When asked if he’d like to remain with the Nuggets past this season, Darrell Arthur said, “Oh yeah, for sure. My family loves it here. My mom was just up here for a couple of weeks and she just loves it – loves the atmosphere, loves the people here. I love the organization, everything. It’s a family organization, they welcome you with open arms. I definitely would like this to be home,” Christopher Dempsey of the Denver Post relays. Arthur is in the final season of his contract and will become an unrestricted free agent next summer.
Here’s more from the west:
- NBA TV’s Steve Smith was in Portland covering the Blazers training camp and discussed the contract situations of LaMarcus Aldridge, Wesley Matthews, and Robin Lopez. All three players are in the final year of their respective deals and Smith was asked if it would become a distraction and he said, “LaMarcus being the main one. I can’t speak for him, but I think he’ll be the easiest one to figure out. He’ll be all right. I think Wesley Matthews and Robin Lopez, financially — I’m not saying they’re not set, we all are, we play in the NBA — but LaMarcus is going to get the max. Now with those other two guys, you have to balance sacrificing for the team and making as much money possible in your career. I think this contract is … the big one for those guys.”
- Smith also discussed the offseason additions of Steve Blake and Chris Kaman, saying, “It’s funny. Sometimes you look at moves — and, like you said, they’re not huge as far as names that go across the entire association — but Steve Blake is one of those veterans that just fits well with this team. You can tell just by watching practice. And he makes home here in Portland. So you have a guy who’s comfortable. He’s played here, what, three times? Chris Kaman, if you want to draw up a Portland Trail Blazer, it’s Chris Kaman. He just looks like he belongs. (laughs) And also, I think the pressure is off him. He can come in and be himself.“
- Ricky Rubio believes that the departure of Kevin Love to the Cavs will be good for both Love and the Wolves, Jeff Caplan of NBA.com writes. “Of course we had a lot going on last year and the media was talking, they were wondering if Kevin wanted to be here, blah, blah, blah, and that hurt the team and hurt himself,” Rubio said. “Now that he’s not here, the media’s not going to talk about that anymore. I think that’s going to be good for him and for us.”
The players union encourages agents to negotiate contract guarantee dates into non-guaranteed deals for their clients in part to help ward off what happened to Alonzo Gee this summer, writes Grantland’s Zach Lowe. Teams played hot potato with Gee’s contract, which was to remain non-guaranteed until the leaguewide guarantee date in January, and the Kings waived him late last month, in time for him to receive no more than another non-guaranteed pact for the minimum salary with the Nuggets. Gee’s agent Happy Walters didn’t represent the small forward when he signed the contract that teams passed around via trade this summer, and vows to Lowe that he’ll never let a player agree to a non-guaranteed deal without a guarantee date, though it’s unclear what guarantee dates, if any, are involved in Gee’s arrangement with Denver. While we wait to see how that dynamic plays out around the league, and whether Gee can crack the Nuggets opening-night roster, here’s more from around the Western Conference:
- The Hornets planned to pursue Patrick Mills last summer but backed off when he was diagnosed with a torn rotator cuff just as free agency was beginning, according to Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express-News. Mills re-signed with the Spurs for three years and $11MM.
- Agent Misko Raznatovic is skeptical that the Warriors are giving a fair shot to Nemanja Nedovic, the 30th overall pick in 2013, as Raznatovic tells Saša Ozmo of the Serbian website B92 (Ozmo provides an English translation on TwitLonger). “I don’t know if he’s going to get a proper chance,” Raznatovic said. “They’re promising he will, but we’ll see, he’s had a lot of injuries. I hope everything is going to be all right.” A decision on Nedovic’s third-year team option is due by October 31st.
- New Clippers owner Steve Ballmer insists he won’t micromanage coach/executive Doc Rivers as he runs the basketball operations for the team and doesn’t agree with the notion that $2 billion was too much to pay for the team, as Ballmer tells USA Today’s Sam Amick. Ballmer also says to Amick that he intends to own the team “until essentially I die.”
Pops Mensah-Bonsu has left the Nuggets training camp for personal reasons, and he won’t return, tweets Chris Dempsey of The Denver Post. This presumably means that Denver will place the four-year veteran’s non-guaranteed contract on waivers, though it’s unclear as to what the team’s plan is at this point. It’s also unclear at this time precisely why Mensah-Bonsu left camp. His exit reduces the Nuggets preseason roster count to 18.
Mensah-Bonsu had turned down a pair of lucrative offers from European clubs in order to sign with the Nuggets. While he was a longshot to make the regular season roster, Denver has had injury issues the past couple of seasons, and with Danilo Gallinari, JaVale McGee, and Wilson Chandler all question marks to make it through a full season, it’s possible that with a strong camp Mensah-Bonsu could have made the team.
The 6’9″, 31 year-old has made stops in Turkey, Italy and Spain since his departure from the NBA after the 2010/11 campaign, averaging 8.7 points and 6.3 rebounds in 20.1 minutes per game last season for Turkey’s Galatasaray. For his NBA career, Mensah-Bonsu has averaged 3.0 PPG and 3.0 RPG. His career slash line is .410/.000/.589.
