Denver Nuggets Rumors

And-Ones: Griffin, Calipari, Mozgov, Jamison

August 28 at 4:29pm CDT By Chuck Myron

The Cavs were in talks with John Calipari about a coach/executive role that would give him authority over the front office even after they removed the interim tag from GM David Griffin‘s title, but Griffin doesn’t sound upset about the team’s attempted maneuver. Griffin made his comments Wednesday in a radio appearance on The Doug Gottlieb Show, and James Herbert of CBSSports.com provides a partial transcription.

“To be honest with you, I don’t think anything was ever done without my knowledge of what was being done, for one,” Griffin said. “And two, I turned down opportunities to be a GM because the fit wasn’t right, and when I sat with [owner] Dan [Gilbert] and [Cavs vice chairman] Nate [Forbes], when we talked about our vision for the future and me having this job, I encouraged them to talk to other people. It was something that was really important to me.”

Gilbert said he would have been “disappointed” if the team hadn’t spoken with Calipari, so it seems he and his bosses are in lockstep as the Cavs prepare to chase a title. There’s more from Cleveland amid the latest from around the league:

  • Timofey Mozgov is intrigued by the idea of again playing for David Blatt, who coached him on the Russian national team, and with LeBron James, but he says he’s not going to push for a trade from the Nuggets, as Boris Khodorovsky of ITAR-TASS observes (translation via Alexander Chernykh of Rush’n Hoops). The Cavs have reportedly been trying to trade for Mozgov.
  • Free agent Antawn Jamison won’t rule out retirement, but the 38-year-old would prefer to find an NBA deal, as he tells DeAntae Prince of The Sporting News. The 16-year vet also said to Prince that while he has “options” in free agency, he won’t decide on any of them for at least another month, and he won’t limit himself to signing with contenders, as he has the past two offseasons.
  • Some NBA teams had planned on scouting three-year NBA veteran Mickael Gelabale at the World Cup, and he’s also drawing interest from FC Barcelona of Spain, tweets Shams Charania of RealGM.

Contract Details: Clarkson, Young, Powell

August 26 at 9:32pm CDT By Eddie Scarito

Eric Pincus has once more updated his Basketball Insiders salary pages, and included in his changes are a few tidbits of previously unreported news on players who’ve signed this summer. We’ll pass along those items here:

  • The two-year deal that Jerrelle Benimon signed with the Nuggets is for the minimum salary and is partially guaranteed for $35K this season, while his 2015/16 salary is non-guaranteed, Pincus reports (Twitter link).
  • The Blazers gave Diante Garrett a $30K guarantee in the first year of his two-year minimum salary deal, but the second year is non-guaranteed, Pincus notes on Twitter.
  • Patric Young‘s two-year deal with the Pelicans is a minimum-salary arrangement that’s partially guaranteed for $55K this season, but it’s otherwise non-guaranteed, Pincus notes (Twitter link). Darius Miller‘s deal with the team is partially guaranteed for $400K this year but otherwise non-guaranteed, Pincus adds.
  • Both Will Cherry‘s and Jordan Hamilton‘s salaries are guaranteed for $25K for the 2014/15 season, Pincus tweets, adding that Hamilton’s pact is for the minimum. The Raptors signed Cherry to a two-year minimum salary deal, and Hamilton to a one-year arrangement. Cherry’s salary for 2015/16 is non-guaranteed, Pincus adds.
  • Dwight Powell‘s deal with the Cavaliers is fully guaranteed for the first season, with the second year non-guaranteed, Pincus reports (Twitter link). The contract covers just those two seasons, as Pincus notes.
  • The Spurs‘ two-year deal with JaMychal Green is for the minimum salary and has a $60K guarantee for this coming season, Pincus reports (Twitter link). It’s non-guaranteed for 2015/16, according to Pincus.
  • Sim Bhullar‘s deal is for one year and comes with a guarantee of $35K, while Eric Moreland‘s three-year contract is guaranteed for $200K this coming season and is otherwise non-guaranteed, Pincus notes (Twitter link). Both players are with the Kings, and, according to Pincus, make the minimum.
  • The two-year, minimum-salary deal that Jordan Clarkson signed with the Lakers is fully guaranteed for this coming season, but the 2015/16 season is non-guaranteed, Pincus reports (Twitter link).

