- The Nuggets‘ best lineup includes big men Nikola Jokic and Jusuf Nurkic, contends Mark Kiszla of The Denver Post, which means Kenneth Faried will have to get used to being a backup. Faried, who has been mentioned in trade talks in the past, has started 331 of the 348 games he has played since arriving in Denver five years ago. Coach Michael Malone said he plans to talk to Faried about the situation, emphasizing that the same combinations won’t be used every game. “We’re a deep team, and I don’t think you can get caught up in who’s starting, because we’re going to play a lot of guys,” Malone said. “We’re going to finish small some nights, we may finish big some nights.”
11:37am: The Nuggets officially announced the moves via press release.
8:22am: The Nuggets will waive Robbie Hummel and Nate Wolters, Christopher Dempsey of The Denver Post reports (via Twitter). These moves reduce the team’s roster count to 15 players, which is the regular season maximum. Denver will be on the hook for $50,000 for Wolters and $150,000 for Hummel, provided the players aren’t claimed off waivers by another team.
Hummel played in Italy last season for Emporio Armani Milano. He suffered a shoulder injury midseason and he was released by the team. The Wolves selected the former Purdue star with the No. 58 overall selection in the 2012 draft. He spent two season in Minnesota, averaging 3.9 points and 2.7 rebounds in 14.3 minutes per game.
Wolters, the 38th pick in 2013 draft, played in Turkey last season. He appeared in 58 games with the Bucks, including 31 starts, in 2013/14. He averaged 7.2 points and 3.2 assists that season. He then played another 11 games with Milwaukee the following season and 10 more with the Pelicans off the bench. According to international journalist David Pick (Twitter link), Wolters is headed overseas after agreeing to a contract that is worth $200K-$225K with Red Star Belgrade.
The Nuggets, who exercised their rookie-scale option for shooting guard Gary Harris earlier today, have elected to do the same for Emmanuel Mudiay and Jusuf Nurkic, the team announced via press release. By picking up the third-year option for Mudiay, the team is now on the hook for his salary of $3,381,480 for next season and another $2,947,305 as a result of picking up the fourth-year option on Nurkic. Neither move is a surprise given the importance of the duo in Denver’s future plans.
Nurkic was drafted with the No. 16 overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft by Chicago and was acquired by Denver in the same draft-night trade along with Harris. The big has appeared in 94 games in his career, averaging 7.3 points, 5.9 rebounds, 1.0 assists and 1.2 blocks in 17.6 minutes per game. The 22-year-old’s career shooting numbers are .435/.000/.628.
Mudiay was selected with the seventh overall pick of the 2015 NBA Draft. He played in 68 games, including 66 starts, as a rookie last season, notching averages of 12.8 points, 5.5 assists and 1.0 steals in 30.4 minutes per game. His slash line on the campaign was .364/.319/.670.
7:46pm: The Nuggets have confirmed the move via press release.
8:49am: The Nuggets have exercised their 2017/18 option on Gary Harris‘ contract, locking him up until 2018, according to RealGM’s transactions log. The move ensures that Harris will receive a fully guaranteed $2,550,055 salary in ’17/18.
The 19th overall pick in the 2014 draft, Harris became Denver’s full-time starter at shooting guard last season, averaging 12.3 PPG, 2.9 RPG, 1.9 APG, and 1.3 SPG in 76 contests. Considering he just celebrated his 22nd birthday last month, Harris still has plenty of potential to develop into an even more productive player for the Nuggets, who will have the opportunity to extend his contract in 2017 or re-sign him as a restricted free agent in 2018.
In the short term, Harris’ debut in 2016/17 figures to be postponed a little. He’s currently recovering from a torn groin, which he suffered during the Nuggets’ first preseason game, and isn’t expected to be ready to play to start the season.