Grizzlies GM Chris Wallace says Michael Beasley is one of six guys in training camp with a chance to show the team they deserve to snag the last regular-season roster spot, Teresa M. Walker of The Associated Press writes. “It’s up to him to show us, make the case for himself then we’ll see where this goes,” Wallace said. “We’re just at the beginning of it with training camp started, and obviously he’s someone that’s very talented … His career hasn’t gone the way he would’ve liked but this is the perfect place for him to rebound.”
Here’s more from out west:
- Clippers coach Doc Rivers said that free agent Ray Allen was not a candidate to take the team’s final roster spot since Los Angeles has a glut of shooting guards already, Ben Bolch of the Los Angeles Times reports (Twitter link). Allen hasn’t announced if he will play this season or retire despite numerous teams having interest in his services.
- Rivers also added that Joe Ingles and Jared Cunningham are candidates for the team’s final regular-season roster spot, tweets Bolch. Both players are in training camp on non-guaranteed deals.
- In his season preview for the Kings, Sam Amico of FOX Sports Ohio predicts a 40-win season and Sacramento missing out on the playoffs. Amico believes that the Kings are still one star player away from becoming a factor in the west.
Two members of the Thunder front office made the list of a dozen potential candidates for future GM openings that SB Nation’s Tom Ziller compiled. Assistant GM Troy Weaver, who excels in scouting and relationships, and Michael Winger, a salary cap expert, have already drawn interest from other teams, as their respective rumors pages show. Many believed that Winger would have been in line for the Cavs GM job if the team had decided against retaining David Griffin this summer, Ziller adds. While we wait to see if the presence of Sam Presti and perhaps two other future GMs gives Oklahoma City the necessary edge to get over the hump and win this year’s title, here’s more from around the Western Conference:
- The Pelicans considered waiving and stretching Austin Rivers in addition to the notion of trading the former No. 10 overall pick as they sought to clear room to acquire Omer Asik this summer, according to Grantland’s Zach Lowe. Still, the Pelicans held on to Rivers, and they demanded “real assets” in any trade that would involve him, Lowe writes, adding that New Orleans regarded waiving him as the least desirable option. The Grantland scribe suggests that ties between coach Monty Williams and the Rivers family complicate the team’s decision about whether to pick up the fourth-year option on Rivers’ contract by the October 31st deadline.
- The Wolves offered 40th overall pick Glenn Robinson III a four-year contract, but he turned it down for his partially guaranteed one-year pact, similar to the dynamic between No. 32 pick K.J. McDaniels and the Sixers, tweets Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports.
- Alonzo Gee‘s deal with the Nuggets is non-guaranteed for the minimum salary and covers one season, but it becomes guaranteed if he remains on the roster through October 29th, tweets Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders. The team’s non-guaranteed contract with Pops Mensah-Bonsu is of the identical structure, except his wouldn’t become guaranteed until the leaguewide guarantee date in January, Pincus adds.
- Ronnie Price‘s non-guaranteed deal with the Lakers becomes partially guaranteed on November 15th, Pincus writes for the Los Angeles Times, though he doesn’t say just how much Price would be assured of that day. In any case, the veteran point guard has picked up a key supporter, since Kobe Bryant likes what he sees from his teammate so far, as Pincus details.
Here are the latest news and notes coming out of the Western Conference on Tuesday night:
- There’s been no word of a deal between the Nuggets and Nikola Jokic, and his name isn’t among the 19 on the preseason roster that the Nuggets released today, so presumably the 41st overall pick from this year’s draft will remain under contract with Serbia’s KK Mega Vizura this season.
- On the heels of yesterday’s report that the Jazz have opened extension talks with Enes Kanter and Alec Burks, GM Dennis Lindsey said the team anticipates the duo to be with the Jazz for a “long time,” writes Aaron Falk of the Salt Lake Tribune. “They’re both valued members and we’re really proud of where they’re at as people and as players,” Lindsey said. “We’ll see if we can get something done early … but we anticipate both of them being with the Jazz for a long time.”
- When asked about his impending free agency next summer, Marc Gasol reiterated his affinity for his teammates and the city of Memphis, writes Geoff Calkins of The Commercial Appeal in a subscription-only piece. Gasol also suggested that it would be hard to sign an extension prior to next summer knowing how quickly things can change in the NBA. Grizzlies owner Robert Pera said in August he’s determined to keep Gasol in Memphis for the rest of his career.
- Also from Calkins’ story, Grizzlies head coach Dave Joerger had the following to say when asked what it would take for Michael Beasley to end up on the roster: “Just be as good as he can be on the court and off the court. He’s going to have to come in and take somebody’s spot, and he knows that.”
Chuck Myron contributed to this post.
3:24pm: The team has made the deal official, including Mensah-Bonsu’s name on an updated version of the camp roster.
TUESDAY, 1:04pm: Mensah-Bonsu practiced with the team today, observes Chris Dempsey of The Denver Post, confirming that the veteran will indeed be with the team (Twitter link). The Nuggets have yet to publicly acknowledge any signing, however, and they haven’t made any announcement regarding their reported deals with Alonzo Gee and Joe Alexander, either.
