Denver Nuggets

NBA D-League Assignments/Recalls: 2/21/17

The NBA second half won’t get underway until Thursday, but with NBA and D-League teams returning from their respective All-Star breaks, assignments and recalls have gotten underway again. Here are Tuesday’s moves:

  • The Jazz have recalled Joel Bolomboy from the Salt Lake City Stars following his participation in the weekend’s D-League All-Star game, per a team release. The rookie forward averaged 15.8 PPG and 13.2 RPG in 18 first-half NBADL games.
  • Briante Weber has been recalled to the Warriors from Santa Cruz after playing in the D-League All-Star game, Golden State announced in a press release. Weber is still on his second 10-day contract with the Dubs, though the team could waive him at the trade deadline if it needs to open up that 15th roster spot.
  • One other D-League All-Star is back with his NBA team, as the Heat confirmed that they’ve recalled Okaro White. White has been with the Heat since mid-January, but his early-season play with the Sioux Falls Skyforce earned him a spot in the D-League All-Star Game.
  • The Nuggets have sent 2016 first-rounder Malik Beasley back to the D-League, the team announced in a press release. It’s the third assignment this season for Beasley, who will head to Sioux Falls and join Miami’s affiliate, since Denver doesn’t yet have a D-League team of its own.
  • The Raptors have sent Bruno Caboclo, Pascal Siakam, and Fred VanVleet to the D-League, according to the team (Twitter link). Caboclo and VanVleet have gone back and forth between the NBA and NBADL all year, but it’s Siakam’s first assignment.
  • Rookies Chinanu Onuaku and Kyle Wiltjer have been re-assigned to the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, the Rockets announced today (via Twitter).
  • The Trail Blazers have assigned rookie guard Tim Quarterman to the D-League, according to a press release from the team. Quarterman joined the Windy City Bulls in his previous two NBADL stints via the flexible assignment rule, but will head to the Long Island Nets this time around.

More DeMarcus Cousins Trade Fallout, Reactions

A player of DeMarcus Cousins‘ caliber doesn’t get moved often, so it’s no surprise that there are plenty of notes, reactions, and details to round up after the deal got done. On Monday, we published a pair of posts that covered some of the fallout from the deal. We’ve got more to cover today, so let’s dive in…

  • In a piece for The Ringer, Kevin O’Connor examines the ripple effect of the Cousins trade and explains why Vivek Ranadive‘s fondness for Buddy Hield resulted in a deal with the Pelicans. A source tells O’Connor that the Suns were willing to offer multiple first-round picks – including one or both of their selections from the Heat – and that the Nuggets were believed to be willing to part with anyone except Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray for Cousins.
  • Pursuing Cousins was a last-ditch attempt by Jim Buss and Mitch Kupchak to save their jobs with the Lakers, according to Sam Amick of USA Today (via Twitter). Amick adds that Buss “really wanted” Cousins, though Kupchak handled the talks with Sacramento. Those discussions came to an end when L.A. was unwilling to include Brandon Ingram.
  • Cousins got emotional last night as he tried to say goodbye to Sacramento (Twitter video link via Carmichael Dave of KHTK Sports 1140). Cousins told Sean Cunningham of ABC10 (Twitter link) today that he’ll always love the city, and plans to remain a presence in the community. According to Cunningham (via Twitter), Cousins also said today that he still hasn’t talked to Kings GM Vlade Divac — it sounds like that may not happen.
  • The Pelicans have now paired two Kentucky stars in their frontcourt, but don’t expect John Calipari to make the move to the NBA to coach Cousins and Anthony Davis. Appearing on The Dan Patrick Show this week, Calipari was asked in jest if he might end up in New Orleans, and the Kentucky head coach shot down the idea, saying that’s it’s “not happening” (link via The Detroit News).

Lowe’s Latest: Clippers, Raptors, Wizards, Suns

The Clippers are trying to acquire a small forward without giving up one of their four core players and ESPN’s Zach Lowe reports that Austin Rivers and Jamal Crawford aren’t drawing much interest from opposing teams. The franchise called the Wizards trying to bring Otto Porter to Los Angeles, but Washington was disinterested in engaging in trade talks.

A package of Rivers, Crawford, and a “distant” first-rounder won’t be enough to pry Wilson Chandler from the Nuggets, Lowe reports. Denver is seeking a lottery-protected first-round pick and swap rights on another pick for Chandler or Danilo Gallinari. The Nuggets intend to compete for the eighth seed in the Western Conference and they believe they can do it without one of their veteran small forwards.

