THURSDAY, 2:49pm: The signing is official, the team announced via press release. The contract will cover five games, against the Nets, Mavs, Knicks, Suns Wizards.
TUESDAY, 9:36am: The Nuggets plan to sign Raptors affiliate player Axel Toupane to a 10-day contract, league sources tell Shams Charania of The Vertical on Yahoo Sports (Twitter link). The 23-year-old swingman has been playing for Toronto’s D-League team since the Raptors cut him from the NBA roster at the end of the preseason. Denver has an open roster spot and a need on the wing with Danilo Gallinari expected to miss the next month after tearing two ligaments in his right ankle, as The Vertical’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported overnight.
Toupane is averaging 14.6 points and 5.6 rebounds in 29.7 minutes per game for Raptors 905, Toronto’s D-League outpost. It’s his first season in North America, as he spent the past several years with Strasbourg IG in his native France. He went scoreless in about 22 minutes of preseason action spread over two games on the NBA roster this past fall.
He’ll bolster the team’s depth in the wake of the Gallinari injury, one that presents a serious challenge to Denver’s ability to compete, in part because fellow small forward Wilson Chandler was already out for the season. The 27-year-old Gallinari is in the midst of a career year, fresh off a renegotiation and extension that ties him to Denver until at least the summer of 2017, when he can opt out. The eighth-year veteran’s 19.5 points per game are by far a career high, and he’s the leading scorer for the Nuggets, who have faint playoff hopes as they sit six games back of the eighth-place Rockets.
The Nuggets can’t receive an additional disabled player exception and already spent the one they had for Chandler in their deadline-day trade for D.J. Augustin and Steve Novak. A wrist injury threatens to sideline Jameer Nelson for the season, but Denver is still one long-term injury shy of qualifying for a 16th roster spot via hardship.