Denver Nuggets Rumors

Eastern Notes: Stephenson, Miller, Knicks

July 16 at 10:15am CDT By Chuck Myron

Some Pacers players attempted to persuade the team to sweeten its offers to Lance Stephenson, but the front office resisted, according to Sean Deveney of the Sporting News. Stephenson agreed early this morning to bolt for the Hornets, and as his new three-year, $27.5MM deal quickly came together, the Pacers never received the opportunity to match Charlotte’s offer, as Candace Buckner of the Indianapolis Star writes. There’s more on his deal amid the latest from the Eastern Conference:

  • The Mavs made a three-year $20MM offer to Stephenson, reports Adam Zagoria of SNY.tv (Twitter link). The new Hornets two-guard would have joined the Mavs instead if the Rockets hadn’t passed on matching the Mavs’ offer sheet to Chandler Parsons, according to Chris Broussard of ESPN.com.
  • The Pacers made two different five-year offers to Stephenson, but he rejected them both, favoring a shorter arrangement, agent Alberto Ebanks tells Buckner (Twitter link). Indiana wasn’t willing to go shorter than five years, Broussard writes in his piece.
  • The Nuggets had a three-year, $12MM offer on the table for Mike Miller, but he passed it up for two years and $5.5MM with the Cavs thanks to persistent entreaties from LeBron James, as Jeff Goodman of ESPN.com details.
  • Knicks president Phil Jackson thinks the team has too many guards, and he may end up waiving Wayne Ellington, whom New York acquired in the Tyson Chandler trade, writes Marc Berman of the New York Post.
  • The Jazz almost doubled the average annual value of the deal that the Wizards were willing to give Trevor Booker, according to J. Michael of CSNWashington.com.
  • The Hawks held on to Pero Antic through Tuesday, meaning his non-guaranteed salary for 2014/15 has become fully guaranteed for $1.25MM. The same is true for Kyle O’Quinn, whose minimum salary with the Magic went from non-guaranteed to fully guaranteed when Orlando kept him Tuesday.

Heat Notes: LeBron, Bosh, Chalmers, Wade

July 15 at 12:00pm CDT By Chuck Myron

The Bulls were among the teams with which agent Rich Paul took meetings to discuss LeBron James during the first week of free agency, as Ramona Shelburne and Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com reveal in a behind-the-scenes look at LeBron’s choice. Regardless, James was no longer willing to accept being underpaid, as Windhorst examines in a separate piece. James decided before free agency began that he’d take a max contract, and no matter where he would end up, he would demand a deal with a player option after year one, Windhorst writes. James wants to continue to sign short-term deals for the foreseeable future to maintain flexibility in case the maximum salary jumps or is eliminated in the next collective bargaining agreement, as Windhorst explains. He also wants to keep the pressure on Cavs brass to improve the team around him, the ESPN scribe adds. Here’s more on the Heat as they pick up the pieces after LeBron’s departure:

And-Ones: Davis, Pacers, Thunder, Miller

July 14 at 11:21pm CDT By Eddie Scarito

Baron Davis is preparing himself for a return to the NBA this fall, reports Jared Zwerling of Bleacher Report (Twitter links). When asked what offensive system he likes, Davis said the Clippers’ and the Warriors’. Davis feels like he can play 15-20 minutes per game next year, notes Zwerling.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • Mike Miller is leaning towards signing with the Cavaliers, but the Nuggets are still in play for the free agent’s services, tweets Jeff Goodman of ESPN.com.
  • With LeBron James headed back to Cleveland, and Pau Gasol on his way to Chicago, the Central Division has gotten much tougher for the Pacers, writes Michael Marot of The Star Tribune. This makes re-signing Lance Stephenson even more of a priority, opines Marot.
  • Thunder assistant coach Brian Keefe will join Derek Fisher‘s coaching staff in New York, reports Darnell Mayberry of the Oklahoman.
  • The Thunder have to keep building their roster through the draft because the franchise is continuing to have difficulty luring free agents to Oklahoma City, writes Jon Hamm of ESPN.com.
  • With many of the biggest names in free agency now spoken for, Fred Kerber of The New York Post runs down the winners and losers in free agency thus far.
  • The Mavericks aren’t done upgrading their roster, writes Dwain Price of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. President of basketball operations Donnie Nelson said, “We’re always looking for help in the backcourt, with an eye on 3-point shooting, and then kind of a rangy defender would be nice as well. We’re still in search of those, but those spots don’t necessarily need to be filled through free agency. Obviously there are trades and all kinds of other ways you can do that.”
  • The Warriors may be interested in free agent Brandon Rush, writes Diamond Leung of the Bay Area News Group. Rush averaged 9.7 PPG and 3.8 RPG in 67 games with Golden State before getting injured last season. GM Bob Myers said of Rush, “Rush was great. Everybody that’s been a fan saw how good he was for us, so if he’s healthy, and he can play, which we hear he can — we’ll go watch him and see — it’s a good addition if we could get him. You don’t know what the price would be, but we like Brandon.” The article also notes that Rush is scheduled to hold a workout for interested teams soon.