Windhorst’s Latest: Love, Mozgov, Thompson

August 26 at 11:06am CDT By Chuck Myron

The Cavs were only willing to give up two of three assets they relinquished in the Kevin Love trade until owner Dan Gilbert met with Love earlier this summer in Las Vegas, as Brian Windhorst of ESPN said in his appearance Monday with Tom Rizzo on ESPN Cleveland radio (audio link). Cleveland switched gears after that meeting and decided to give up its entire package of Andrew Wiggins, Anthony Bennett and the 2015 first-round pick it had previously acquired from Miami, as Windhorst details. The ESPN scribe speculates that Gilbert probably emerged from having spoken with Love more confident that the superstar power forward would remain in Cleveland long-term, which led him to up the Cavs’ offer. Windhorst had plenty more to say on Rizzo’s “The Really Big Show,” and we already touched on the Zydrunas Ilgauskas news earlier today. We’ll share the rest of the highlights here:

  • Cleveland’s acquisition of John Lucas III, Erik Murphy and Malcolm Thomas in last month’s trade with the Jazz was made with Timofey Mozgov in mind, according to Windhorst, who says the Cavs continue to try to pry the center from the Nuggets. The Cavs envisioned flipping some combination of those three for Mozgov, as Windhorst indicates. Still, the Nuggets are reluctant to give him up, Windhorst adds, even though the Cavs offered a first-round pick as part of a deal for him, as Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports reported a few weeks ago.
  • The Cavs tried to acquire Alexey Shved in the Love trade, in part because of his connection to coach David Blatt from their time together on the Russian national team, Windhorst says. Shved went to the Sixers instead.
  • Windhorst asserts that the Cavs will sign Tristan Thompson to a rookie scale extension, suggesting that it would make the power forward a trade asset. An extension would complicate any trade involving Thompson because of the Poison Pill Provision, however.

Western Rumors: Cooley, Anderson, Wolves

August 25 at 8:00pm CDT By Cray Allred

John Canzano of The Oregonian thinks that Team USA’s decision to cut Damian Lillard from its final roster will fuel the Blazers point guard in reaching another level on the court. Here’s more from around the West:

  • Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders tweets that Jack Cooley‘s contract with the Jazz is partially guaranteed at $65K, the same amount that fellow training camp invites Kevin Murphy and Dee Bost received in guaranteed salary.
  • Ryan Anderson expects to begin playing again at the open of Pelicans training camp, he tells Jim Eichenhofer of Pelicans.com. “I have a few more weeks, so training camp I’ll be ready to go all out,” said Anderson. “I just can’t wait to play contact basketball again. I can’t wait for that day. Until then I want to build up strength, get stronger and really work on my conditioning, and get back to normal.” Anderson missed most of last year after suffering a serious neck injury.
  • Christopher Dempsey of The Denver Post compares the Kevin Love trade to the Carmelo Anthony blockbuster between the Nuggets and Knicks. While the Wolves likely received better talent from the Cavs than Denver did from New York in 2011, Dempsey thinks Minnesota will face a tougher road to becoming competitive in the next few years.

Trade Retrospective: Carmelo Anthony To Knicks

August 16 at 9:16am CDT By Eddie Scarito

There are only eight more days until Andrew Wiggins can officially be traded, and Kevin Love can put on a Cavaliers jersey, which would complete the biggest trade of the summer. But the trade doesn’t guarantee that Cleveland will hoist a Championship banner next year, or that the Timberwolves will break their string of missing the playoffs.

I’ve been taking a look back at past blockbuster deals, and how they worked out for both sides involved. So far I’ve recapped the deals that sent Dwight Howard to the Lakers; Deron Williams to the Nets; and Kevin Garnett to the Celtics. Next on the docket is the February of 2011 trade that sent Carmelo Anthony to the Knicks.

Anthony pushed for the trade during the 2010/11 season primarily because of the new CBA in the works that would reduce the maximum contract amount he would be able to re-sign for. With the labor agreement ending June 30th, 2011, and uncertainty surrounding what the next pact would look like, it was in Anthony’s best financial interests to sign an extension as part of an extend-and-trade transaction with the Knicks rather than wait for free agency.

The cuts didn’t end up being quite as harsh as the players had feared. As part of the trade, Anthony signed a three-year, $65MM extension with the Knicks. The maximum amount he could have signed for under the new CBA as a free agent would have been approximately $58MM. The first-year salary would have still allowed for a maximum of 105% of his prior salary. It was after that first year, where the annual increases dropped under the new agreement, going from the previous CBA’s 8% maximum increase, down to 4.5%. It’s worth noting that since Anthony opted out of his contract’s final year, he only gained roughly $3MM over the course of that deal than if he would have simply signed with New York as a free agent.

The trade involved New York, the Nuggets, and the Timberwolves. Let’s begin by recapping the pieces involved.

  1. The Knicks received Anthony; Renaldo Balkman; Chauncey Billups; Anthony Carter; and Shelden Williams from Denver. They also received Corey Brewer from Minnesota.
  2. The Timberwolves received Eddy Curry; Anthony Randolph; and $3MM from New York. They also received a 2015 second-rounder from Denver.
  3. The Nuggets received Danilo Gallinari; Wilson Chandler; Raymond Felton; Timofey Mozgov; the right to swap first-round picks in 2016; a 2014 first-rounder (No. 12 overall); a 2012 second-round pick (Quincy Miller); a 2013 second-round pick (via Golden State); and $3MM cash from the Knicks. Denver also received Kosta Koufos from Minnesota.

