Bol Bol

Fischer’s Latest: Gordon, Vucevic, Lowry, Redick, Ball, DeRozan

On the eve of the trade deadline, the Nuggets have become the favorites to pry Aaron Gordon away from the Magic, league sources tell Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report. Denver’s offer would include guard Gary Harris, a first-round pick, and either R.J. Hampton, Zeke Nnaji or Bol Bol.

Although the Nuggets seem to have the momentum, the Celtics are still “very engaged” in the process, according to Fischer. Boston’s proposed deal has involved Marcus Smart and a first-rounder, and it’s possible that a second first-round pick and the Celtics’ $28.5MM traded player exception could be used as well, with Evan Fournier also headed to Boston, says Fischer. Previous reports indicated that the C’s were looking to keep Smart out of the deal, offering a younger player in his place.

The Timberwolves, Rockets and Trail Blazers all remain interested in acquiring Gordon too.

Fischer passes on a few more trade rumors as the deadline draws near:

  • The Celtics are one of the few teams to express interest in trading for center Nikola Vucevic, but the Magic are putting a much higher price on him than Gordon. Orlando is asking for multiple first-round picks and a player who fits with their young core. Fischer expects Vucevic to stay with the Magic.
  • The Clippers, Lakers, Sixers and Heat are all still pursuing Kyle Lowry, but the Raptors‘ high price tag may prevent a deal from getting done. Fischer believes Philadelphia would have to offer two players from the group of Danny Green, Seth Curry and Tyrese Maxey, while Miami would need to part with Goran Dragic, another large salary and either Kendrick Nunn, Duncan Robinson or Tyler Herro. Both Los Angeles teams are limited by their lack of available draft picks.
  • J.J. Redick appears headed for a buyout as the Pelicans haven’t found a team willing to offer draft picks or prospects in return for the veteran guard. Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report suggests a return to the Sixers is possible or maybe a reunion with former teammate Chris Paul on the Suns.
  • The Knicks are interested in Lonzo Ball and have the cap space to keep him in free agency, Pincus adds. The price could be Frank Ntilikina, Kevin Knox and possibly the Mavericks’ 2021 first-round pick.
  • Spurs guard DeMar DeRozan is also high on the Knicks‘ wish list, states A. Sherrod Blakely of Bleacher Report.

Mannix’s Latest: Clippers, Rubio, Magic, Celtics, Horford, More

The Clippers remain in the market for help at the point guard position, with Hornets veteran Terry Rozier among the players who has drawn “strong internal interest,” according to Chris Mannix of SI.com. Mannix adds that George Hill and Ricky Rubio are among the other possible trade candidates in play for the Clippers, who have limited draft assets to use as sweeteners.

The Magic, who are also seeking point guard help, have kicked the tires on Rubio lately as well, per Mannix. That lines up with a Monday report from Jake Fischer of SI.com, who said Orlando had discussed a trade with the Timberwolves that would involve Rubio and Aaron Gordon.

Magic head coach Steve Clifford, who coached Kemba Walker in Charlotte, remains a big fan of the Celtics point guard, but Walker is unlikely to be on the move by March 25, says Mannix.

Here’s more from Mannix’s latest round-up of trade-related rumors:

  • Reports on Monday indicated that a trade is more likely than a buyout for LaMarcus Aldridge, and that the Celtics are focusing on the Spurs‘ big man. However, Mannix cites league sources who believe a buyout is the most likely outcome for Aldridge, and adds that Boston isn’t interested in trading for the veteran Spur.
  • While the Thunder are open to listening to inquires on Al Horford, they’re happy with how he has performed this season and won’t be looking to just give him away, Mannix writes.
  • Rival executives view the Heat as the favorites to land Rockets forward P.J. Tucker, per Mannix.
  • Tom Thibodeau has urged the Knicks‘ front office to be active at the deadline, and the club may pursue upgrades, but so far New York has shown little appetite for moving any of its top young players or taking on long-term salary, Mannix reports.
  • While Michael Porter Jr. is presumed to be off-limits, Gary Harris, Will Barton, and Bol Bol are among the Nuggets believed to be available as the team seeks a complementary piece for Jamal Murray and Nikola Jokic, according to Mannix.

