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Denver Nuggets

Several Teams Interested In Will Barton

The Wizards and Pelicans are among the teams to reach out to the Nuggets regarding the availability of Will Barton, Chris Haynes of ESPN.com reports (Twitter link). Haynes adds that the talks are simply exploratory at this point.

Barton is having a solid season, averaging 13.8 points and nearly a steal per game while making 36.8% of attempts from behind the arc. He missed 12 games earlier in the season because of an ankle injury, but he appears to be healthy at the moment.

The shooting guard started for the team in his first 13 games, but he was pushed back to the bench last week with Gary Harris returning to the lineup. In the three games since Harris returned, Barton has seen only 26.3 minutes per game, down from 31.6, which was his average while starting in Harris’ place. With Harris back and No. 7 overall pick Jamal Murray looming as the long-term option in Denver, Barton could see his further reduced as the season progresses.

Multiple teams reportedly offered the Nuggets a first-rounder in exchange for Barton over the summer, but Denver opted to keep the shooting guard. The 25-year-old is on a team-friendly deal, which pays him slightly over $3.53MM this season and the same figure during the 2017/18 campaign.

Community Shootaround: Nuggets’ Frontcourt Logjam

The Sixers’ logjam at center has been the most publicized frontcourt depth chart issue in the NBA in recent days, and it’s not hard to see why. In Joel Embiid, Jahlil Okafor, and Nerlens Noel, the team has three top-six draft picks vying for playing time, one of those three players (Noel) is publicly griping about his role, and it’s all happening in a major market.

Still, Philadelphia isn’t the only city in which a crowded frontcourt is creating problems for an NBA team. As Jonathan Tjarks of The Ringer details, there are handful of other teams around the league experiencing similar issues.

Perhaps the most interesting case is in Denver, with Tjarks referring to the Nuggets’ big man logjam as “a less high-profile version of what’s happening with the 76ers.” After starting 25 games for the team to open the 2016/17 season, former first-rounder Jusuf Nurkic has fallen out of Denver’s rotation within the last week.

After playing just five minutes last Thursday and eight minutes on Saturday, Nurkic picked up a DNP-CD on Monday night. Like the Sixers, the Nuggets have shortened their big man rotation, with Nikola Jokic and Kenneth Faried seeing the majority of the minutes up front – and thriving – while Nurkic is the odd man out.

It’s a difficult situation for Nurkic, who had been playing pretty well early on this season, averaging career highs in PPG (9.3), RPG (6.9), FG% (.524), and a few other categories. Although the 22-year-old would have plenty of value on the trade market, the Nuggets probably won’t want to sell low on him.

Faried has long been viewed as the most likely trade candidate in the Denver frontcourt, but the Jokic/Nurkic pairing struggled in the early going this year, as the two bigs got on each other’s way and had problems with spacing, Tjarks notes. The current rotation, with Jokic starting alongside Danilo Gallinari and Wilson Chandler, and Faried serving as the primary frontcourt backup, has been very effective lately, so the Nuggets may have to reconsider which of their players they can afford to give up.

What do you think? Is there a trade out there that makes sense for the Nuggets? Which of their bigs should be considered a long-term piece, and which ones might be more expendable? Jump into the comments section below to weigh in with your thoughts!

Darrell Arthur TO Lose Playing Time

  • With the Nuggets now fully healthy, coach Michael Malone wants to shorten his rotation, according to Christopher Dempsey of The Denver Post. Malone plans a limit of 10 players per game, and the first casualty of that decision is Darrell Arthur, who was informed this week that he will no longer receive regular playing time. “The word that Darrell used, and it hits the point, is sacrifice,” Malone said. “Can’t play 15 guys, and Darrell Arthur is a guy that’s proven to be a very good player in this league, but he sacrifices for his team and supports everybody that is playing. So you have to be selfless and support each other along the way.” The 28-year-old forward is in his eighth year in the league and his fourth in Denver. He is under contract for $7,464,912 next season and has a player option for the same amount in 2018/19.

NBA D-League Assignments/Recalls: 12/17/16

Here are the D-League assignments and recalls for Saturday:

10:01pm:

  • The Bulls recalled Paul Zipser from Windy City after sending him down earlier in the day, tweets K.C. Johnson of The Chicago Tribune.
  • The Pistons recalled forward Henry Ellenson and guard Michael Gbinije from their Grand Rapids affiliate, the team announced in an email. Both have appeared in six games for Detroit this season with limited playing time.
  • The Wizards recalled guard Sheldon McClellan from the Delaware 87ers, tweets J. Michael of CSNMidAtlantic. McClellan averaged 10.7 points in six games with the D-League team.

3:17pm:

  • The Hawks have recalled Mike Scott from the D-League, the team announced today in a press release. Scott helped lead the Long Island Nets to a pair of victories during his assignment this week, contributing 20.0 PPG, 5.0 RPG, and 1.5 BPG in a pair of starts for the club.
  • After being assigned to Santa Cruz for Friday night’s game, Warriors center Damian Jones has been recalled to the NBA, according to an official announcement (Twitter link). Jones nearly posted a double-double for Golden State’s D-League affiliate last night, putting up 17 points, nine boards, and two blocks.