For the Knicks the big prize was obviously Anthony. Team owner James Dolan had been seeking a big name player, but had struck out in trying to lure LeBron James to New York the prior year, and the team had to settle for Amar’e Stoudemire instead. Dolan’s biggest fear was that Anthony could end up with the rival Nets, which would have been a blow to his ego, as well as threaten the Knicks’ position as the No. 1 team in New York.

The knock on ‘Melo has always been the same: he’s a ball-stopper who doesn’t make the players around him better. He had also led the Nuggets out of the first round of the playoffs just once (2008/09) during his tenure in Denver. Anthony may have broken the first-round curse of the Knicks back in 2012/13, but the criticisms still remain.

Anthony has been a stat-sheet filler for the Knicks during his time in New York. Here are his numbers by season since the trade:

  1. 2010/11: In the final 27 games after the trade, he averaged 26.3 PPG, 6.7 RPG, and 3.0 APG.
  2. 2011/12: 22.6 PPG, 6.3 RPG, and 3.6 APG. His slash line was .430/.335/.804.
  3. 2012/13: 28.7 PPG, 6.9 RPG, and 2.6 APG. His slash line was .449/.379/.830.
  4. 2013/14: 27.4 PPG, 8.1 RPG, and 3.1 APG. His slash line was .452/.402/.848.

If you look at the trade based on Anthony’s statistical production, then it’s hard to argue that the deal was a failure. The Knicks hadn’t made the playoffs since the 2003/04 campaign, and their record since that year leading up to the Anthony acquisition was 173-319. Since the deal, the Knicks have made the playoffs three of the four seasons ‘Melo has been with the franchise. Their record during this stretch is 169-143.

As the team’s star player, Anthony gets a lot of heat for the Knicks’ failure to advance past the second round. I personally feel that while Anthony isn’t necessarily the problem, he hasn’t been the solution either. The front office hasn’t been able to pair him with the right group of players who maximize his talents and hide his deficiencies. The team has also suffered from poor point guard play throughout Anthony’s tenure, which is a major reason for the team’s disappointments.

But Anthony hasn’t been able to elevate those around him either. LeBron had less talent around him during his first stint in Cleveland, yet he was able to make it to the NBA Finals, losing to the Spurs in 2007. The Knicks and their fans had better hope that the triangle offense and arrival of Jose Calderon will help Anthony take his play to the next level, seeing as he isn’t leaving anytime soon. Anthony recently re-signed with the team for five years and $124MM.

Renaldo Balkman was originally drafted by the Knicks back in 2006. He was traded to the Nuggets in 2008, in what was essentially a salary dump. His second stint in New York lasted all of 17 games, where he averaged 2.0 PPG, in parts of two seasons. Balkman was released on February 17, 2012, to make room on the roster for J.R. Smith, who was signed as a free agent after playing in China. Balkman hasn’t appeared in an NBA game since. His only claim to fame since leaving the NBA was an incident where he choked a teammate during a game in the Philippines.

Chauncey Billups was a good pickup for the Knicks. At the time of the trade, he was averaging 16.5 PPG, 2.5 RPG, and 5.3 APG. He finished out the season strong for New York, putting up 17.5 PPG, 3.1 RPG, and 5.5 APG. But in December of that year the Knicks used the Amnesty Provision to waive Billups in order to clear enough cap space to sign free agent Tyson Chandler. Some would argue, myself included, that New York would have been better served in the long run to have amnestied Stoudemire instead.

The Clippers claimed Billups off of waivers for the bargain price of $2MM, leaving the Knicks on the hook for the remaining $12.2MM the player was owed for that season. Billups provided Los Angeles with 15.0 PPG, 2.5 RPG, and 4.0 APG that year.

Anthony Carter was essentially a throw-in, and finished the season with the Knicks, averaging 4.4 PPG, 2.1 RPG, and 2.3 APG. Carter became a free agent at the end of the season and signed with the Raptors. He appeared in 24 contests, averaging 2.0 PPG, 1.4 RPG, and 1.4 APG. He was waived by Toronto on March 15, 2012. He hasn’t played in an NBA game since, and is now an assistant coach in the NBA D-League.

Shelden Williams appeared in 17 games for New York, averaging 3.9 PPG and 2.9 RPG. The Knicks didn’t re-sign him at the end of the 2010/11 season. Williams then signed a one-year deal with the Nets, and appeared in 58 games for New Jersey, averaging 4.6 PPG and 6.0 RPG. That was Williams’ last season in the NBA, and he last saw action over in China.