Northwest Notes: Okogie, Hill, Harrison, Bol

Due to a lack of established options at the power forward position, the Timberwolves may explore having 6’5″ wing Josh Okogie spend some time at the four, according to Jon Krawczynski of the Athletic.

The recently re-signed Juan Hernangómez figures to have the inside track on the starter job for the Timberwolves. Naz Reid, Jarred Vanderbilt and Okogie will also be in the mix for minutes at the four. Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and/or Tyler Cook would also be candidates for playing time if one or both make the team.

Okogie is confident that, if called to play power forward, he will be able to hold his own for the Timberwolves. “I do know, if I was in that position, I don’t think I’d have a lot of trouble,” Okogie said. “Even last year, rarely do I guard somebody that’s smaller than me, unless I’m guarding like a point guard or something. Usually I’m guarding the Kawhi Leonards and Paul Georges, usually people that are taller than me, so I don’t think it’d be much different.”

There’s more out of the Northwest Division:

  • New Thunder point guard George Hill is looking forward to serving as a veteran presence for his young teammates on a rebuilding squad in Oklahoma City, Joe Mussatto of The Oklahoman reports. “To be that leader out here is much needed with the young locker room that we have,” Hill said.
  • The latest offseason addition to the Jazz roster, defensive-minded guard Shaquille Harrison, can help guard multiple positions off the bench, according to Tony Jones of the Athletic. Jones adds that, due to Harrison’s lack of shooting touch, he will need to be employed in shooting-heavy lineups.
  • After logging most of his first NBA season in the G League, Nuggets big man Bol Bol flashed intriguing potential in seven of eight regular-season NBA restart seeding game contests. After Denver converted his two-way contract into a two-year, $4.1MM contract this offseason, questions remain about the slight, 7’2″ Bol’s ultimate positional fit on the court, as Mike Singer of the Denver Post details.

Contract Details: Adams, Hernangomez, Bol, Bacon, McDermott

After receiving a trade bonus worth $2MM as part of the deal that sent him from Oklahoma City to New Orleans, Pelicans center Steven Adams will have a new 7.5% trade kicker on his two-year extension with his new team, tweets Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report. That kicker will give Adams a rare opportunity to potentially cash in on two trade bonuses between free agencies.

Meanwhile, Keith Smith of Yahoo Sports reports (via Twitter) that another new Pelicans center, Willy Hernangomez, will only have a partial guarantee on his new deal with the team. Hernangomez is assured of receiving at least $700K of his $1.74MM minimum salary for 2020/21, Smith notes.

Here are a few more notes on recently-signed contracts from around the NBA:

  • Both years on Bol Bol‘s two-year contract with the Nuggets are fully guaranteed, tweets Eric Pincus. Denver used a portion of its mid-level exception to complete the $4.2MM deal.
  • Dwayne Bacon‘s new two-year contract with the Magic is for the veteran’s minimum and will be non-guaranteed for 2021/22, tweets Keith Smith. If Bacon remains under contract for more than three days after 2021’s free agency moratorium ends, he’ll get that full guarantee on year two, Smith adds.
  • While most of the two-way contracts that have been signed by players in the last week are only for one year, Sean McDermott’s deal with the Grizzlies will cover two years, tweets Smith.

Nuggets Promote Bol Bol To Standard Roster

4:22pm: The Nuggets have officially announced that they’ve signed Bol to a standard NBA contract.


10:32am: The Nuggets and young center Bol Bol have agreed to a two-year deal worth $4.2MM, his agents at CAA Sports tell Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link). Bol, who spent his rookie season in 2019/20 on a two-way contract, will be promoted to Denver’s standard roster as part of the agreement.

Bol, once considered a probable 2019 lottery pick, dropped to No. 44 in last year’s draft due to health concerns. The 21-year-old was limited to seven NBA appearances and eight G League games as a rookie.

However, Bol has flashed intriguing potential as a 7’2″ center who can knock down shots from beyond the arc, and the Nuggets are excited about his development, tweets Charania. In his eight games for the Windy City Bulls last season, he averaged 12.0 PPG, 5.5 RPG, and 2.1 BPG with a .364 3PT% in 19.3 minutes per contest.

