Northwest Notes: Hernangomez, McCollum, Barton, Jazz

Timberwolves officials will have to work to repair the damage with Juan Hernangomez after denying permission for him to represent Spain in the Olympics, writes Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic. The 25-year-old forward, who has been participating in international competitions since 2013, was “deeply disappointed and hurt” by the decision, according to Krawczynski.

Hernangomez suffered a dislocated left shoulder in a July 8 exhibition against France. The Spanish team originally said Hernangomez might need surgery and would require several weeks to recover. Minnesota’s front office believed that meant he was out of the Olympics, but Spain included him on the official roster that was announced Monday, saying his condition improved rapidly.

President of basketball operations Gersson Rosas said the Wolves’ medical staff never cleared Hernangomez to resume playing.

“We support our international players’ decisions to play with their national teams and appreciate the passion of Juancho and the Spanish Federation to represent their country. Unfortunately, we are dealing with an active injury,” Rosas said in a prepared statement. “Based on our team physician’s recommendation, Juancho needs time to recover from and rehabilitate his injury, and that timeline restricts Juancho’s availability to participate in the Tokyo Olympics. The determined recovery plan is the best path forward to allow Juancho to heal properly.”

There’s more from the Northwest Division:

  • In two meetings with president of basketball operations Neil Olshey since the Trail Blazers were knocked out of the playoffs, Damian Lillard has emphasized the need to add more talent, according to Jason Quick of The Athletic. Portland doesn’t have any picks in this year’s draft and re-signing Norman Powell will be the priority in free agency, so Olshey will likely have to be aggressive on the trade market. Teams have offered picks in the top half of the draft in exchange for CJ McCollum, Quick adds, but the Blazers have been refusing because that wouldn’t help with their urgency to improve right away. They are expected to try to purchase a pick in the second round.
  • Will Barton declined his player option, but he and the Nuggets are optimistic about reaching a new deal, per Mike Singer of The Denver Post. JaMychal Green also opted out of his contract for next season, though Singer believes that it makes more sense for the team to prioritize a new deal with Green than with frontcourt free agents Paul Millsap and JaVale McGee.
  • The Jazz aren’t likely to use their biannual exception this summer, states Sarah Todd of The Deseret News. Utah hopes to re-sign point guard Mike Conley, which would put its team salary above the tax apron and remove any chance to use the roughly $3.7MM BAE. Even if Conley goes elsewhere, Todd doesn’t believe the Jazz would be willing to take on the hard cap that comes with using the exception.
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