Here’s more from Lowe’s latest piece:

  • The Raptors would like to add another rotation player, sources tell Lowe. The Raptors currently have 15 players under contract, but they could waive Jared Sullinger should they need an open roster spot. Lowe adds that any deal that sends out a high-priced veteran is not likely to occur until the offseason.
  • The Wizards are also eager to add a rotation player. The team has been linked to Lou Williams and it has explored trading a protected first-rounder in exchange for him. Lowe believes that’s too much value for Washington to give up and opines that two second-round picks may be able to get a deal completed.
  • The Suns are listening to offers on most of their veterans and Lowe writes that P.J. Tucker is the player who is most likely to be traded. The scribe names the Clippers and Raptors as teams to watch.
  • The Bucks are willing to listen to offers for anyone besides Giannis Antetokounmpo, Jabari Parker, Thon Maker and Khris Middleton. Lowe adds that the Wolves have expressed interest in Tony Snell.
  • Jahlil Okafor was close to being acquired by the Blazers before the team traded for Jusuf Nurkic. Lowe adds that the Sixers did not hold Okafor out of two contests to simply drive up his price.
  • The two-way contracts for players who play in the NBA as well as the D-League could increase the value of second-round picks going forward, Lowe speculates. The scribe adds that front offices are still examining the new CBA and it could cause some teams to wait until after the season to make major deals.

Rockets Eyeing Wilson Chandler?

As Thursday’s trade deadline approaches, the Rockets are a team worth keeping an eye on in the pursuit of Wilson Chandler, reports Chris Haynes of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Calvin Watkins of ESPN.com (Twitter link) adds that he got a one-word answer when he asked someone with the Rockets if Chandler would be a fit: “Yes.”

The Rockets have the fourth-best record in the NBA at 40-18, and the team appears reluctant to shake things up much. General manager Daryl Morey and MVP candidate James Harden have both made comments in recent weeks about being happy with the team chemistry this season, so no blockbuster deal is around the corner for Houston.

Still, Chandler, who is a decent three-pointer shooter and can play either forward position, would be a solid addition to the Rockets’ rotation. This season, the 29-year-old is averaging 15.6 PPG and 6.7 RPG to go along with a .454/.338/.732 shooting line.

Despite his success this year with the Nuggets, Chandler reportedly wouldn’t mind being traded and has been linked to teams like the Thunder and Clippers. A USA Today report earlier this month suggested that Chandler hasn’t formally requested a trade, but has grown frustrated by what he views as an inconsistent role in Denver.

The veteran forward downplayed that report a day later, though he admitted that he’d appreciate more consistency. Since then, Chandler’s minutes haven’t fluctuated much — he has played between 34 and 41 minutes in five of six games, with the only exception being a blowout loss in San Antonio (26 minutes).

The Nuggets are expected to be active at the deadline, but there are a number of potential trade candidates on their roster, so it remains to be seen which direction the team will go in. Danilo Gallinari, Kenneth Faried, Jameer Nelson, and Emmanuel Mudiay are among the other players whose names have surfaced in trade rumors.

Northwest Notes: Mudiay, Thibodeau, Stephenson

The performance of Nuggets rookie guard Jamal Murray has made Emmanuel Mudiay expendable, writes Mark Kiszla of The Denver Post. Veteran Jameer Nelson has become the starting point guard as Denver pushes for a playoff spot, and Kiszla sees Murray as a better backup to both Nelson and Gary Harris than Mudiay is. That leaves little playing time for last year’s first-round pick, who may now be more valuable to the Nuggets as a trade chip. Kiszla would like to see the Nuggets pursue Chicago’s Jimmy Butler, but admits that Denver doesn’t have the pieces to make that happen. He also mentions Atlanta’s Thabo Sefolosha as a target, but not in a one-for-one deal for Mudiay.

There’s more from the Northwest Division:

  • Tom Thibodeau’s new dual role as Timberwolves coach and president of basketball operations leaves no time for a vacation during the All-Star break, writes Jerry Zgoda of The Star Tribune. Zgoda lists seven possible targets for Minnesota before Thursday’s trade deadline: Chicago’s Taj Gibson, Orlando’s Bismack Biyombo, Denver’s Kenneth Faried and Wilson Chandler, Cleveland’s Iman Shumpert, Phoenix’s P.J. Tucker and Philadelphia’s Nerlens Noel.
  • Lance Stephenson is looking at a two-week recovery from his Grade 2 ankle sprain, tweets Darren Wolfson of 5 Eyewitness News in Minneapolis. Stephenson’s 10-day contract expired this weekend, and it’s uncertain whether the Timberwolves will be interested in signing him again once he has recovered.
  • The Jazz may add short-term salary to help them get above the cap floor, but they will be reluctant to take on long-term salary in any deal, writes Ryan McDonald of The Deseret News. Utah’s top priority this summer will be to re-sign Gordon Hayward, who will want a max contract with an annual salary in the $25MM to $30MM range. The Jazz also want to keep free agent point guard George Hill, who will demand about $20MM per season, and Rudy Gobert‘s extension will kick in next season, starting at more than $21.2MM next year. That ties up three players making more than $70MM, which limits Utah’s roster flexibility.

