Denver Nuggets Rumors

Deal Off Between Nuggets, Joe Alexander

September 30 at 2:09pm CDT By Cray Allred

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.

Nuggets Sign Jerrelle Benimon

September 30 at 11:08am CDT By Zach Links

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.

Nuggets Sign Marcus Williams

September 30 at 11:07am CDT By Chuck Myron

SEPTEMBER 30TH: The signing is official, the Nuggets announce as they release their training camp roster.

SEPTEMBER 23RD: The deal has been signed according to the RealGM transaction log, although no announcement from the team has been made yet.

SEPTEMBER 22ND, 10:52am: The contract will cover one season, Charania notes via Twitter.

10:30am: The Nuggets and former University of Arizona forward Marcus Williams have agreed to a deal, reports Shams Charania of RealGM (Twitter link). Williams is not to be confused with the former University of Connecticut point guard by the same name. It’s likely a minimum-salary deal for camp, though the Nuggets have most of their $5.305MM mid-level exception to give him more. It’s not clear whether the deal includes any guaranteed salary.

Williams played 11 NBA regular season games in two seasons with the Clippers and Spurs after San Antonio made him the 33rd overall pick in 2007, but he’s been out of the league since the Spurs waived him in the 2009 preseason. He’s spent time with San Antonio’s D-League affiliate since then, and he’s also been a mainstay for China’s Shanxi Zhongyu. He’s averaged 30.7 points over the last three seasons with the Chinese club, a mark that’s put him near the top of the scoring leaders in the Chinese Basketball Association, a circuit dotted with NBA veterans.

Denver appears to offer Williams, who’ll turn 28 in November, a decent chance to make it to opening night, since the Nuggets had been carrying only 13 fully guaranteed deals. Jerrelle Benimon, Erick Green and Quincy Miller all have partially guaranteed minimum salaries.

Northwest Notes: Jackson, Aldridge, Rubio

September 30 at 9:01am CDT By Chuck Myron

Reggie Jackson‘s continued insistence on starting for the Thunder complicates the notion of an extension for the fourth-year guard, as The Oklahoman’s Anthony Slater examines, writing that a deal before the October 31st deadline would be “surprising.” Still, Kevin Durant tells Sam Amick of USA Today that Jackson loves the organization and believes that “it’s going to all work out,” as a report this weekend indicated that the Oklahoma City front office is enamored with Jackson. While we wait to see what happens as the Thunder face an extension deadline with a talented sixth man for the second time in three years, here’s more from around the Northwest Division:

Northwest Notes: Christon, Durant, Wolves

September 29 at 7:05pm CDT By Cray Allred

The preseason roster the Thunder released today doesn’t include Semaj Christon‘s name on it, so presumably the 55th overall pick from June’s draft won’t be joining the team this year. Oklahoma City acquired the rights to the former Xavier point guard in a draft-night trade with the Hornets, who’d obtained his rights from the Heat in a trade earlier that same evening. Here’s more from the Northwest Division:

  • Kevin Durant opened up to Sam Amick of USA Today about his looming free agency in two years. “It’s not a surprise [that people ask him about it] because everybody wants to know,” Durant said. “But I’m taking it day by day with the Oklahoma City Thunder. That’s my main concern. And whatever the future holds, I don’t know, because I can’t tell you the future…I like the direction we’re going in, and that’s not just a cliché [expletive] answer. That’s real.” Durant also spoke highly of GM Sam Presti, who is optimistic about Durant’s future. “We know it’s there, and we are looking forward to it—the opportunity to re-sign a legacy player,” said Presti.
  • Nate Robinson told reporters including Chris Dempsey of the Denver Post that he’d like to remain with the Nuggets beyond this year, the last on his contract with Denver. “I’m too old to be moving around too much more,” Robinson said. “The city is great, the fans are great and this team is awesome. I would love to be here if they would love to have me.” 
  • Wolves coach and president Flip Saunders deflected questions about the team’s extension talks with Ricky Rubio at the team media day, as did the point guard himself, reports Andy Greder of St. Paul Pioneer Press“He has a contract right now,” said Saunders. “The future, as I’ve said about all [rookie scale extension candidates], they go through the process. Some get signed and some don’t. But I think it’s been very evident that Ricky is important to our team.”
  • Wolves GM Milt Newton has no worries about getting along with Saunders, writes Jon Krawczynski of The Associated Press. With Saunders focusing on the hardwood, Newton says the “day-to-day grind” of being a GM will be squarely on his shoulders.

Chuck Myron and Zach Links contributed to this post.

Nuggets Pursuing Alonzo Gee

September 27 at 9:44pm CDT By Chuck Myron

The Nuggets are in active pursuit of small forward Alonzo Gee, writes Shams Charania of RealGM. Gee cleared waivers today, two days after the Kings waived his non-guaranteed deal. Gee was set to make $3MM this season, and while the Cavs and three other teams unloaded him in trades this offseason before the Kings cut him loose, it appears there’s still interest in him, at least at a cheaper price.