Even with Mason Plumlee out of the picture for the Nuggets in 2020/21, Bol will have to compete to earn a regular role in the rotation. Isaiah Hartenstein, Paul Millsap, and Zeke Nnaji are also candidates for minutes at the five behind Nikola Jokic.

Bol will fill the roster spot previously occupied by Keita Bates-Diop, who was waived before his salary for 2020/21 became guaranteed. Mike Singer of The Denver Post previously reported that the Nuggets would promote Bol to the standard roster.

After committing most of its mid-level exception to JaMychal Green, Denver will likely use the remaining portion of that MLE to complete the Bol signing.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Nuggets Sign Isaiah Hartenstein

NOVEMBER 30: The Nuggets have officially signed Hartenstein, the team announced in a press release.


NOVEMBER 22: The Nuggets intend to sign free agent center Isaiah Hartenstein to fill their final roster spot, a league source tells Mike Singer of The Denver Post. He’ll receive a two-year deal, Singer adds (via Twitter).

Hartenstein’s deal will include a second-year player option, according to Kelly Iko of The Athletic (Twitter link). It’ll be a minimum-salary contract, adds Singer (via Twitter).

Hartenstein, 22, spent the first two years of his NBA career in Houston before being waived in June. In 51 total games, he averaged 3.1 PPG and 2.7 RPG in 9.5 minutes per contest.

He’s expected to compete with Zeke Nnaji for Denver’s backup center job following the departure of Mason Plumlee, Singer notes. I’d expect Paul Millsap and JaMychal Green are also candidates to play some minutes at the five in smaller lineups when Nikola Jokic is off the floor.

Another player who could be in the mix for playing time at center is 2019 second-rounder Bol Bol, who will be promoted from his two-way contract to the standard roster, according to Singer. Bol will fill the roster spot previously occupied by Keita Bates-Diop, who will be waived before his salary for 2020/21 becomes guaranteed, per Singer.

Bol, once considered a probable 2019 lottery pick, dropped to No. 44 in last year’s draft due to health concerns. The 21-year-old was limited to seven NBA appearances and eight G League games as a rookie.

The Nuggets will also aim to sign forward Greg Whittington to a two-way contract, per Singer, though a league source tells JD Shaw of Hoops Rumors that Whittington has yet to agree to a deal. Undrafted Marquette free agent Markus Howard is on track to fill one on Denver’s two-way slots.

Nuggets Rumors: Grant, Bates-Diop, Bol, Craig, Nnaji

Jerami Grant‘s decision to join the Pistons had a lot to do with his role with the Nuggets, according to Mike Singer of the Denver Post.

Grant received similar offers of three years and $60MM from Detroit and Denver and decided to take an expanded offensive role with the rebuilding Pistons. Grant wasn’t thrilled with being the fourth option on a prime championship contender. He served on the second unit a majority of last season behind Paul Millsap and Grant viewed that as a sacrifice.

Singer offers more info on the Nuggets

  • They filled one of their two remaining roster spots by agreeing to a contract with Millsap on Saturday afternoon. But they don’t intend to keep forward Keita Bates-Diop, so that will open up another roster spot. It will likely be filled by second-year center Bol Bol. The team plans to convert his two-way contract into a standard deal.
  • With Millsap coming back, the next priority is restricted free agent Torrey Craig. His perimeter defense increases his value due to Grant’s departure.
  • If Craig signs elsewhere, they’ll look to add a mobile big man to replace Mason Plumlee, who is also headed to Detroit. If that plan falls through, the role may be filled by first-round selection Zeke Nnaji.

Northwest Notes: Wolves’ No. 1 Pick, M. Morris, Thunder, McDaniels

The Timberwolves haven’t received tempting offers yet for the top pick in next week’s draft, but executive vice president Sachin Gupta said “three phone” time is coming soon, writes Chris Hine of The Star Tribune. That’s what Gupta calls the days immediately before the draft when front office members are balancing several phone calls at once.

