Dennis Lindsey

Northwest Notes: Nuggets, Jazz, Diallo, Wolves

After an up-and-down start to the season, the Nuggets have played some of their best basketball as of late, winning six of their last seven games and rising to the No. 5 seed in the West. With the trade deadline around the corner, the team will likely consider ways to upgrade its roster and cement its status as a contender, but JaMychal Green said on Monday night that he doesn’t believe a trade is necessary.

“We have everything we need,” the Nuggets forward said, per Mike Singer of The Denver Post (Twitter link).

Asked if he agreed with Green’s assessment, Nuggets guard Jamal Murray replied, I’d be crazy if I didn’t. I believe every year we have everything we need. That’s just how I think, that’s just how we play, that’s just how we believe in each other” (Twitter link via Singer).

  • The NBA announced on Monday that it has concluded its investigation into Elijah Millsap‘s allegations that Jazz executive Dennis Lindsey made a racially insensitive comment during a 2015 exit meeting and found no evidence to support the claim, writes ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. The league interviewed Lindsey, GM Justin Zanik, and head coach Quin Snyder – all of whom were present at the meeting – as well as Millsap and agent Daniel Hazan. Lindsey, Zanik, and Snyder all denied the statement was made, while Hazan said Millsap hadn’t made him aware of it during his two season with the Jazz, per Wojnarowski.
  • Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, who played college ball with Hamidou Diallo at Kentucky, admitted it was tough to see his Thunder teammate traded to Detroit, as Joe Mussatto of The Oklahoman details. “It sucks. A guy that’s super close that I love playing around, love being around,” Gilgeous-Alexander said. “But it is what it is. It’s the NBA. It’s a business. The front office, it’s not my job, it’s their job. They make decisions like that and they felt like it was best for the team and for Hami. My job’s to go play basketball.”
  • Chris Hine of The Star Tribune considers how much stock to put into the trade rumors linking the Timberwolves to John Collins.

Northwest Notes: Finch, Horford, Jerome, Lindsey

Taking over in midstream puts new Timberwolves coach Chris Finch in a difficult spot, Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic writes. Not only does he have to forge relationships with his players on the fly, Finch doesn’t have two of his best players available. Malik Beasley is serving a 12-game, league-imposed suspension and D’Angelo Russell is sidelined indefinitely with a knee injury. The fact that the front office passed over assistant David Vanterpool to hire Finch away from the Raptors adds to the awkwardness of the situation.

We have more from the Northwest Division:

  • Thunder big man Al Horford is well aware that he could be dealt again to a contender, as he told Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated. Horford’s contract runs through the 2022/23 season, though the final year is only partially guaranteed. “I think anything is possible,” Horford said of getting moved again. “But I’m not going to dwell on [any trade talk] too much.” Oklahoma City is in no hurry to deal Horford and sees value in keeping the veteran around, Mannix adds.
  • The Thunder recalled guard Ty Jerome from the G League’s Oklahoma City Blue, according to a team press release. Oklahoma City needed more depth in the backcourt due to a groin injury that will keep Hamidou Diallo sidelined through the weekend, coach Mark Daigneault said, per The Oklahoman’s Joe Mussatto (Twitter link). Jerome, a 2019 first-rounder, made an immediate impact, contributing nine points and seven assists in 22 minutes during the team’s victory over Atlanta on Friday.
  • Former Jazz forward Elijah Millsap has expressed doubt about an NBA investigation concerning his allegation that executive Dennis Lindsey made a racially-charged comment to him during an end-of-season meeting in 2015, Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press reports. Millsap said Friday that he has not yet heard from any investigators and wonders if it will be carried out fairly. “I don’t feel he is a racist, but I do know what he said to me,” Millsap said. The investigation will include the sharing of detailed notes taken in the April 2015 meeting that was attended by Millsap and three Jazz officials, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. Lindsey has denied the allegation.

Jazz Notes: Mitchell, E. Millsap, Lindsey, More

The Jazz have been the NBA’s most dominant team so far in 2020/21, and they added another impressive win to their résumé on Wednesday, blowing out the Lakers by a margin of 114-89 to bump their record to 26-6.