12:09pm:

  • The Nuggets have recalled shooting guard Malik Beasley from the D-League, the team announced today in a press release. The 20-year-old was assigned to the Sioux Falls Skyforce, Miami’s D-League affiliate, on December 9 and averaged 18.5 points per game in his two contests with the team.
  • The Bulls have assigned forward Paul Zipser to the D-League, according to an announcement from the club. Zipser has seen action in just seven NBA games this season, most recently playing nine minutes Friday night.

Malone's Faith In Faried Hits New Low

  • Nuggets forward Kenneth Faried‘s name has long been mentioned in trade rumors, but the time for a deal is now, writes Mark Kiszla of the Denver Post. “While insisting he does not blame Faried, it’s obvious [head coach] Michael Malone has lost a little faith in his sixth-year veteran,” says Kiszla, “which echoes the turbulent relationship between Faried and Malone’s predecessor on the Denver bench, Brian Shaw.”

Nuggets Have A Leader In Nelson

  • Jameer Nelson has been a leader for Nuggets and many within the organization believe he possesses the skills to become a head coach down the road, Cody Taylor of Basketball Insiders writes. “Jameer is the leader of our team,” Mike Malone said. “It’s been important because we have so many young players on this team. It’s great to have a young guy that can look to a guy like Jameer and how to act on and off of the court.”
  • The Nuggets should consider dealing Wilson Chandler and Minnesota would be a good destination for the veteran, Michael Pina of RealGM opines. Pina believes Denver could get a future first round pick for the small forward.

NBA D-League Assignments/Recalls: 12/9/16

Here are Friday’s D-League assignments and recalls from around the NBA:

10:30pm:

  • The Nuggets assigned guard Malik Beasley to the Sioux Falls SkyForce of the NBA D-League, the team announced via press release. The rookie has appeared in in nine games this season for Denver, averaging 2.9 points in 6.0 minutes per outing.
  • The Hawks confirmed via press release that Scott was recalled from Delaware. The forward was there on a rehab assignment as he continues to make his way back from a knee injury.

1:26pm:

  • The Nets have assigned Chris McCullough to their D-League affiliate, the Long Island Nets, according to a team press release. McCullough is averaging 19.9 points, 8.1 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game for Long Island this season.
  • The Bulls have assigned Jerian Grant, R.J. Hunter and Paul Zipser to the Windy City Bulls, according to a team press release.
  • The Hawks have recalled Mike Scott from the D-League, Chris Vivlamore of Atlanta Journal-Constitution tweets. Atlanta doesn’t have its own affiliate, so Scott played his two games for the Delaware 87ers, the affiliate of the Sixers.
  • The Jazz have assigned Joel Bolomboy to their D-League affiliate, the Salt Lake City Stars, according to the team’s website. This will be Bolomboy’s third assignment of the season.
  • The Lakers have recalled Ivica Zubac from the Los Angeles D-Fenders, according to Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News (Twitter link).

Nuggets Hope To Start Attracting Free Agents

  • Denver doesn’t have a good track record when it comes to attracting top free agents, but coach Michael Malone hopes that will change soon, relays Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe. The Nuggets made a strong play for Dwyane Wade over the summer and believe they can improve enough to become an attractive destination. “I think once you get guys to Denver, a lot of people fall in love with it,” Malone said. “We’ve have veterans on our team, Darrell Arthur, [Danilo] Gallinari, Wilson Chandler, they don’t want to leave. Darrell Arthur told his agent, ‘Listen, get it done with Denver, I don’t want to go anywhere else.’ I think that speaks more than anything I can say, the fact that once you’re there and the quality of life and how beautiful it is, I think Denver sells itself.”

And-Ones: Motiejunas, Deng, Jokic

The Nets signed Donatas Motiejunas to an offer sheet on Friday and the timing of it was no accident, Marc Stein of ESPN.com writes. Brooklyn hopes that by waiting until after November 23 to sign Motiejunas, the Rockets will further consider not matching, as that was the last day they could have signed him and still been allowed to trade him this season. If Houston matches now, the big man can’t be traded for a full year without his consent.

Stein also notes that Brooklyn hired former longtime Rockets executive Gianluca Pascucci as its director of international scouting during the offseason and there’s likely a correlation between the hiring of Pascucci and the Nets offer to Motiejunas.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • Luol Deng is struggling in his first season with the Lakers and the chatter about whether he fits in on Los Angeles’ young, promising team is expected to continue, Stein adds in the same piece. Deng signed a four-year, $72MM deal with the team in the offseason.
  • Nikola Jokic will miss at least a week as he recovers from a sprained wrist, Christopher Dempsey of The Denver Post relays. “Talking to Nikola, he wants to play right when he can catch the ball,” Nuggets coach Michael Malone said. “I think we’ll probably be a little more cautious than that on this road trip, maybe get it looked at again just to kind of see where it’s at once the swelling goes down.”
  • Jake Rauchbach of Basketball Insiders examines how Russell Westbrook and James Harden are producing eye-popping numbers on the Thunder and Rockets, respectively. Both players signed extensions with their respective teams this offseason.

Mike Miller Not Ready To Retire

  • Mike Miller, 36, is happy with his role as an older veteran on the Nuggets and says he’s still having too much fun playing to walk away from the game, Ira Winderman of The Sun Sentinel relays. “I think the one thing you’ve got to learn in this league as you get older, is there’s different roles and responsibilities and you’ll be asked to do different things,” Miller said. “For me, I’m just thankful to be in a position to still be playing this game, and still get to practice against these guys every day, still get in the games, still a lot of fun for me.

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