Woj: Butler Trade To The Celtics Still Possible

A potential trade sending Jimmy Butler from the Bulls to the Celtics will loom over deadline week, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical (Twitter link).

In a video interview, Wojnarowski says the teams have discussed a deal involving Butler, but talks haven’t progressed very far. He adds that Chicago officials have to to fully commit to the rebuilding process before they would be willing to give up Butler.

Wojnarowski says the trade would involve one of the Nets’ first-rounders — but probably not both — that Boston owns in the next two drafts. If the Bulls get this year’s pick, Wojnarowski states they can find a replacement for Derrick Rose, who was traded to the Knicks last summer. Washington’s Markelle Fultz and UCLA’s Lonzo Ball are point guards mentioned as likely choices at the top of the draft.

Teaming Butler with Isaiah Thomas and Al Horford would give the Celtics enough firepower to challenge Cleveland for supremacy in the East, Wojnarowski states, not just this season but for years to come.

Other highlights from the interview:

  • The Clippers and Thunder are both potential landing spots for Nuggets forward Wilson Chandler. However, both teams are low on draft picks and may not have the assets that Denver would want in return.
  • The Thunder were trying to acquire Kings forward Rudy Gay before a season-ending Achilles injury.
  • The Wizards would like to add another wing player to their bench, with the LakersLou Williams and the NetsBojan Bogdanovic as possibilities. Wojnarowski says Washington is willing to part with a draft pick to get veteran help.
  • The Suns have been shopping P.J. Tucker, Tyson Chandler and Brandon Knight, hoping to get picks or young players in return.
  • Chandler is one of several centers on the market, along with the SixersJahlil Okafor, the MavericksAndrew Bogut, the BucksGreg Monroe and the NetsBrook Lopez. However, there is limited interest in back-to-the basket centers. Wojnarowski speculates that one or two of them may be traded this week, but cautions that there aren’t enough buyers for all of them to be moved.
  • Unless something changes, Carmelo Anthony will remain with the Knicks. New York management hasn’t presented him with any deals that would tempt him to waive his no-trade clause. Most of the teams that were interested in dealing for Anthony are now “looking in other directions,” but Wojnarowski thinks the Clippers might revisit their attempt to land Anthony this summer.

Celtics May Pursue Danilo Gallinari

The Celtics may try to pick up Nuggets forward Danilo Gallinari before Thursday’s trade deadline, writes Steve Bulpett of The Boston Herald.

Boston GM Danny Ainge has long been a fan of Gallinari, according to Bulpett, and has tried to deal for him before. There haven’t been any trade rumors linking the Celtics and Gallinari this year, but the author notes that was also true with Isaiah Thomas before Ainge dealt for him two years ago.

Gallinari has been slowed by a groin injury and hasn’t played since February 1st. He has a player option worth $16.1MM next season.

Boston is hoping to add another scorer through trade, and Ainge has been active in talks during All-Star Weekend, both as a main participant and a facilitator, according to Bulpett. So far, Ainge hasn’t found a deal worth giving up his most valuable assets, which include the Nets’ first-rounders this season and in 2018.

“Danny’s let it be known that he’s willing to talk about the Nets’ picks,” said an unidentified executive. “But you want one of those guys, you have to be willing to give up a star.”

Ainge would also prefer to stay away from players whose contracts expire this year or next year. The Celtics had some interest in Serge Ibaka before Orlando traded him to Toronto, but they weren’t willing to part with much because they weren’t sure they could re-sign him in free agency.

Bulpett adds that the Celtics are very protective of their cap space and are reluctant to make a move that would hurt them on the free agent market. He speculates that it would take someone like Jimmy Butler or Paul George to tempt Boston to add significant salary in a pre-deadline trade.

The Celtics are also significantly less interested in trading for Jahlil Okafor than they were a year ago, Bulpett notes. They had talked to the Sixers about an Okafor deal at last year’s deadline, but after signing Al Horford the Celtics only want front-line players who they believe are compatible with him. Boston might have more interest in Philadelphia’s Nerlens Noel, but the team won’t offer as much as it would have in 2016.

The author believes the Celtics would love to pick up Andrew Bogut from Dallas if the Mavericks decide to be sellers, but again wouldn’t pay a high price in a deal.

Jahlil Okafor Was Nearly Traded To Portland

The Sixers were close to a deal with the Trail Blazers when Jahlil Okafor was held out of the lineup, tweets David Aldridge of TNT.

Okafor sat out last Saturday and didn’t accompany the team on a flight to Charlotte for Monday’s game. A trade appeared imminent at the time, but nothing happened and he rejoined the Sixers on Wednesday.