Western Notes: Miller, Bosh, Tucker, Mavs

July 14 at 9:07pm CDT By Eddie Scarito

The Rockets and the Mavericks are interested in Mike Miller, reports Mark Stein of ESPN.com (Twitter link). The Nuggets have the best financial offer on the table for Miller, but Dallas, Houston, and the Cavaliers offer him a better chance to play for a winner, tweets Stein.

More from out west:

  • The Pelicans extended a two-year contract offer to undrafted free agent center Patric Young, reports David Pick of Eurobasket (Twitter link).
  •  In addition to the Rockets and Heat, Chris Bosh was also being pursued by the Nuggets, Suns, and Lakers, notes Tom Haberstroh of ESPN.com. On why he chose to re-sign with Miami, Bosh said, “There were very enticing offers. There was some surprising advances made in everything, but I ultimately decided to stay in Miami. I think it was the right choice. I benefit from it, the team will benefit from it, from here. My heart was in Miami. I wanted to be there and keep my family there and build relationships and really keep building on something special.
  • It was a long road for P.J. Tucker, but the hard work paid off with his new contract with the Suns, writes Paul Coro of The Arizona Republic.
  • Mavericks‘ president of basketball operations Donnie Nelson would like to re-sign free agent center Bernard James, tweets Dwain Price of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Nelson said, “We love to be able to have Sarge [James] back because of his shot blocking.” James averaged 0.3 BPG in 30 games last season for Dallas.
  • Mavs owner Mark Cuban suggested that Chandler Parsons was the team’s top free agent target all along, writes Bryan Gutierrez of ESPNDallas.com. Cuban said, “I looked at all the main guys that were young that we thought would be available and we loved his game. We liked him the best of all the free agents and that was point one.” In the article Cuban also said that if he was in the Rockets position, he would have matched their offer sheet on Parsons.

Cavs Nearing Deal With Mike Miller

July 13 at 3:12pm CDT By Chuck Myron

SUNDAY, 3:12pm: Miller is a possibility for the Mavs or Rockets, depending on which club doesn’t get Chandler Parsons, tweets Jeff Goodman of ESPN.com.

SATURDAY, 6:40pm: The Cavs and Miller are now making progress on a contract, tweets Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com.

9:56am: Sam Amick of USA Today tweets that the Cavs are not yet close to a deal with Miller, and have only had cursory conversations at this point.

12:33am: The Cavs are closing in on a deal with Miller, tweets Sam Amico of Fox Sports Ohio. Miller on Friday cut off talks with the Nuggets, with whom he was reportedly close to a deal earlier this week, and had the Grizzlies tell him they were ending their pursuit.

WEDNESDAY, 3:27pm: Miller’s price is shooting up, with the Grizzlies, Thunder and Nuggets all in the race along with the Cavs, according to Wojnarowski (Twitter link). He’s in line for salaries of $4-4.5MM, Wojnarowski adds.

11:22am: James reached out to a pair of free agents about joining him on a team if he were to leave the Heat, and Miller was one of them, tweets Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports. Miller can’t sign with the Heat, since his amnestied contract would have run through next season, and teams are barred from re-signing the players they amnesty while their old contracts would still have been in effect.

10:52am: The Cavs are in pursuit of free agent Mike Miller, sources tell Sam Amico of Fox Sports Ohio (Twitter link). It seems like the latest move in the team’s efforts to land LeBron James, after this morning’s trade to clear max cap flexibility and news of the team’s attempts to sign Ray Allen. Cleveland is also making a run at James Jones, a longtime member of the Heat and a favorite of LeBron’s, TNT’s David Aldridge tweets.

Cleveland reportedly considered claiming Miller off amnesty waivers last summer, but he wound up clearing those waivers and signing with the Grizzlies as a free agent, as Miller apparently gave signals he wouldn’t want to play in Cleveland. It’s not clear whether the chance to reunite with LeBron James, should the four-time MVP sign with Cleveland, would persuade Miller to reconsider a move to the Cavs. The Clippers, Nuggets, Rockets, Thunder and Grizzlies are all reportedly in the mix for Miller, and while a report last week indicating that Memphis believed it was losing a bidding war for the Arn Tellem client also said that Miller would make his decision soon, he remains on the market.

Jones, 33, was little-used the past three seasons, though he did emerge as a rotation player for a time during the postseason for the Heat this past spring. The Miami native is likely in line for a minimum-salary deal wherever he ends up.