Utah has become a “hyperefficient machine that shows no signs of slowing down,” according to Jonathan Tjarks of The Ringer, who explores how three-point shooting at every position except center, along with Rudy Gobert‘s ability to anchor the defense, has driven the club’s success this season. As Tjarks point out, the Jazz lead the NBA with 42.6 three-point attempts per game, and are making 39.9% of them, third-best in the league.

While the Jazz have been terrific during the first half, they’ll still need to prove they’re capable of knocking off the likes of the Lakers and Clippers in the postseason. Markieff Morris made that point following Wednesday’s game, vowing that things would be more competitive once the Lakers get healthier and the stakes are higher.

“We see the Jazz, we know they beat our a– tonight,” Morris said, per ESPN’s Dave McMenamin. “But in the playoffs it’s a different story.”

Here’s more on the Jazz:

  • One longtime Western Conference scout who wasn’t sold on the Jazz entering the season has become a believer, as Tim MacMahon of ESPN details. “I thought Utah needed another star, but I’ve changed on that,” said the scout, who compared this iteration of the Jazz to the Pistons’ 2004 championship team.
  • Having already been named an All-Star reserve, Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell revealed on Wednesday that he’ll also be participating in the 3-point contest. “I’ve been begging Joe (Ingles) to get in it,” Mitchell said, according to Aaron Falk of UtahJazz.com. “But you know he’s old. He’s gonna sit in his rocking chair, or something, with the kids.”
  • After former Jazz swingman Elijah Millsap accused Jazz president of basketball operations Dennis Lindsey of using bigoted language during his 2015 exit interview, Lindsey – who was Utah’s GM at the time – categorically denied the allegation. Sarah Todd of The Deseret News has the details.

Northwest Notes: Melo, Jazz, Booth, Thunder

Trail Blazers small forward Carmelo Anthony is looking forward to a return to his original small forward position now that the team’s starting power forward Zach Collins has returned to health, per Casey Holdahl of Blazers.com.

“I’m actually very comfortable at that, I’ve been doing that my whole life,” Anthony said during a Zoom conversation yesterday. “Over the last couple years is where I started moving, transitioning toward playing the four more. You’ve got teams going small, so that was to my advantage as well.”

Anthony, a 10-time All-Star with the Nuggets and Knicks, has averaged 15.3 PPG (while shooting 37.1% from long range and 84.3% from the charity stripe), 6.3 RPG and 1.6 APG for the Blazers. The 36-year-old was inked to the club as an injury replacement for Collins in November. Portland’s 29-37 record slots the team in as the No. 9 seed in the West.

There’s more out of the Northwest Division:

  • The Jazz touched down in the NBA’s Orlando restart campus last night. Team general manager Justin Zanik indicated in a Zoom conversation today between himself, executive vice president of basketball operations Dennis Lindsey and reporters that the club has not experienced any positive coronavirus tests since mandatory team testing began last month,  according to Ryan McDonald of the Deseret News. Zanik traveled with the team to Orlando, while Lindsey stayed in Utah.
  • New Nuggets general manager Calvin Booth is contemplating innovative approaches to remote scouting during the current pandemic, according to Alex Labidou of Nuggets.com“All we’re trying to do is look for where inefficiencies are, where you can get value,” Booth said. “Even though as the years go on and as people get more and more interested in [scouting in] Europe and they are putting more resources into it, it’s still a landscape where you can find a gem.”
  • Sixteen of 17 Thunder players are traveling to Orlando for the NBA’s Orlando season restart, as Brandon Rahbar of Daily Thunder details. In case you missed it, forward Isaiah Roby had surgery on his right plantar fascia and will miss the rest of the 2019/20 season.

