Nuggets Rumors

Knicks Notes: Miller, JVG, DSJ, Front Office

Although Mike Miller‘s hold on the Knicks‘ head coaching job beyond this season looks tenuous, multiple people within the organization support the idea of keeping Miller around in some capacity even if the team hires a new head coach, says Ian Begley of SNY.tv.

Begley and Marc Berman of The New York Post both point out that Miller is on good terms with Jeff Van Gundy, who is expected to receive consideration for the head coaching job from new president of basketball operations Leon Rose. Berman, who suggests Miller could stay on as an assistant coach if Van Gundy were to be hired, notes that JVG expressed support for the current interim coach during an appearance on NBA SiriusXM Radio.

“Mike Miller, to me, deserves every opportunity to finish this season out and win the job,” Van Gundy said. “And I think anybody plotting as a coach to try to undermine that opportunity is doing it wrong.”

Talk of Miller’s job security was reignited this week when brand consultant Steve Stoute suggested during an ESPN appearance that the Knicks will be looking to replace Miller this spring. The team and Stoute himself released statements hours later disavowing those comments. Interim head of basketball operations Scott Perry was among those “particularly bent out of shape” by Stoute’s comments on ESPN, a source tells Berman.

Here’s more on the Knicks:

  • Sources tell Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News that Marcus Morris lobbied earlier this season for Dennis Smith Jr. – with whom he shares an agent – to receive more playing time. Smith, who lost an advocate when the Knicks traded Morris last week, has appeared in the team’s last eight contests, but logged fewer than eight minutes in each of the last two games.
  • Steve Popper of Newsday suggests (via Twitter) that Nuggets general manager Arturas Karnisovas may be a name to watch as the Knicks seek an experienced basketball executive to work with Leon Rose in their new-look front office. However, Popper cautions (via Twitter) that Karnisovas signed an extension with Denver last year.
  • Before the Knicks decided on Rose for their president of basketball operations opening, there was speculation that Kevin Durant‘s manager Rich Kleiman could be a candidate for the job. That wasn’t the case, according to Kleiman, who tells Ian Begley of SNY.tv that he never heard from the club.
  • Tom Thibodeau has been cited as a potential head coaching candidate for the Knicks, and while Taj Gibson isn’t openly campaigning for his former coach, he believes Thibodeau can have success in today’s NBA. “He’s been misunderstood,” Gibson said, per Marc Berman of The New York Post. “A lot of players have different mindsets. His mindset is winning. To win games you got to go through a lot of hard work. Sometimes young players don’t understand it.”

Magic Discussed Aaron Gordon Trades Before Deadline

Aaron Gordon remained with the Magic through last week’s trade deadline, but Sean Deveney of Heavy.com hears that Orlando discussed the sixth-year forward with a handful of teams. According to Deveney, the Warriors and Timberwolves were among the clubs that spoke to the Magic about Gordon. There was also “chatter” involving the Suns.

Although the Magic ended up having a fairly quiet deadline, executives around the NBA think the team may end up revisiting Gordon trade talks this summer, says Deveney.

“They were trying, and they tried hard to get something done with him at the deadline,” one source told Deveney. “All that gets brought back into focus once the season is over and you have a good idea what the market is for him.”

This is hardly the first time we’ve heard Gordon-related trade chatter this season. Shams Charania of The Athletic reported back in November that teams were monitoring the former No. 4 overall pick, and Deveney wrote shortly thereafter that there may be some long-term concerns in Orlando about Gordon’s frontcourt fit with with cornerstone player Jonathan Isaac.

A pair of January reports even connected both the Warriors and Wolves to Gordon. Those teams ultimately made a blockbuster deal with one another instead, swapping D’Angelo Russell and Andrew Wiggins in a trade that included other players and draft picks.

Gordon has had a down year in Orlando, with his scoring average slipping to 13.9 PPG and his shooting percentage dropping to a career-worst .422 FG%. Still, he’d be a coveted player on the trade market, given his versatility, his age (24) and his relatively team-friendly contract ($34.5MM over two years after 2019/20).

According to Deveney, the Mavericks are another team that has “long had interest” in Gordon, but they might have a hard time putting together a competitive package. Deveney writes that “buzz around the league” suggests the Nets and Nuggets – perhaps with a package featuring Spencer Dinwiddie or Gary Harris – would be teams to watch if Gordon is made available this summer.

Forbes Releases 2020 NBA Franchise Valuations

The Knicks have had a miserable 12 months, finishing the 2018/19 season with a league-worst 17 wins, missing out on their top free agent targets, and then firing head coach David Fizdale and president of basketball operations Steve Mills during the 2019/20 season.

None of that seems to have had a noticeable impact on the team’s market value though. Once again, the franchise is considered the most valuable of any of the NBA’s 30 clubs, according to a report from Kurt Badenhausen of Forbes. The Lakers and Warriors aren’t far behind, having both surpassed the $4 billion mark for the first time this year.