The Nuggets have yet to make an announcement regarding Harris’ option, and will likely wait to confirm two other option decisions as well — Emmanuel Mudiay has a third-year option for 2017/18, while Jusuf Nurkic has a fourth-year ’17/18 option, and Denver will almost certainly pick up both of those.
Check out the full breakdown of this year’s rookie-scale option decisions right here.
- With Kenneth Faried at risk of losing his starting job, league sources tell Kyler that the big man may not be thrilled with a move to the bench, which could prompt the Nuggets to ramp up efforts to trade him this season. The Nuggets will be a team to watch when most offseason signees around the NBA become trade-eligible on December 15, particularly if they get off to a slow start.
The 2016/17 NBA regular season will get underway in just over a week, which means it’s time to start getting serious about predictions for the upcoming campaign. With the help of the lines from offshore betting site Bovada.lv, we’re going to run through the predicted win totals for each of the NBA’s 30 teams, by division, and have you weigh in on whether you think those forecasts are too optimistic or too pessimistic. Having looked at the Atlantic division last Friday, we’re moving on to the Northwest today…
- 2015/16 record: 40-42
- Over/under for 2016/17: 49 wins
- Offseason in review: Added George Hill, Joe Johnson, Boris Diaw. Lost Trevor Booker, Trey Burke, Tibor Pleiss.
(App users, click here for Jazz poll)
Portland Trail Blazers
- 2015/16 record: 44-38
- Over/under for 2016/17: 45.5 wins
- Offseason in review: Added Evan Turner, Festus Ezeli. Lost Gerald Henderson, Brian Roberts, Chris Kaman.
(App users, click here for Trail Blazers poll)
Oklahoma City Thunder
- 2015/16 record: 55-27
- Over/under for 2016/17: 43.5 wins
- Offseason in review: Added Victor Oladipo, Domantas Sabonis, Ersan Ilyasova, Alex Abrines, Ronnie Price, Joffrey Lauvergne. Lost Kevin Durant, Serge Ibaka, Dion Waiters, Randy Foye.
(App users, click here for Thunder poll)
- 2015/16 record: 29-53
- Over/under for 2016/17: 40.5 wins
- Offseason in review: Added Kris Dunn, Cole Aldrich, Jordan Hill, Brandon Rush. Lost Kevin Garnett, Tayshaun Prince, Greg Smith.
(App users, click here for Timberwolves poll)
- 2015/16 record: 33-49
- Over/under for 2016/17: 37 wins
- Offseason in review: Added Jamal Murray, Juan Hernangomez, Malik Beasley. Lost D.J. Augustin, Joffrey Lauvergne.
(App users, click here for Nuggets poll)
Previous voting results:
- Boston Celtics (52.5 wins): Under (54.59%)
- Toronto Raptors (50.5 wins): Over (54.63%)
- New York Knicks (38.5 wins): Over (71.41%)
- Philadelphia 76ers (23.5 wins): Under (54.62%)
- Brooklyn Nets (20.5 wins): Under (60.74%)
The TrailBlazers are the favorites to win the Northwest division this season, but it’s far from a certain outcome. Just a year ago, Portland was expected to be a lottery team after losing four starters, but the team overachieved, winning 44 games and beating an injury-riddled Clippers squad in the playoffs en route to a second round playoff series loss to the Warriors. Portland aggressively pursued high-priced, impact players in free agency and ended up adding Evan Turner on an expensive, four year, $70MM deal. Turner is a perplexing addition for a team that already had wing depth, but his presence should provide insurance of sorts in case of an injury. Turner will also give the team more flexibility with its line-up decisions, as Arthur Hill of Hoops Rumors writes in the team’s Offseason In Review. The Blazers’ depth should keep them from sliding too far down the standings, but they remain a strong candidate to regress.
The Thunder had the worst offseason of any team, as Eddie Scarito of Hoops Rumors details in the team’s Offseason In Review. Losing Kevin Durant hurts, but Oklahoma City’s roster is not barren. This team can easily go 10-12 players deep on most nights and Russell Westbrook shifting from running-mate to Commander In Chief with a solid supporting cast should be not only fun to watch, but also enough to keep the team in contention for the division crown.