Northwest Notes: Hood, Millsap, Zanik, Jazz

An MRI on Trail Blazers guard Rodney Hood‘s left knee showed no structural damage and he’ll be listed as day-to-day for the Western Conference Finals, Shams Charania of The Athletic tweets. Hood suffered a bone bruise when he ran into a pick set by the Nuggets’ Torrey Craig during Portland’s Game 7 victory on Sunday. Hood, who enters unrestricted free agency this summer, was a major factor off the bench in the series against the Nuggets. He averaged 14.7 PPG in the conference semifinals.

We have more from the Northwest Division:

  • Veteran forward Paul Millsap is intent on helping a team win a championship, whether it’s the Nuggets or another contending franchise, as he told Mike Singer of the Denver Post. The team holds a $30MM option on Millsap’s contract for next season. “We’ve proved everybody wrong,” the 34-year-old Millsap said. “For me, not really trying to prove everybody wrong, but prove to myself that I can do it my way and still win. I can do it with whoever I want to do it with. It ain’t got to be the Golden State Warriors of the Lakers or whatever. I can help a young, talented team reach that goal.”
  • New Jazz GM Justin Zanik believes that continuity within the organization will get it to the next level, as he told Ryan McDonald of the Deseret News. Zanik was promoted from assistant GM last week. “We have a very experienced front office and we know what we need to do,” he said, “so however we get that done, we’re going to do it together and continue to just keep pushing forward with the Jazz to keep us on this championship-competitive path.”
  • Zanik’s promotion, as well as the elevation of Dennis Lindsey to executive VP of basketball operations, doesn’t mean big changes are on the way, Eric Walden of the Salt Lake Tribune writes.

Jazz Rework Front Office, Promote Lindsey, Zanik

1:50pm: The Jazz have officially confirmed Lindsey’s and Zanik’s promotions.

1:36pm: The Jazz are making some changes to their front office structure, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, who reports that longtime general manager Dennis Lindsey will be promoted to executive vice president of basketball operations. An official announcement is expected from the team as soon as Friday.

With Lindsey vacating the general manager job, assistant GM Justin Zanik will be elevated to that position, per Wojnarowski.

While Lindsey had already been the team’s de facto head of basketball operations, it’s becoming increasingly common for NBA teams to assign a title besides general manager to that top executive. Zanik, Utah’s new GM, will now be responsible for day-to-day duties and running basketball operations, while Lindsey will assume a “broader, strategic and leadership role,” sources tell Woj.

Based on Wojnarowski’s report, it’s not clear if the Jazz will add any new executives to the front office or promote anyone to fill Zanik’s assistant GM role. However, the promotions may help Utah keep its management group in place going forward — Zanik has been considered for other top front office jobs around the NBA before, but might be less inclined to leave the Jazz after being promoted to GM.

Woj’s Latest: Cavaliers, Clippers, Kings, Jazz

In his latest piece for ESPN.com, Adrian Wojnarowski goes into extensive detail on the deadline deals completed last week by the Cavaliers, and offers some fascinating tidbits on how those trades got done, and one potential blockbuster that didn’t get done. Let’s dive in and round up the highlights…