“There’s not a whole lot of pleasantries that are happening with those calls,” he said. “There’s no time for it. It’s, ‘What do you want? What do you got for me?’ ”

Minnesota should find a lot of interest in the top selection between now and November 18. The Warriors and Hornets are both believed to be eyeing former Memphis center James Wiseman, while Anthony Edwards and LaMelo Ball may entice other teams to move up. The Wolves could have the luxury of playing teams against each another to drive up offers.

“We’ve always been active, and with these types of assets at our disposal, it really plays into sort of our mentality of turning over every rock and figuring out what all the possibilities are,” Gupta said.

There’s more from the Northwest Division:

Nuggets Notes: Bol, Porter, Millsap, Murray

Bol Bol hasn’t played in an official NBA game yet, but he’s the talk of Orlando after his performance in the Nuggets‘ first two scrimmages. Pressed into service because of Denver’s shortage of players, the 7’2″ rookie posted 16 points and six blocks in Wednesday’s game, then followed that with 15 points last night.

A foot injury ended Bol’s college career after nine games at Oregon and caused him to slip to the 44th pick in the draft. The Nuggets may gotten a steal with that pick, which Bol’s trainer, Julius V, believed all along.

“He has elite feel for the game,” he told Mike Singer of The Denver Post. “If he was 6’3″, he could be an elite point guard. … He’s one of those guys, regardless of height or size, he would be a potential NBA player because he has ball skills and feel. … The height makes him a unicorn.”

There’s more Nuggets news to pass along:

  • Coach Michael Malone is confident that Michael Porter Jr. can adapt quickly, even though he hasn’t worked with the rookie forward since the hiatus began, Singer writes in a separate story. Porter just arrived in Orlando a few days ago and hasn’t been able to practice yet because he’s been quarantined. “I’ve stayed in touch with him, I’ve talked to him,” Malone said. “From everything he’s told me, he’s in great shape, he’s stayed ready. So when he gets an opportunity relatively soon to start practicing and playing, I have no doubt that he’ll be out there in great shape. He’s young and he truly loves to play, he truly loves to work out. I don’t anticipate any real issues. Yes, it’s four months off, but I think Michael will have a very quick return to that playing mindset.”
  • Paul Millsap had to sit out Saturday’s scrimmage after missing a coronavirus test, tweets Rachel Nichols of ESPN. Under the NBA’s protocol for the Walt Disney World campus, he was required to be quarantined in his hotel room until he produces a negative test.
  • Point guard Jamal Murray was held out of the scrimmage because of slight tightness in his hamstring, according to Nichols (Twitter link). The Nuggets also rested Will Barton, who has a knee issue, and Gary Harris, who is dealing with hip pain.

Nuggets Notes: Starting Five, Porter, Barton, Cancar

After a layoff of nearly four-and-a-half months, basketball returned today, and the Nuggets celebrated the occasion by running out the most unusual five-man starting lineup we’ve seen all season in their inter-squad scrimmage vs. Washington.

As Kendra Andrews of The Athletic relays (via Twitter), Denver’s starting five consisted entirely of power forwards and centers, with Nikola Jokic, Jerami Grant, Paul Millsap, and Mason Plumlee joined by rookie Bol Bol, making his Nuggets debut after having been limited to eight G League appearances so far in his first professional season.

The Nuggets rolled with that gigantic lineup in large part because a handful of their players were unavailable on Wednesday. Here are updates on a few of those players:

  • Nuggets forward Michael Porter Jr. is traveling to Orlando today, a source tells Mike Singer of The Denver Post. Porter hadn’t initially traveled with the team two weeks ago and had yet to arrive at the NBA’s campus, but should be able to begin his two-day quarantine period on Wednesday evening.
  • Will Barton was held out of the Nuggets’ first inter-squad scrimmage today due to knee soreness, Singer writes in a separate Denver Post story. According to head coach Michael Malone, Barton could have played today if he were needed, but the team preferred to take a cautious approach (Twitter link via Singer). Jamal Murray was also held out of today’s scrimmage as a precautionary measure.
  • Nuggets forward Vlatko Cancar is dealing with a left foot injury and has yet to arrive in Orlando, per Singer. Cancar was listed on the Nuggets’ official summer roster announced by the NBA on Monday, so presumably the team still believes he has a chance to report to the Disney campus.