For the first time, all 30 NBA teams have a perceived worth of $1.3 billion or more, per Forbes’ annual report. Every team’s value increased by at least 6% since Forbes put out their 2019 valuations last February, with a handful of franchises jumping by 20% or more.

The NBA-wide average of $2.12 billion per team in 2020 is also a new record — that league-wide average surpassed the $2 billion mark for the first time. NBA franchise values are up almost sixfold over the last decade, according to Badenhausen.

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

  1. New York Knicks: $4.6 billion
  2. Los Angeles Lakers: $4.4 billion
  3. Golden State Warriors: $4.3 billion
  4. Chicago Bulls: $3.2 billion
  5. Boston Celtics: $3.1 billion
  6. Los Angeles Clippers: $2.6 billion
  7. Brooklyn Nets: $2.5 billion
  8. Houston Rockets: $2.475 billion
  9. Dallas Mavericks: $2.4 billion
  10. Toronto Raptors: $2.1 billion
  11. Philadelphia 76ers: $2 billion
  12. Miami Heat: $1.95 billion
  13. Portland Trail Blazers: $1.85 billion
  14. San Antonio Spurs: $1.8 billion
  15. Sacramento Kings: $1.775 billion
  16. Washington Wizards: $1.75 billion
  17. Phoenix Suns: $1.625 billion
  18. Denver Nuggets: $1.6 billion
  19. Milwaukee Bucks: $1.58 billion
  20. Oklahoma City Thunder: $1.575 billion
  21. Utah Jazz: $1.55 billion
  22. Indiana Pacers: $1.525 billion
  23. Atlanta Hawks: $1.52 billion
  24. Cleveland Cavaliers: $1.51 billion
  25. Charlotte Hornets: $1.5 billion
  26. Detroit Pistons: $1.45 billion
  27. Orlando Magic: $1.43 billion
  28. Minnesota Timberwolves: $1.375 billion
  29. New Orleans Pelicans: $1.35 billion
  30. Memphis Grizzlies: $1.3 billion

The Raptors are among this year’s big “winners,” with their value rising 25%, from $1.675 billion a year ago to $2.1 billion this year following their first NBA championship. The Clippers also had a noteworthy bump, moving from ninth place on Forbes’ list to sixth after landing Kawhi Leonard and Paul George last summer.

Although every franchise’s value increased, the Nets had the smallest jump, just 6%. The Magic‘s modest 8% increase resulted in the team slipping from 23rd on last year’s list to 27th this year.

It’s worth noting that when a franchise has been sold in recent years, the price often exceeds Forbes’ valuation, so these figures are just estimates.

USA Basketball Announces 44 Finalists For 2020 Olympic Roster

USA Basketball has formally announced a preliminary group of 44 players who are candidates to be part of the program’s roster for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.

The final roster will only consist of 12 players, so most of these finalists won’t actually play for Team USA at the Olympics. Some will likely withdraw from consideration, while others simply won’t make the final cut. However, these players have all expressed interest in being involved in the process.

“This is the first step in USA Basketball identifying the 12 players who will represent the United States as members of the 2020 U.S. Olympic Men’s Basketball Team in Tokyo,” said USA Basketball managing director Jerry Colangelo.

“… Over the course of the remainder of the NBA season we’ll continue to monitor all of the athletes. Selecting the 12-man USA roster will obviously be an extremely challenging and difficult process, and we will again attempt to select the very best team possible to represent our country and who we hope will be successful in our difficult mission of repeating as Olympic champions for a fourth consecutive Olympics.”

Although the U.S. men’s team has won three consecutive Olympic gold medals, the program had a disappointing showing at last year’s World Cup, finishing in seventh place. Team USA will be looking for a bounce-back performance in Tokyo this summer, with many players from that World Cup squad among the 44 finalists announced today.

Here’s the full list of players who are candidates to play for Team USA at the 2020 Olympics:

  1. Bam Adebayo (Heat)
  2. LaMarcus Aldridge (Spurs)
  3. Harrison Barnes (Kings)
  4. Bradley Beal (Wizards)
  5. Devin Booker (Suns)
  6. Malcolm Brogdon (Pacers)
  7. Jaylen Brown (Celtics)
  8. Jimmy Butler (Heat)
  9. Mike Conley (Jazz)
  10. Stephen Curry (Warriors)
  11. Anthony Davis (Lakers)
  12. DeMar DeRozan (Spurs)
  13. Andre Drummond (Cavaliers)
  14. Kevin Durant (Nets)
  15. Paul George (Clippers)
  16. Draymond Green (Warriors)
  17. James Harden (Rockets)
  18. Montrezl Harrell (Clippers)
  19. Joe Harris (Nets)
  20. Tobias Harris (76ers)
  21. Gordon Hayward (Celtics)
  22. Dwight Howard (Lakers)
  23. Brandon Ingram (Pelicans)
  24. Kyrie Irving (Nets)
  25. LeBron James (Lakers)
  26. Kyle Kuzma (Lakers)
  27. Kawhi Leonard (Clippers)
  28. Damian Lillard (Blazers)
  29. Brook Lopez (Bucks)
  30. Kevin Love (Cavaliers)
  31. Kyle Lowry (Raptors)
  32. JaVale McGee (Lakers)
  33. Khris Middleton (Bucks)
  34. Donovan Mitchell (Jazz)
  35. Victor Oladipo (Pacers)
  36. Chris Paul (Thunder)
  37. Mason Plumlee (Nuggets)
  38. Marcus Smart (Celtics)
  39. Jayson Tatum (Celtics)
  40. Klay Thompson (Warriors)
  41. Myles Turner (Pacers)
  42. Kemba Walker (Celtics)
  43. Russell Westbrook (Rockets)
  44. Derrick White (Spurs)

