Northwest Notes: Murray, Porter, Jazz, Collison

Speaking to reporters on Tuesday about Jamal Murray‘s impending return to the Nuggets‘ lineup, reigning MVP Nikola Jokic attempted to keep expectations in check for his star teammate with a tongue-in-cheek assessment of what he expects from Murray.

“I love to play with him, of course,” Jokic said, according to Mike Singer of The Denver Post. “I know he’s gonna be really bad for the next 20 games, but we’re gonna survive.”

Jokic’s answer wasn’t a serious one, but there’s some element of truth to it, Singer observes. While Murray may not be “bad,” he’s also unlikely to look like his old self right away following an 18-month rehab from an ACL tear. Jokic and the rest of the Nuggets seem to recognize that a return to normalcy for Murray will take time, and don’t want to put pressure on him coming out of the gate.

Here’s more from around the Northwest:

  • Michael Porter Jr. knows that he and the Nuggets faced criticism when he went down last fall with a season-ending back injury shortly after signing a five-year, maximum-salary extension, but he remains determined to prove the team made the right call signing him to that deal, as he tells Marc J. Spears of Andscape. “I’m trying to be the best draft pick Denver’s ever had,” Porter said. “We got a lot of really good players, and my goal is to be one of those guys who they look back on drafting me and they’re very thankful that they took a chance on me.”
  • Asked whether Donovan Mitchell asked the Jazz for a trade before being sent to Cleveland, CEO Danny Ainge declined to say one way or the other, writes Eric Walden of The Salt Lake Tribune. “You know, I’m not going to even comment on that, just because those are private conversations,” Ainge said. “If he doesn’t want to say it to you … You can keep asking him that question, but I won’t divulge our private conversations.”
  • Former Thunder big man Nick Collison, who worked last season as a special assistant to GM Sam Presti, will be in a new role this year, having earned the title of amateur evaluation scout, according to Joe Mussatto of The Oklahoman.
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