MONDAY, 4:51pm: The deal is non-guaranteed, a source tells Pick (Twitter link).
4:10pm: Four-year NBA veteran Pops Mensah-Bonsu has turned down a pair of lucrative offers from European clubs to instead agree to join the Nuggets for training camp, tweets David Pick of Eurobasket.com. The Nuggets have the capacity to give the 31-year-old more than the minimum, but it seems unlikely they would do so for the 6’9″ power forward who last appeared in an NBA regular season game during the 2010/11 season. It’s unclear whether there’s any guaranteed money involved.
Mensah-Bonsu has made stops in Turkey, Italy and Spain since his departure from the NBA, averaging 8.7 points and 6.3 rebounds in 20.1 minutes per game last season for Turkey’s Galatasaray. Still, it’ll be the second straight autumn in which the former George Washington University standout will join an NBA team for camp, since he did so with the Wizards last year.
Nuggets GM Tim Connelly is making a habit of bringing players long absent from the NBA to Denver’s camp, having done so with Joe Alexander and Marcus Williams already this year. The Nuggets have 13 fully guaranteed deals and two that contain partial guaranees, so there’s no clear path for Mensah-Bonsu or the other two NBA vets to make it to opening night.
3:23pm: The team has made the deal official, including Gee’s name on an updated version of the camp roster.
2:58pm: Gee didn’t take part in the team’s first practice today, but he took his physical and is still on track to join the team, tweets Chris Dempsey of The Denver Post. Gee’s name wasn’t on the camp roster the Nuggets released today, but it seems that’s a matter of timing and doesn’t signal that the deal is off.
7:31am: The Nuggets and Alonzo Gee have struck agreement on a deal, reports Shams Charania of RealGM (Twitter link). Denver had been actively pursuing the free agent small forward, as Charania wrote over the weekend. The team has the capacity to exceed the minimum, but it’s unlikely they’ve done so in this case. Still, it seems a distinct possibility that there’s at least a partial guarantee involved for the five-year veteran.
Gee cleared waivers Saturday after the Kings cut him loose last week, not long after acquiring him from the Rockets in the Jason Terry trade. It was the third trade in which Cleveland’s former starting small forward found himself this summer, as teams passed around his contract, which had been worth a non-guaranteed $3MM for this season. Still, the 27-year-old Happy Walters client drew interest from the Nuggets as soon as he became available, proving he still has some value in spite of a down year this past season.
The move will bring the Nuggets to the preseason roster limit of 20 players. Denver has guaranteed deals with 13 of them and partial guarantees out to three more, so just how much guaranteed money Gee gets will probably dictate the likelihood that he’ll make the opening-night roster.
SEPTEMBER 30TH: Alexander tore his hip flexor and failed his physical with the Nuggets, so he won’t be in Denver’s camp, as he said in an appearance on Sportsline with Tony Caridi on MetroNews radio in West Virginia (audio link at 29:30 mark). His name didn’t appear on the preseason roster the Nuggets released today, so it appears the contract was voided (hat tip to Justin Harrison).
SEPTEMBER 24TH: It’s a non-guaranteed pact, Charania confirms (Twitter link).
SEPTEMBER 23RD: The Nuggets have signed Joe Alexander to a training camp deal, according to the RealGM transaction log. The news was first tweeted by Shams Charania of RealGM. The deal will give the forward an opportunity to compete for a regular season roster spot.
The Nuggets have 13 guaranteed contracts on the books for 2014/15, and Alexander’s deal will be the fourth non-guaranteed contract for the team heading into training camp. Denver must roster between 13 and 15 players during the season, so Alexander has a reasonable chance at making the team to backup the wing behind Danilo Gallinari and Wilson Chandler.
Alexander was a lottery pick for the Bucks in the 2008 draft, but he hasn’t been in the league since the 2009/10 season, save for training camp appearances with New Orleans in 2010 and Golden State last fall, and he’s otherwise spent recent years playing overseas and in the D-League. Nonetheless, he had received interest from multiple NBA teams this summer. Alexander averaged 4.7 PPG in his rookie season with Milwaukee, but saw his minutes cut to just 3.6 per contest in his sophomore campaign with the Bulls.
SEPTEMBER 30TH: The signing is official, the Nuggets announce as they release their training camp roster.
AUGUST 19TH: The team has yet to announce the transaction, but Benimon has indeed signed a contract with Denver, according to the RealGM transactions log. The power forward is one of three players with partially guaranteed contracts on the Nuggets, as our roster counts show.
AUGUST 14TH: Undrafted rookie Jerrelle Benimon has agreed on a partially guaranteed two-year deal with the Nuggets, league sources tell Shams Charania of RealGM (on Twitter). Benimon worked out for the Nuggets in mid-June and even though he went undrafted, he clearly made a strong impression with them.
The former Towson standout helped engineer the greatest single-season turnaround in Division-I history. The Tigers went from a 1–31 record in 2011/12 to an 18–13 mark in the following year. In that year, the 6’8″ forward averaged 17.1 PPG and 11.2 RPG off of 53% shooting from the floor. For an encore, Benimon put up 18.7 PPG and 11.2 RPG in his senior season.