Corey Brewer was waived by the Knicks without ever appearing in a game for them.  Two days later, once Brewer cleared waivers, he signed a three-year, $8MM deal with the Mavericks. Brewer was part of Dallas’ championship team that season, averaging 5.3 PPG and 1.8 RPG. He was then traded that December to the Nuggets along with Rudy Fernandez in exchange for a 2016 second-round pick.

Brewer played well for Denver, averaging 8.9 PPG and 2.5 RPG in 2011/12, and 12.1 PPG and 2.9 RPG in 2012/13. He then left Denver as a free agent, signing a three-year, $15MM contract to return to the Wolves. Brewer averaged 12.3 PPG and 2.6 RPG last year for Minnesota.

Minnesota was involved to help the Knicks make the salaries work for matching purposes. They took on Eddy Curry‘s expiring deal, and they bought out his contract without him ever playing a game for them.  Curry signed with the Heat in December of 2011, appearing in 14 games, averaging 2.1 PPG that year.

Anthony Randolph was supposed to be a big part of New York’s future when he was acquired as part of the sign-and-trade deal that sent David Lee to the Warriors. But he remained buried on the Knicks’ bench, averaging 2.1 PPG and 2.4 RPG, in just 7.1 minutes a night. He fared slightly better after the trade, averaging 7.4 PPG and 3.6 PPG to finish out the year.

After the season, Randolph left Minnesota and signed a three-year, $6MM deal with the Nuggets. He didn’t log many minutes in Denver either, averaging 4.3 PPG and 2.6 RPG in his two seasons with the Nuggets. He was then traded during the 2014 NBA Draft in the deal that sent the rights to Doug McDermott to the Bulls, and netted Denver the rights to Gary Harris.

This brings us to the Nuggets, and how they have fared since the trade. In Anthony’s eight seasons in Denver, the team’s cumulative record was 388-268. Since the trade, they have gone 131-99, with two playoff appearances, losing both series in the first round. Injuries have certainly taken their toll, and they’re the main reason the team missed the playoffs last year.

The centerpiece of the trade from Denver’s side, was Danilo Gallinari. The Nuggets were hoping that he could replace Anthony as the team’s primary scorer, and they were banking on his potential to make the trade work in their favor.  It hasn’t quite worked out that way as injuries have mounted. He missed half of the 2011/12 season and the entire 2013/14 season.

Gallinari’s numbers in Denver are:

  1. 2010/11: 14.7 PPG, 5.4 RPG, and 1.6 APG. His slash line was .412/.370/.772.
  2. 2011/12: 14.6 PPG, 4.7 RPG, and 2.7 APG. His slash line was .414/.328/.871.
  3. 2012/13: 16.2 PPG, 5.2 RPG, and 2.5 APG. His slash line was .418/.373/.822.
  4. 2013/14: Missed entire season.

It remains to be seen how Gallinari will fare this coming season, but it’s hard to count on him as a cornerstone thanks to his injury history. He originally came into the league with a history of back problems, which slowed him his first season in New York. Denver better hope he can return to form, seeing as they signed him to a four-year, $42MM extension in January of 2012.

Wilson Chandler was the other significant piece the Nuggets acquired, and he has also been bitten by the injury bug during his time in Denver. He missed half of the 2011/12 season when he signed with a team in China during the NBA lockout. Since Chandler didn’t have an out-clause in his contract, he couldn’t return to the NBA until after the Chinese playoffs ended. Once he was permitted to return to the NBA, he signed a five-year, $37MM deal with the Nuggets, but Chandler only appeared in eight games that season before suffering a labral tear in his left hip.

Chandler’s numbers since arriving in Denver are:

  1. 2010/11: 12.5 PPG, 5.0 RPG, and 1.6 APG. His slash line was .419/.347/.810.
  2. 2011/12: 9.4 PPG, 5.1 RPG, and 2.1 APG. His slash line was .392/.250/.833.
  3. 2012/13: 13.0 PPG, 5.1 RPG, and 1.3 APG. His slash line was .462/.413/.793.
  4. 2013/14: 13.6 PPG, 4.7 RPG, and 1.8 APG. His slash line was .416/.348/.724.

Prior to the trade, Raymond Felton was enjoying a strong first season in New York, thriving under then-coach Mike D’Antoni‘s system. In 54 games, Felton averaged 17.1 PPG, 3.6 RPG, and 9.0 APG.

Once he arrived in Denver, Felton was relegated to backing up Ty Lawson, which didn’t sit well with Felton. After the season he requested a trade, and was dealt as part of a three team trade with Dallas and Portland during the 2011 NBA Draft. In return the Nuggets received Andre Miller and the rights to the No. 26 pick Jordan Hamilton.

