3:27pm: The deal is official, the Nuggets announced.
2:46pm: The Nuggets and Darrell Arthur have reached agreement on a two-year deal that includes a player option on the final season, reports Christopher Dempsey of The Denver Post (Twitter link). Arthur had been expected to re-sign since late last month, as Dempsey wrote more than two weeks ago, but the sides had yet to agree to terms. The Nuggets renounced their Bird rights to the Jerry Hicks client last month, so they’ll have to use cap space or the $2.814MM room exception to give Arthur more than the minimum. Denver doesn’t have enough cap room at present to formally sign Arthur, who made in excess of $3.457MM last season, for more than that room exception amount, so today’s news would appear to be further indication that Kostas Papanikolaou‘s non-guaranteed contract has a tenuous place on the roster, at best.
Arthur and the Clippers reportedly had mutual interest, though L.A. is limited to giving the minimum salary to outside free agents, as I noted earlier today. The Pistons and Wizards were also apparently interested early last month, but Washington is similarly cash-strapped and Detroit only has the room exception to spend.
The 27-year-old veteran of seven NBA seasons has been steady over his two years in Denver as a rotation-caliber reserve, averaging 6.2 points and 3.0 rebounds in 17.1 minutes. His greatest contributions come on defense, as he’s been perhaps the team’s best on that end of the court, and in the locker room, Dempsey writes in a full story. He’ll again face a tough challenge for minutes on a roster that also features Kenneth Faried and J.J. Hickson at his position.
Papanikolaou plays power forward, too, but his $4.798MM non-guaranteed contract, which Denver acquired in the Ty Lawson trade, has value as a trade chip or as a gateway to cap space if the Nuggets waive him. Denver has 14 guaranteed contracts plus Papanikolaou and a partially guaranteed deal with Erick Green, so not everyone will make Denver’s regular season roster.
Do you think the deal with Arthur makes sense for the Nuggets? How about for Arthur? Leave a comment to let us know.