And-Ones: Wizards, Trade Exceptions, Booker

July 11 at 11:42pm CDT By Eddie Scarito

The NBA issued a memo this week establishing that teams that trade coaches or other non-playing personnel are not allowed to make any other trades for one calendar year or until the coach or executive’s contract would have expired, whichever is earlier, notes Mark Deeks of ShamSports. The memo also issues guidelines that make it more difficult for teams to dump salary in trades, as Deeks explains.

More from around the league:

  • Trade exceptions for four teams expired at the end of Thursday, the largest of which was one the Warriors held that was worth more than $9.8MM, as we noted earlier. The Clippers watched one worth more than $2.6MM expire, the Nuggets lost one worth nearly $2.4MM, and the Raptors saw one worth more than $1.2MM extinguished.
  • The Wizards are waiting on Houston’s move in regards to Chandler Parsons offer sheet which will impact the Rockets‘ pursuit of free agent Trevor Ariza, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports (Twitter link).
  • The Wizards continue to push for a deal with Trevor Ariza, but he wants to hear from the Mavs before moving forward with Washington, TNT’s David Aldridge tweets.
  • The Knicks have continued to show interest in Wizards free agent power forward Trevor Booker, tweets Marc Berman of the New York Post.
  • The Cavaliers are in talks with free agent center Chris Andersen, tweets Sam Amico of Fox Sports Ohio.

Chuck Myron contributed to this post.

Mike Miller Halts Talks With Nuggets

July 11 at 10:11pm CDT By Cray Allred

10:11pm: The Grizzlies have informed Miller that the team will be going in another direction and won’t be bringing him back, Miller announced via his twitter account.

4:23pm: James reached out to Miller again today, and Cavs officials have done so, too, reports Jeff Goodman of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Miller continues to consider the Nuggets, Thunder and Grizzlies, Goodman adds.

FRIDAY, 3:37pm: Miller has stopped negotiations with the Nuggets and is “exploring every option” that would allow him to join James in Cleveland, with the Cavs reportedly having been in pursuit.

WEDNESDAY, 8:06pm: Free agent Mike Miller is close to agreeing on a deal with the Nuggets, a source tells Chris Broussard of ESPN.com (Twitter link). The Grizzlies, Cavs, Thunder, Rockets, and Blazers have all shown interest in signing the sharpshooter this offseason. Miller was preparing to decide on his destination early in free agency, but met with Denver in recent days after being underwhelmed by the Grizzlies offer to retain him.

The Cavs were the most recent team to chase Miller in the hopes of enticing LeBron James to sign in Cleveland. James had reportedly reached out to Miller to pitch a reunion between the two if James were to leave the Heat in the coming days. There has been no report of Miller’s eagerness to rejoin James, so this news doesn’t shed any light on LeBron’s looming decision.

Whatever deal Miller signs will net him salary in addition to most of the $6.6MM owed to him by Miami from his amnestied contract that runs through next season. A multi-year deal for the 34-year-old would add financial security for the oft-injured shooting guard, and his projected role could also be a significant factor as he chooses his next team. The Nuggets are widely considered the least title-ready team of the teams pursuing him.

Western Notes: Clippers, Billups, Blazers

July 11 at 10:09pm CDT By Eddie Scarito

The judge in the trial to determine whether Shelly Sterling has the right to sell the Clippers to Steve Ballmer put the proceedings on hold until later this month at the request of Donald Sterling’s lawyers, as Arash Markazi of ESPNLosAngeles.com details. Still, it’s likely that Ballmer will move back a July 15th deadline to finalize the sale, Markazi adds. Shelly Sterling said in testimony Thursday that her husband asked her to sell the team when it became apparent the league would seize control of it otherwise. Donald Sterling has said he has no intention of selling the team and has vowed a lifelong legal fight against the NBA.

More from the west:

  • Chauncey Billups engaged in a “wide-ranging” discussion with Nuggets president Josh Kroenke and GM Tim Connelly recently in Denver, though it’s not clear whether they talked about a playing role or a front office job, as Chris Dempsey of The Denver Post reports.
  • Blazers GM Neil Olshey said Thursday that he doesn’t anticipate making another offseason move, as The Oregonian’s Joe Freeman observes. Freeman doesn’t mention the fate of Mo Williams, who remains unsigned, though agent Mark Bartelstein told Chris Haynes of CSNNW.com this week that there was still a chance that Williams would re-sign with Portland.
  • Pau Gasol‘s interest in returning to the Lakers was contingent upon Carmelo Anthony coming to Los Angeles, tweets Mark Medina of The Los Angeles Daily News . Now that the Lakers have used up their available cap space, it’s likely that Gasol’s days with the team are at an end.

Chuck Myron contributed to this post.

Jusuf Nurkic To Join Nuggets This Season?

