders, “he gave me permission to talk to teams, and it worked out perfectly.” Brewer said the Rockets and Cavaliers were his top choices.
  • Saunders is hoping to keep Kevin Garnett in Minnesota, according to Andy Greder of the St. Paul Pioneer Press. A sore knee has limited Garnett’s playing time since he was traded to the Wolves in February, but Saunders said the free-agent-to-be is working hard behind the scenes. “He is doing things right now to get ready to play [next season],” Saunders said.
  • After having the best week of his NBA career with the Jazz, Bryce Cotton is returning to the life of a fringe NBA player, writes Brad Rock of The Deseret News. Cotton had a 21-point game Monday against Dallas and scored 14 Wednesday against Houston, but because his contract isn’t guaranteed for next season, he’s looking forward to the summer leagues and a chance to keep proving himself.