Miller played well during his 2+ seasons in Denver, averaging 8.4 PPG and 5.3 APG. He was dealt to the Wizards last season after a falling out with coach Brian Shaw over his playing time.

Hamilton was also dealt last season, being sent to the Rockets in exchange for Aaron Brooks. During his time in Denver, Hamilton averaged 5.5 PPG and 2.7 RPG. Brooks played well after he trade, appearing in 29 games, and putting up 11.9 PPG and 5.2 APG. Brooks signed a one-year, minimum-salary deal with the Bulls this summer.

Felton hasn’t enjoyed the same success that he did under D’Antoni. His one season in Portland was marred by Felton arriving out-of-shape after the lockout ended, and he averaged 11.4 PPG and 6.5 APG during the 2011/12 season.

That was Felton’s only season in Rip City. He was sent back to the Knicks in a sign-and-trade deal along with Kurt Thomas in exchange for Jared Jeffries; Dan GadzuricKostas PapanikolaouGeorgios Printezis; and a 2016 second round pick. Felton’s new deal with New York was for four years and $14.86MM with a fourth-year player option.

Felton’s second stint in New York came to an end when he was dealt along with Tyson Chandler to the Mavericks in exchange for Jose Calderon; Samuel Dalembert; Wayne Ellington; Shane Larkin; and the No. 34 (Cleanthony Early) and No. 51 (Thanasis Antetikounmpo) picks in the 2014 NBA Draft.

The Nuggets used the 2012 second-rounder they obtained in the Anthony trade to select Quincy Miller at No. 38. Miller hasn’t done much to impress in his short career, averaging 3.1 PPG and 1.5 RPG in two seasons.

The 2013 second-round pick they obtained was sent to the Magic as part of the Dwight Howard to the Lakers trade, which was then used to select Romero Osby. The 2014 first rounder Denver received from the Knicks was also packaged in this deal, which the Magic later used as part of the 2014 draft-night swap that netted Orlando the rights to Elfrid Payton.

As a part of the Howard deal, the Nuggets received Andre Iguodala, who averaged 13.0 PPG, 5.3 RPG, and 5.4 APG in his one season in Denver. Iguodala was shipped to the Warriors in a sign-and-trade after the 2012/13 season for Randy Foye. Foye had a decent season last year, averaging 13.2 PPG, 2.9 RPG, and 3.5 APG for the Nuggets.

The final player that Denver received from the Knicks was the one who almost scuttled the deal, Timofey Mozgov. The talks almost broke down when New York was adamant at first about not including the 7’1″ center. Mozgov has always been viewed as a player with upside, but he has never quite realized that potential. Mozgov did have his best season as a pro last year, averaging 9.4 PPG and 6.4 RPG. He is 28 years old though, and he may have already reached his peak as a player.

The Nuggets also received Kosta Koufos from the Wolves in the deal. In his two seasons in Denver, Koufos averaged 6.8 PPG and 6.1 RPG. He signed a three-year, $9MM extension on January 25, 2012, but was traded last June to the Grizzlies for Darrell Arthur and the rights to the No. 55 Joffrey Lauvergne. During the 2013/14 season with Denver, Arthur averaged 5.9 PPG and 3.1 RPG.

The Anthony trade hasn’t quite worked out for either side like they had hoped. ‘Melo has put up fantastic individual numbers in New York, but the sheer amount of assets the franchise gave up to acquire him surely set them back. It could set New York back even further depending on how the draft picks work out in 2016 since Denver has the right to switch places with the Knicks.

For the Nuggets, the team played better after Anthony departed, making up for the loss of their star by having exceptional depth and athleticism on their roster. But injuries have certainly taken their toll, with both Gallinari and Chandler missing significant time.

Looking back at this trade, I’d have to call it a draw. New York got the best player in the deal, but Anthony hasn’t been able to improve the franchise’s fortunes yet. He just turned 30, and the near-max contract he just signed will limit the Knicks’ future options in constructing a winning roster around him before he hits his decline phase.

The Nuggets’ depth has translated into wins when everyone was healthy, but it’s rare in this league to win a championship without at least one star player on the roster, an asset the Nuggets do not currently possess. If they can remain injury-free, they should be a playoff team next season, but it’s doubtful that they can overtake the upper-echelon teams in the brutal Western Conference.

Kevin Love certainly shares some comparisons with Anthony, seeing as he also takes heat for not making those around him better, as well as being a poor defender. The big difference though is Anthony didn’t join a team with players of LeBron or Kyrie Irving‘s talent level. Time will tell if Love can silence his critics, which ‘Melo is still trying to do.