The Wolves arguably have the best young core in all of basketball. They appear to be a year or two away from making major noise in the conference, as I discussed in the team’s Offseason In Review. However, coach/executive Tom Thibodeau is going to get the most out of this roster and if Kris Dunn is able to hit the ground running, Minnesota could exceed expectations.
Denver lurks as a potential playoff team this season. The Nuggets’ success hinges on Emmanuel Mudiay taking the next step and proving he can be a franchise point guard. The franchise is likely a season away from reaching its playoff goal, as Scarito writes in the team’s Offseason In Review. Nevertheless, this team will be frisky on a nightly basis with its depth giving opposing teams trouble.
The Jazz are in position to take a major step forward. The addition of George Hill is an underrated move and his presence, along with 35-year-old Joe Johnson and 34-year-old Boris Diaw, will provide this team with veteran leadership, as Dana Gauruder of Hoops Rumors notes in the team’s Offseason in Review. The Jazz have the talent to compete with any team in the league and they are my personal pick to win this division. Despite the injury to Gordon Hayward, I envision this team winning over 50 games and earning a top-4 seed in the Western Conference.
Do you think the Jazz will be atop this division at the end of the season or will another team take home the crown? Don’t limit yourself to a simple button click. Take to the comments section below and share your thoughts and opinions. We look forward to what you have to say!
- While the rest of the league is getting smaller, the Nuggets may start two 7-footers on opening night, writes Christopher Dempsey of The Denver Post. Jusuf Nurkic appears to have played well enough in preseason to earn the starting center job, with Nikola Jokic sliding over to power forward and Kenneth Faried moving to the bench. “It definitely is a herd mentality type of league,” said coach Michael Malone. “We’ve started two bigs together in (three) of our preseason games. We think that they can play well together because they are so skilled.”
- The Nuggets‘ impressive depth at multiple positions could end up being problematic, given the lack of minutes and numerous players deserving of playing time whose development may be stunted as a result, Keith P. Smith of RealGM.com opines in his analysis of the team. The scribe notes that Denver desperately needs to make a trade to consolidate that depth and land a star player to build around, which is also something that I noted previously in my look back at the Nuggets’ offseason.
The Nuggets have officially waived guard D.J. Kennedy, forward JaKarr Sampson and forward Axel Toupane, the team announced via press release. The moves pare down the team’s preseason roster to 17 players, which is two above the regular season maximum. The only one of the trio with any guaranteed salary is Kennedy ($50K), and that amount will remain on Denver’s cap for the season unless he is claimed off waivers by another team.
Kennedy appeared in one preseason game for the Nuggets, posting four points, two rebounds, three assists and three steals in 12 minutes of play. His NBA regular season experience consists of two games with the Cavaliers during the 2011/12 campaign where he averaged 6.0 points, 3.5 rebounds and 1.5 assists in 29.5 minutes per outing. Kennedy has split the remainder of his playing career thus far between the NBA D-League and overseas. He spent the 2015/16 campaign with the Russian club Enisey Krasnoyarsk, appearing in 40 games and averaging 14.9 points, 7.4 rebounds and 3.7 assists. Kennedy’s shooting line on the year was .451/.287/.809.
Sampson was originally inked by Denver this past February and played in the final 26 games (22 starts) of the 2015/16 season, averaging 5.2 points and 2.3 rebounds in 18.0 minutes. He has appeared in one preseason contest this year, notching 10 points, three rebounds, one steal and one block in 20 minutes.
Toupane signed with the Nuggets in March of this year and averaged 3.6 points, 1.5 rebounds and 14.5 minutes over the final 21 games of the 2015/16 campaign. He has appeared in one game this preseason, scoring 11 points, snagging seven rebounds and dishing out three assists in 19 total minutes.