July 10 at 7:49am CDT By Chuck Myron

THURSDAY, 7:49am: KK Cedevita has announced Nurkic’s depature from the club (on Twitter; hat tip to Sportando’s Emiliano Carchia). Cedevita agreed to allow his buyout to be spread over two seasons, so the Nuggets will pick up $650K and Nurkic will pick up the remaining $135K of this season’s tab, according to David Pick of Eurobasket.com (Twitter links). The most Denver could pay without the money coming out of Nurkic’s NBA rookie scale contract would be $600K, so it would seem Nurkic may actually wind up paying $285K this season, assuming Pick’s figures are correct.

WEDNESDAY, 9:23am: Nurkic has decided to leave KK Cedevita in Croatia, and he’s working on a way to pay his buyout, which is the equivalent of $1.77MM, Pick tweets.

SATURDAY, 1:14pm: Contradicting previous reports, Chris Dempsey of the Denver Post hears that Nurkic’s buyout will not be an issue, and the first-round selection will join the Nuggets this season (Twitter link). Denver continues work on getting Nurkic over for summer league, but they’ve had little luck thus far, Demspey reveals in another tweet.

THURSDAY, 8:42am: Pick’s latest tweet indicates the buyout is worth 1.3 million euros, the equivalent of more than $1.774MM, seemingly making it even tougher for Nurkic and the Nuggets to reach a deal. He could only make less than $1.763MM on a rookie-scale contract with Denver next season, as our table of salaries for first-round picks shows.

7:37am: Nurkic is unlikely to sign with the Nuggets for next season, but the main hangup involves his buyout from KK Cedevita, his club in Croatia, tweets David Pick of Eurobasket.com. The buyout would cost the equivalent of more than $1.36MM, according to Pick, which exceeds the $600K Excluded International Player Payment Amount. That means the difference would come out of Nurkic’s paycheck from the Nuggets were he to sign with the team this year.

JULY 2ND, 5:00pm: The Nuggets are insisting that No. 16 overall pick Jusuf Nurkic play in the NBA summer league if they’re to sign him this summer, but the center wants to spend the summer playing for his native Bosnia instead, Dejan Maksimovic of Nezavisne.com reports (translation via Sportando’s Emiliano Carchia).

Nurkic rocketed up draft boards in the weeks leading up to the June draft and even had some buzz of being a late lottery pick.  While he’s not fully polished, many believe that Nurkic could blossom into one of the top big men to come out of this draft.  The Nuggets liked Nurkic enough to trade the No. 11 pick (Doug McDermott) to Chicago for Nurkic (No. 16) and Gary Harris (No. 19).

Western Notes: Miller, Kings, Bledsoe, Pelicans

July 6 at 10:58am CDT By Eddie Scarito

Mike Miller is scheduled to meet with the Nuggets today, reports John Martin of ESPN929.com. The article also notes that the Grizzlies made an initial offer of two-years and an annual salary between $2.4MM and $2.9MM. The Thunder, Rockets, and Trail Blazers are all reportedly interested in Miller’s services, notes Martin.

More from the west:

  • The Kings are looking to clear up their overstock of power forwards through the trade market, reports Jason Jones of The Sacramento Bee (Twitter links). The team is seeking a defender and a shot blocker to shore up their interior, and also want to free up some of the cap space tied to that position, notes Jones.
  • The Suns and Eric Bledsoe‘s agent Rich Paul are in early stages of contract talks, tweets Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports. Spears also notes that many of Bledsoe’s other suitors are in a holding pattern until Carmelo Anthony and LeBron James make their decisions.
  • Bogdan Bogdanovic signed a four-year deal with Fenerbahce that contains an NBA out clause in 2016, reports Emiliano Carchia of Sportando. Bogdanovic was the 27th overall pick of the Suns in this year’s NBA Draft.
  • The Pelicans lack of action on the free agent front is disconcerting, writes Jimmy Smith of the Times Picayune. One stopping block is the team’s need to clear enough cap space to complete the trade of Omer Asik, notes Smith.
  • Jeff Withey’s minimum salary for this coming season became partially guaranteed for $100K when he remained on the Pelicans‘ roster through Saturday. It’ll become fully guaranteed if the Pelicans decline to waive him before the end of July 22nd, as our Schedule of Contract Guarantee Dates shows.
  • The Thunder has named Darko Rajakovic as an assistant coach, the team announced via a press release. Rajakovic led Tulsa to a combined 51-49 record over two seasons, including a 27-23 record and NBA D-League Semifinals appearance in 2012/13. Coach Scott Brooks had this to say, “Darko’s diverse basketball background, knowledge of the game and ability to develop players at a high level were clearly apparent during his time in Tulsa, and I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to add him to our staff. His understanding of the core tenants of what we do, thanks to his time in Tulsa, will maintain a level of consistency that we value and his various head coaching experiences internationally will provide another layer to our coaches.”