Aldridge says the deal that nearly took place involved Portland, although he doesn’t speculate on what Philadelphia would have received in return. The Blazers and Nuggets finalized a trade Monday that sent Jusuf Nurkic and a 2017 first-round draft pick to Portland in exchange for Mason Plumlee, a 2018 second-rounder and cash. Presumably, that deal ended the Blazers’ interest in Okafor.

Knicks, Lakers Top Forbes’ NBA Franchise Valuations

The Knicks have been one of the NBA’s most dysfunctional teams this season. On the court, the team has gone just 23-33, with $72MM man Joakim Noah failing to make a significant impact, and Jeff Hornacek and Phil Jackson not always on the same page when it came to the use of the triangle. Off the court, things have been even worse, with Jackson criticizing star forward Carmelo Anthony, and owner James Dolan at odds with former Knicks star Charles Oakley.

On the west coast, the Lakers haven’t been much better, racking up a 19-38 record, good for the No. 14 seed in the West. The team hasn’t made as many off-court headlines, but the structure of the front office is currently up in the air, with new advisor Magic Johnson publicly declaring that he wants to be the one calling the shots on roster decisions.

Despite the problems in New York and Los Angeles, the Knicks and Lakers remain the NBA’s two most valuable franchises, according to a report from Kurt Badenhausen of Forbes. The Knicks and Lakers are the only teams valued at more than $3 billion by Forbes.

Team valuations are up around the league, with the Warriors leading the way among this year’s increases — according to Forbes, the Dubs are 37% more valuable that they were at this time in 2016. In total, 18 teams have a valuation exceeding $1 billion, which is up from 13 teams last year and just three teams in 2015. The average NBA franchise is now worth $1.36 billion, according to the report.

Here’s the full list of NBA franchise valuations, per Forbes:

  1. New York Knicks: $3.3 billion
  2. Los Angeles Lakers: $3 billion
  3. Golden State Warriors: $2.6 billion
  4. Chicago Bulls: $2.5 billion
  5. Boston Celtics: $2.2 billion
  6. Los Angeles Clippers; $2 billion
  7. Brooklyn Nets: $1.8 billion
  8. Houston Rockets: $1.65 billion
  9. Dallas Mavericks: $1.45 billion
  10. Miami Heat: $1.35 billion
  11. Cleveland Cavaliers: $1.2 billion
  12. San Antonio Spurs: $1.175 billion
  13. Toronto Raptors: $1.125 billion
  14. Phoenix Suns: $1.1 billion
  15. Sacramento Kings: $1.075 billion
  16. Portland Trail Blazers: $1.05 billion
  17. Oklahoma City Thunder: $1.025 billion
  18. Washington Wizards: $1 billion
  19. Orlando Magic: $920MM
  20. Utah Jazz: $910MM
  21. Detroit Pistons: $900MM
  22. Denver Nuggets: $890MM
  23. Atlanta Hawks: $885MM
  24. Indiana Pacers: $880MM
  25. Philadelphia 76ers: $800MM
  26. Memphis Grizzlies: $790MM
  27. Milwaukee Bucks: $785MM
  28. Charlotte Hornets: $780MM
  29. Minnesota Timberwolves: $770MM
  30. New Orleans Pelicans: $750MM

For comparison’s sake, Forbes’ 2016 valuations can be found right here.

Jahlil Okafor Rejoins Sixers

With trade rumors swirling, the Sixers held Jahlil Okafor out of action on Saturday night, and didn’t bring him on their trip to Charlotte for Monday’s game. However, Okafor has rejoined the Sixers in Boston and will play in tonight’s game against the Celtics, as Jessica Camerato of CSNPhilly.com writes. According to Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer (via Twitter), Nerlens Noel will remain in the starting lineup, with Okafor coming off the bench.

When Okafor was initially kept out of action over the weekend, it appeared that the Sixers were moving toward finalizing a trade involving the former No. 3 overall pick. Indeed, a source tells Camerato that the team had been close to a deal involving Okafor. Now that the club is ready to re-insert him into the lineup, it seems no trade is imminent.

According to Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer, people around the NBA are skeptical that the Sixers were ever all that close to moving Okafor. O’Connor’s sources speculate that Okafor’s absence was a failed attempt to “stir interest” and “flush out” teams’ best offers.

The Pelicans, Bulls, Nuggets, and Trail Blazers have been linked to Okafor in recent reports, but O’Connor suggests Denver and Portland don’t appear to be serious suitors, and he’s not sure Chicago is either. New Orleans seemed to be gaining momentum on a possible Okafor deal earlier this month, but that was nine days ago, and nothing has come of it yet.

The Sixers’ game tonight is the team’s last one before February 24, a day after the trade deadline, so it’s possible that it will be Okafor’s last contest with the franchise. We’ll have to wait to see if the offers for Okafor improve by next Thursday, or if Philadelphia eventually settles for an offer currently on the table.

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