Central Notes: Allen, Hibbert, Wiggins

August 11 at 7:08pm CDT By Zach Links

Earlier today, the Cavs signed New Mexico big man Alex Kirk.  The 6’11″ center averaged 13.3 points and 8.7 rebounds in 32.0 minutes per game in his junior year this past season and drew interest as a second round choice but went undrafted in June.  More out of the Central Division..

  • Ray Allen said earlier today that we won’t need to wait for word from a secret inside source – he’ll just come out with a decision on his future when he figures it out, tweets Sam Amico of FOX Sports Ohio.  Allen has been heavily connected to the Cavs and there has been some conflicting information about his basketball future in recent weeks.
  • With speculation that the Pacers could explore a Roy Hibbert trade, Christopher Dempsey of the Denver Post makes the case for the Nuggets going after him and offering JaVale McGee.  Acquiring Hibbert would enhance Denver’s defensive profile while giving themselves a legitimate on-the-block scorer.  Meanwhile, McGee would give Indiana an active big man that blocks shots and runs the court like a gazelle.
  • Andrew Wiggins is in limbo as he waits to be sent from the Cavs to the Wolves, but he’s not losing sleep over it, writes Ian Harrison of The Associated Press. “Whatever happens is out of my control,” he said. “I’m not worrying about it right now.”

Trade Retrospective: Deron Williams To Nets

August 9 at 12:18pm CDT By Eddie Scarito

The soon-to-be blockbuster trade that will send Kevin Love to the Cavaliers for Andrew Wiggins, Anthony Bennett, and a future first-rounder, is just awaiting the 30-day moratorium from the date that Wiggins signed his contract to pass before the trade can become official. While the Timberwolves have no choice but to trade their star player, lest they risk losing him in free agency for nothing after the season, there is always a danger in dealing away a player of Love’s talent.

I’ve begun looking back at past trades involving big name superstars being dealt, and the results of these deals for all parties involved. Previously I had examined the four-team trade which sent Dwight Howard to the Lakers, and the outcomes for all the teams involved turned out to be less than stellar.

The next trade that I’ll be looking back at is the February 2011 deal that sent Deron Williams from the Jazz to the Nets. Let’s first recap the pieces that changed hands:

  1. The Nets received Williams.
  2. The Jazz received Derrick Favors; Devin Harris; a 2011 first-round pick (used to select Enes Kanter); a 2013 first-round pick (which was later traded along with Utah’s No. 14 overall pick for the rights to Trey Burke); and $3MM.

Note: The Nets also traded forward Troy Murphy and a 2012 second-round pick to the Warriors for center Dan Gadzuric and forward Brandan Wright the same day. This deal was announced at the same time, but wasn’t part of the Jazz-Nets transaction.

This deal came together after Williams had expressed his displeasure with playing in Utah, and his season-long friction with then coach Jerry Sloan, which had a direct influence on Sloan resigning from his long-time position with the team. The Nets made this deal after being unsuccessful in their numerous attempts to land Carmelo Anthony from the Nuggets, who forced his way into being traded to the Knicks instead.

From the Nets’ perspective, it would be safe to say that this trade hasn’t quite worked out for the franchise as planned. Williams has been hobbled by injuries for much of his time in New Jersey/Brooklyn, and his production hasn’t quite been worth the assets surrendered, nor the subsequent 5-year, $98MM extension he signed with the team in July of 2012.

Let’s look at Williams’ numbers since joining the Nets:

  1. In 2011/12, Williams averaged 21.0 PPG, 3.3 RPG, and 8.7 APG. He appeared in 55 games that year, and his slash line was .407/.336/.843.
  2. In 2012/13, he appeared in 78 games, averaging 18.9 PPG, 3.0 RPG, and 7.7 APG. His slash line was .440/.378/.859.
  3. In 2013/14, Williams played in 64 contests, putting up 14.3 PPG, 2.6 RPG, and 6.1 APG. His shooting numbers were .450/.366/.801.

His numbers the first two seasons were very respectable, but arguably not in line with the level of his contract, nor the perception of him being a franchise player. Injuries have had much to do with this, and he underwent surgery this May on both of his ankles. Both the Nets and Williams hope this will alleviate the pain he was forced to play through, and perhaps help him regain some of the explosiveness that he has lost since his days in Utah. Williams still has three years and $63.1MM remaining on his contract, so Brooklyn certainly hopes it helps.

From Utah’s perspective, the trade looks better every time Williams hobbles up and down the court, and I’m sure they’re happy not having to pay max-level money for his decline years. But the deal hasn’t helped them advance in the standings. Since dealing Williams, the Jazz have gone 104-126, and have made it to the postseason just once, and were ousted in the first round by the Spurs that year. During the same time period, Brooklyn sits at an even 115-115, with two playoff appearances.