The Happy Walters client started all 82 games for the Cavs in 2012/13, but coach Mike Brown, in a one-season return to Cleveland, cut Gee’s minutes per game nearly in half this past year. The 27-year-old averaged career highs with 10.6 points and 5.1 rebounds per game in 29.0 minutes per game as a part-time starter for Cleveland in 2011/12.

Denver has close to $4.8MM left on its mid-level exception, so the Nuggets have the capacity to exceed the minimum for Gee should they desire, even though it seems a minimum deal would be the most likely outcome. The team only has 13 fully guaranteed pacts, with a total of just $235K in partial guarantees to Quincy Miller, Jerrelle Benimon and Erick Green, so it wouldn’t be surprising if the Nuggets laid out a full guarantee in their offer to Gee.

Western Notes: Rockets, Kerr, Nuggets

September 27 at 3:29pm CDT By Eddie Scarito

The Rockets had quite a difficult offseason. From being spurned by Chris Bosh, losing Chandler Parsons to the Mavs in free agency, and dealing away Jeremy Lin and Omer Asik for essentially nothing in return, as far as the current roster is concerned, it’s been a rough few months in Houston. In his training camp preview, Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle looks at the main questions facing the franchise.

Here’s more from out west:

Chuck Myron contributed to this post.

And-Ones: Pistons, LeBron, Contract Details

September 25 at 10:29pm CDT By Eddie Scarito

The Pistons have a new direction as a franchise now that Stan Van Gundy has taken over as team president and head coach. In their season preview the crew at Basketball Insiders don’t see the team becoming contenders just yet, and their predictions have Detroit finishing either third or fourth in the Central Division.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • Nuggets signees Joe Alexander and Marcus Williams, new Lakers Keith Appling, Jabari Brown, Roscoe Smith and Jeremy Tyler, Heat additions Andre Dawkins and Shawn Jones, Wizards wing men Xavier Silas and Damion James, and Hasheem Thabeet of the Pistons are all on non-guaranteed one-year contracts for the minimum salary, as Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders details (All four Twitter links here).
  • LeBron James might be gone from Miami, but he takes with him a number of lessons the Heat organization taught him about professionalism, Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com writes. James is a much different person than when he was with the Cavs the first time, notes Windhorst, and the additions of Shawn Marion, Mike Miller, and James Jones are indications that Cleveland wants to bump up the work ethic and preparation habits of their younger players.
  • When asked about departed free agent Trevor Ariza, who left the Wizards to sign with the Rockets this summer, Marcin Gortat believed Ariza’s decision wasn’t about finances, tweets Jorge Castillo of the Washington Post. Gortat said, “In my opinion I think he was trying to get back to the West. I don’t think it was about the money.”

Chuck Myron contributed to this post.

Western Notes: Rockets, Faried, Terry

September 17 at 8:54pm CDT By Eddie Scarito

The Rockets roster will be quite crowded once the team completes the signings of Francisco Garcia and Kostas Papanikolaou, and the player with a guaranteed deal most likely to be waived or traded to make space is Donatas Motiejunas, Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders opines (Twitter links).

Here’s more from out west:

  • Nuggets power forward Kenneth Faried‘s stock is certainly on the rise after a strong 2013/14 season and his stellar play with Team USA during the FIBA World Cup. David Nurse of Hoops Hype profiles the “Manimal,” and provides arguments for and against Faried becoming a breakout star in the NBA.
  • As part of the Jason Terry trade, the Kings also receive a trade exception of $5.85MM, Sam Amick of USA Today reports (Twitter link). He’s likely rounding down from Terry’s precise salary of $5,850,313, meaning that the Kings folded the salaries of Alonzo Gee and Scotty Hopson into existing trade exceptions.
  • Former NBA point guard Acie Law is no longer committed to his deal with the Foshan Long Lions of the Chinese Basketball Association, David Pick of Eurobasket reports (Twitter link). Law last saw NBA action during the 2010/11 season, when he appeared in 40 games for the Warriors, and averaged 5.1 PPG and 1.8 APG.

J.J. Hickson Gets Five-Game Drug Suspension

September 17 at 3:18pm CDT By Eddie Scarito

The league has suspended Nuggets power forward J.J. Hickson without pay for the first five games of the upcoming season, Chris Dempsey of the Denver Post reports (Twitter links). The suspension is for an undisclosed violation of the league’s drug policy. The team is aware of the violation, but isn’t expected to comment, Dempsey tweets.

Hickson is in line to be the primary backup to Kenneth Faried at power forward, and in his absence Darrell Arthur will most likely handle the reserve duties. This suspension will cause Hickson to miss contests against the Pistons, Kings, and Cavs in Denver, and road games against the Thunder and the Kings. He’ll forfeit a prorated portion of his approximately $5.382MM salary for this season, though all of it will continue to count against the cap for the Nuggets.

In six seasons in the league, Hickson has averaged 10.1 PPG, 7.2 RPG, and 0.9 APG. His career shooting numbers are .509/.000/.637.