  • Before making his series of trades, Cavaliers GM Koby Altman got an elusive face-to-face sitdown with LeBron James to let his star player know what he was working on. Altman later met with LeBron again to tell him that the trades for Jordan Clarkson, Larry Nance, George Hill, and Rodney Hood were complete, and to ask for his blessing on the deal that sent Dwyane Wade to Miami, says Wojnarowski.
  • Altman had received ownership approval to trade Jae Crowder, Channing Frye, Iman Shumpert, and the Cavs’ own 2018 first-round pick to the Clippers for DeAndre Jordan, according to Wojnarowski. Los Angeles was on board with the deal, but wanted to find a third team to take Shumpert and to give the Clips a center, since they didn’t want another shooting guard. Altman and Clippers GM Michael Winger weren’t able to find that third team, and since L.A. was unwilling to take on Shumpert (or Tristan Thompson or J.R. Smith) and the Cavs had some reservations about extending Jordan’s contract in the offseason, the deal ultimately fell through.
  • The three-way trade between the Cavaliers, Kings, and Jazz nearly fell apart on deadline day when Sacramento insisted that Georgios Papagiannis be included in the deal. According to Woj, Cleveland and Utah were “adamant” that Papagiannis had never been discussed, but Kings assistant GM Brandon Williams insists that his notes confirm that either Papagiannis or Malachi Richardson would be included.
  • As an aside, Wojnarowski writes that Williams was handling negotiations because GM Vlade Divac “seldom gets on the phone for the trade-building parts,” even though any Kings trade requires his approval, along with the approval of owner Vivek Ranadive.
  • The Cavaliers were very much against Papagiannis’ inclusion in the trade, since taking on his $2.3MM cap hit would have cost the club significantly more than that in tax payments. Utah also had no interest in acquiring the former lottery pick, with Wojnarowski suggesting that Jazz GM Dennis Lindsey was “livid” about the insertion of Papagiannis and was ready to call off the trade. As for the Kings, they were hoping to move 2016’s 13th overall pick to avoid the embarrassment of waiving him themselves, says Woj.
  • Eventually, Altman was able to work out a solution and talked Lindsey into it, per Wojnarowski. Papagiannis’ rest-of-season salary for this year and his guaranteed salary for 2018/19 totaled $3.2MM, and the Cavaliers were willing to pay that amount to Sacramento, but Cleveland was limited to sending out $2.1MM for the rest of this league year. Altman convinced the Jazz to send the Kings the remaining $1.1MM, with Lindsey getting a little something out of the deal: the ability to swap 2024 second-round picks with the Cavs. The Kings, having been compensated for Papagiannis’ remaining salary, simply waived him rather than insisting he be a part of the trade.

Northwest Notes: Jazz, Vivant Arena, Nuggets

Tyrell Corbin, son of former Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin, was among the participants in Utah’s free agent mini-camp this week, writes Jody Genessy of The Deseret News. It’s the fourth year for the camp, which GM Dennis Lindsey brought to the Jazz after experiencing similar sessions when he worked for the Spurs and Rockets. Thirteen players from the last three free agent mini-camps have either landed spots on an NBA roster or earned invitations to training camp. “It’s a chance for them to play in front of an NBA coaching staff and for us to get a look at them,” said Jazz director of pro player personnel David Friedman. “Last year, we had a kid by the name of Jonathon Simmons [in camp] just to give you an idea. He didn’t end up with us, but he ended up with the Spurs.”

The camp has an extra dimension this year because Utah has its own D-League team and will be looking for players to fill the roster. Along with Corbin, other prominent names at this week’s event included Preston Medlin, Spencer ButterfieldDionte Christmas and Julian MavungaGreg Stiemsma, who has played for four NBA teams, was also in attendance, along with Argentinian prospect Nicolas Brussino.

There’s more news from the Northwest Division:

  • The Jazz hosted a workout this morning, Genessy notes in the same piece. Attending were LSU’s Tim Quarterman, California-Santa Barbara’s Michael Bryson, Memphis’ Shaq Goodwin, Texas’ Isaiah Taylor, Oral Roberts’ Obi Emegano and French prospect Mathias Lessort.
  • Utah is planning a $125MM renovation project at Vivant Arena, Genessy writes in a separate story. Larry H. Miller Sports & Entertainment will cover $102.3MM, and the franchise is hoping for $22.7MM from Salt Lake City’s Redevelopment Agency. The Jazz will submit their proposal to the agency this week.
  • Washington’s Dejounte Murray will have a private workout with the Nuggets Monday afternoon, the team announced in a press release. The 6’5″ point guard has been rising on draft boards and is listed ninth on the latest list of 100 best prospects compiled by ESPN’s Chad Ford. Denver will hold a Monday morning workout for Bryson, Joe De Ciman of Colorado State, Patrick McCaw of Nevada-Las Vegas, Egidijus Mockevicius of Evansville, Abdel Nader of Iowa State and Chinanu Onuaku of Louisville.
  • Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin is joining the effort to keep Kevin Durant with the Thunder, according to The Tulsa World. She is willing to offer the free agent forward a government job to get him to stay with Oklahoma City. “Oklahoma loves Kevin Durant and Kevin Durant loves Oklahoma,” Fallin said. “But if he’ll stay, I’ll make him a Cabinet person for health and fitness.”