As for the players they received in return, the results have been mixed. Both Favors and Kanter have improved with each season, and have the potential to anchor a productive frontcourt for years to come. But neither player has performed at an All-Star level. Let’s look at their numbers since arriving in Utah.

Favors:

  1. During the 2011/12 season, Favors averaged 8.8 PPG, 6.5 RPG, and 1.0 BPG. His slash line was .499/.000/.649.
  2. In 2012/13 he averaged 9.4 PPG, 7.1 RPG, and 1.7 BPG, while shooting .482/.000/.688.
  3. Last season, Favors put up 13.3 PPG, 8.7 RPG, and 1.5 BPG. His slash line was .522/.000/.669.

Kanter:

  1. Back in 2011/12, as a rookie he put up 4.6 PPG, 4.2 RPG, and 0.3 BPG. His slash line was .496/.000/.667.
  2. During the 2012/13 campaign, Kanter provided 7.2 PPG, 4.3 RPG, and 0.5 BPG. His shooting numbers were .544/1.000/.795.
  3. Last year’s numbers were 12.3 PPG, 7.5 RPG, and 0.5 BPG. Kanter’s slash line was .491/.000/.730.

Harris played one full season in Utah, and averaged 11.3 PPG, 1.8 RPG, and 5.0 APG. He was then traded during the offseason to the Hawks for forward Marvin Williams. Williams was a productive rotation piece for the Jazz, averaging 7.2 PPG and 3.6 RPG during the 2012/13 season, and 9.1 PPG and 5.1 RPG last year. Williams signed a two-year, $14MM deal with the Hornets this offseason.

The last piece of the deal for the Jazz was the 2013 first-rounder they received, which ended up being the No. 21 overall pick. Utah packaged that selection along with their own first-rounder (No. 14) in a draft night trade with the Timberwolves. The Jazz received the rights to point guard Trey Burke, whom Minnesota had taken 9th overall.

The Wolves used those selections to take Shabazz Muhammad (No. 14) and Gorgui Dieng (No. 21). Nether of those players have set the league on fire, but Dieng has showed flashes of potential and could become a productive rotation player in Minnesota. Muhammad has been a bust thus far, displaying maturity issues, and his offensive game hasn’t developed as hoped.

Burke has easily been the most productive player involved in that deal. In his rookie season, he averaged 12.8 PPG, 3.0 RPG, and 5.7 APG. His slash line was .380/.330/.903. Burke’s shooting was abysmal, but he displayed some improvement towards the end of the season. He also brings a number of intangibles to the table, which can’t be discounted. He is a high-character player, who outperforms his athletic ability.

His role as a starter could be in jeopardy though, seeing as the Jazz picked Dante Exum with the 5th overall selection in this year’s draft. Exum will likely begin his career as a shooting guard, pairing with Burke in the backcourt, but Exum views himself as a point guard, and if he develops quickly, could push Burke into a role off the bench.

As with the Howard trade, this is another example of neither franchise “winning” the deal. If Williams had remained healthy, and put up similar numbers to his days in Utah, then the Nets would have come out on top. A star player in the NBA is worth far more than a number of good rotation pieces.

But in light of Williams’ injury issues, and him being unlikely to regain his past explosiveness at the age of 30, coupled with his enormous contract and resulting cap hit, Utah did reasonably well here. Kanter and Favors could anchor a solid, if unspectacular frontcourt for the next few seasons, and if Burke can improve his outside shooting and keep Exum at shooting guard, then this trade will look much better from the Jazz’s perspective.

That’s a lot of ifs, and it only serves to illustrate the risks involved when franchises deal away their star players. Like the Jazz had with Williams, Minnesota has very little choice but to deal away Love, lest they risk getting nothing to show for their troubles. But while they might acquire some pieces that can help, even acquiring a player of Wiggins’ potential doesn’t mean they’ll be selling playoff tickets any time soon.

Cavs Offer First-Round Pick For Timofey Mozgov

August 8 at 8:54am CDT By Chuck Myron

The Cavs targeted Timofey Mozgov, offering a first-round pick to the Nuggets to entice them to part with the 7’1″ center, as Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports said in an appearance Thursday on WFAN Radio in New York, according to Tommy Beer of Basketball Insiders (Twitter link). It’s not clear whether that offer remains on the table for Denver, but the Cavs, who are over the cap and without a trade exception, would have to send salary to the Nuggets in order for such an exchange to be feasible under the league’s salary matching rules. The Kevin Love trade agreement, in its current form, wouldn’t change that.

Cleveland has been eyeing big men to supplement Love and Anderson Varejao, as Sam Amico of Fox Sports Ohio reported Thursday. Mozgov would be a potential starter, having made 30 starts for the Nuggets this past season to go along with career highs in points (9.4), rebounds (6.4) and minutes (21.6) per game. The 28-year-old sealed off the rim, notching 2.0 blocks per 36 minutes, and his 16.7 PER demonstrated above-average efficiency. He’ll make $4.65MM this coming season, and his contract includes a $4.95MM team option for 2015/16.

Still, the Cavs have faith that Brendan Haywood, whom they acquired last month from the Hornets, can contribute this season, as Amico noted in the same report. Haywood’s unusually structured contract will also become an intriguing trade asset next summer, as I explained.

The Nuggets are halfway through a four-year, $44MM deal with center JaVale McGee, and Denver’s management has been anxious for him to get minutes. He’s returning from having missed most of last season because of injury, and the team also has Jusuf Nurkic, this year’s No. 16 overall pick, at center. J.J. Hickson is another option at the position, even though he’s undersized.

And-Ones: Kings, Felton, Knicks, Singleton, Oden

August 7 at 2:00pm CDT By Chuck Myron

Lost in the noise surrounding the agreement between the Cavs and Wolves to send Kevin Love to Cleveland is a trade that actually became official Wednesday. The Kings can create a pair of trade exceptions from their deal with the Knicks, one worth $915,243 for Quincy Acy‘s salary, and another worth $228,660 for the difference between the salaries of Travis Outlaw and Wayne Ellington. The Knicks, limited in part because they’re a taxpaying team, can only make a tiny trade exception worth $32,920 for the difference between the three-year veteran’s minimum that Jeremy Tyler makes and the two-year veteran’s minimum that’s coming to Acy. Here’s more on the Knicks and other teams and players from around the league:

  • Mavs point guard Raymond Felton will serve a four-game suspension at the start of the regular season for his guilty plea to gun-related charges stemming from a February incident, the league announced via press release.
  • Knicks GM Steve Mills didn’t rule out further moves, but he said Wednesday that the team is satisfied with its backcourt situation after alleviating a logjam with the trade, as Ian Begley of ESPNNewYork.com chronicles.
  • The Wizards no longer have free agent Chris Singleton in their plans, a source tells J. Michael of CSNWashington.com. Singleton nonetheless turned down an overseas offer in hopes of landing an NBA job, and has dropped agent Bill Duffy of BDA Sports in favor of Todd Ramasar from Stealth Sports, Michael also reports.
  • The Heat were unlikely to re-sign Greg Oden before his arrest this morning on misdemeanor battery charges, and the incident probably ends any chance he had of returning to the team, as Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel writes in a pair of tweets.
  • Mark Deeks of ShamSports clarifies an earlier report indicating that Jusuf Nurkic received less than the standard 120% of the rookie scale from the Nuggets. Denver is doling out the full 120%, but the team is using a portion of it to pay Nurkic’s buyout from his Croatian club, so while Nurkic is receiving less than 120% of the scale in actual salary, his cap figure will reflect that the Nuggets are paying 120%. The move is not unprecedented for a player picked as highly as Nurkic, who went 16th overall.

Cavs Sign Mike Miller

August 5 at 5:53pm CDT By Chuck Myron

5:53pm: The team has followed with an official announcement.

AUGUST 5TH, 5:32pm: The team still hasn’t made a formal announcement, but the signing has taken place, according to Pincus (Twitter link). It’s for two years and $5.6MM and it includes a 15% trade kicker, according to Pincus, who confirms that it indeed features a player option for the final season.

JULY 15TH: Mike Miller has agreed to join the Cavs on a two-year deal with a player option for the final season, reports Chris Broussard of ESPN.com (Twitter link). It’s for a total of $5.5MM, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports (on Twitter), though Broussard says the Nuggets and Rockets offered more. Miller had been torn between Denver and Cleveland, as Wojnarowski reported earlier this afternoon (Twitter link). The Cavs are likely using their room exception on the sharpshooting swingman, tweets Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders.

The Arn Tellem client was reportedly near a deal with the Nuggets when LeBron James decided to return to the Cavaliers, which allowed Miller a chance to play with James again. Miller was ineligible to sign with the Heat, since his previous contract with Miami, which the Heat amnestied, ran through next season. James had apparently reached out to Miller to see if he would be interested in joining him were he to leave the Heat this summer.

The Grizzlies, Clippers, Thunder, Blazers and Mavs were other teams reportedly interested in the 34-year-old, who showed this past season that his body is still capable of handling the rigors of the NBA. He played in all 82 games for the first time since he was a rookie, giving Memphis a valuable shooter in reserve. His 45.9% accuracy from behind the arc was the second-best mark of his career.

Miller’s camp appeared to try to ward off the possibility that the Cavs would claim him off amnesty waivers last summer by advancing talk about back surgery, but now Miller is willingly taking a discount to go to Cleveland, in a twist of events.