Jazz Rumors: Mack, Exum, Lindsey, Booker

Shelvin Mack became Utah’s starting point guard immediately after being acquired from Atlanta in February, but there’s no certainly no guarantee he’ll keep that role next season, writes Tony Jones of The Salt Lake Tribune. Mack helped keep the Jazz in the playoff race until the final day of the season by averaging 12.7 points and 5.3 assists per game after the trade. But if Dante Exum recovers as expected from a torn ACL in his left knee, Mack will likely head back to the bench. “It’s not something that I’ve thought that much about,” he said. “I know that Dante’s a great player and the organization has a lot invested in him. I’m ready to compete, but I have to control the things I can control. I want to put myself in the best position I can be to help the team win.” Jones expects Utah to guarantee Mack’s salary, worth more than $2.4MM, for next season. It’s non-guaranteed but becomes fully guaranteed if he doesn’t hit waivers by the end of July 7th.

There’s more news on the Jazz:

  • Exum has started sprinting and is expected to be cleared for contact in June, tweets Jody Genessy of The Deseret News, but he will not be part of Utah’s summer league team. Exum will talk to Jazz officials before considering whether to represent Australia in the Summer Olympics. “I wouldn’t do that unless I’m 100% [healthy] and confident in myself,” he said. (Twitter link).
  • Jazz GM Dennis Lindsey tried to deal a draft pick for veteran help before February’s trade deadline, tweets Aaron Falk of The Salt Lake Tribune. Lindsey said he accepted two trade offers, but both deals fell through. “If there’s one criticism you could make that’s fair,” he said, “is that we erred toward chemistry, continuity and continued development (Twitter link).” Lindsey would still be willing to swap draft picks for veterans, Jones relays (Twitter link).
  • Trevor Booker may not be in Utah’s future plans, Jones tweets. The 28-year-old power forward, who collected $4.775MM this season in the final year of his contract, prefers to remain with the Jazz, Genessy tweets. “I would definitely love to stay,” he said. “I know it’s a business. I’m not sure it’s going to happen.”

Northwest Notes: Sampson, Augustin, Hood

JaKarr Sampson is surprised about how easily he’s fit in with the Nuggets since joining the team last month, as Nicki Jhabvala and Christopher Dempsey of The Denver Post relay. Sampson signed a two-year deal following a snafu that caused the Sixers to lose him, and he’s filled in as a starter for the injured Danilo Gallinari. Sampson is dealing with a strained right shoulder himself, but he played through it Wednesday, and his time in Denver has been smooth thus far. “The transition has been easy,” Sampson said. “My teammates have made it easy for me and coach [Michael Malone] has made it easy for me. So, it hasn’t been hard, the transition — new sets, new teammates. I love my teammates. We’ve got a great staff here. Everything has been easy for me.”

See more from Denver amid news from the Northwest Division:

  • D.J. Augustin, who says he’d love to re-sign with the Nuggets this summer, has made a strong impression in his brief time with Denver since coming over via trade last month, observes Christopher Dempsey of The Denver Post“D.J.’s our security blanket,” Malone said. “He’s won games for us. Put the ball into his hands in the fourth quarter and he steps up, makes shots, hits free throws and always makes the right play.”
  • Jazz GM Dennis Lindsey is excited about Rodney Hood‘s room for continued growth, notes Kareem Copeland of The Associated Press, and the team is proving wise for having selected him 23rd overall in 2014, Copeland argues. “What we saw was a guy that was somewhat sophisticated with the ball and with his reads,” Lindsey said. “It was relatively evident fairly quick that he’d be a nice fit for us. It’s to the kid’s credit that he’s gotten better since this time last year.”
  • The Thunder have focused too much on adding scoring punch around Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook and not enough on finding role players, argues Christopher Reina of RealGM. That plus their reliance on traditional big men threatens to leave the franchise in a compromising position, unable to win a title despite the presence of two elite players, Reina writes.