Scotto’s Latest: Gallinari, Nunn, Pacers, Nuggets, More

When the Thunder and Heat discussed a potential Danilo Gallinari trade leading up to last week’s deadline, James Johnson, Kelly Olynyk, Kendrick Nunn, and draft compensation were among the various assets that came up in talks, league sources tell Michael Scotto of Bleacher Report. Miami reportedly wanted to extend Gallinari’s contract as part of a deal, but couldn’t agree to terms with his camp, which is one main reason the trade didn’t happen.

ESPN’s Zach Lowe wrote last week that he believed the Heat could’ve acquired Gallinari without surrendering any of their young players like Nunn. So even though his name came up in discussions, that doesn’t necessarily mean the Thunder would have insisted on his inclusion, depending on what other pieces were involved.

While Gallinari remained with the Thunder for this season, Scotto suggests the Heat and Knicks could be among his potential suitors this summer. Miami clearly has interest, and created some cap flexibility for 2020/21 by moving Johnson and Dion Waiters last week. New York, meanwhile, will have cap space and is hiring veteran CAA agent Leon Rose as its new president of basketball operations. Gallinari is a CAA client.

Here are a few more noteworthy tidbits from Scotto’s look at the post-deadline landscape:

  • The Knicks and Pacers discussed a possible Marcus Morris trade. According to Scotto, a package that featured Aaron Holiday, Doug McDermott, and T.J. Leaf was “briefly kicked around,” but didn’t end up going far.
  • McDermott’s name also came up in discussions about a potential Pacers trade with the Bucks involving Ersan Ilyasova, says Scotto. It’s not known which team initiated those talks.
  • Before the Cavaliers traded for Andre Drummond, they called the Pacers to ask about Myles Turner‘s availability, per Scotto. Indiana has remained firm on keeping Turner, though many executives expect the team to eventually break up its Turner/Domantas Sabonis frontcourt.
  • The Nuggets discussed the possibility of trading Gary Harris, Malik Beasley, and Juan Hernangomez as part of a package for Bulls guard Zach LaVine or Pelicans guard Jrue Holiday, sources tell Scotto. New Orleans set a very high asking price for Holiday, while LaVine was said to be “off-limits” for Chicago, so Denver didn’t get far on either front.

Malone: Traded Players Left On "Positive Terms"

Damian Lillard won’t be fined for his post-game tirade against the officials on Friday, reports Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports. The Trail Blazers guard had to be held back following a loss in Utah that included a missed goaltending call with 11.2 seconds remaining on a shot that would have tied the game.

Jazz center Rudy Gobert blocked Lillard’s shot, but it clearly hit the backboard first. Because no call was made, the play couldn’t be challenged or reviewed. Crew chief Josh Tiven admitted after the game that referees got it wrong.

Lillard met with league officials yesterday to discuss the incident.

“We get to the last play of the game, and they miss an easy call,” Lillard said after the game. “And then they tell us that’s an easy no-call, like that was obviously not a goaltend. It cost us a (expletive) game, man.”

There’s more from the Northwest Division:

  • Timberwolves guard Malik Beasley, acquired from the Nuggets in a four-team deal this week, brings some much-needed passion to his new team, writes Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic. After word of the trade broke, Beasley flew to Minnesota Wednesday morning and hoped to play that night. However, the trade call wasn’t completed until almost game time and he was held out, even though he insisted to his new coaches that he was ready to go. “I’m like a mini-vet,” Beasley said. “I’m like a young vet for a team, so I have to bring the winning mentality from Denver over here and watch some extra film, make sure guys are on time, making sure I get extra guys in the gym in the morning, things like that. Just pushing each other and holding each other accountable.”
  • Nuggets coach Michael Malone is glad that Beasley, along with Juan Hernangomez and Jarred Vanderbilt, all left the team on “positive terms,” relays Mike Singer of The Denver Post. Malone sent messages to his former players last night before their first game in Minnesota. “Change is inevitable in the NBA,” he said. “Players come, players go. Malik and Juancho were here for four years, Jarred for two. Everybody’s leaving on positive terms. I’m happy for those guys. Those guys are going to get opportunities in Minnesota that they deserve.”
  • Luguentz Dort has become a starter for the Thunder, but he’s still not practicing with the team, notes Maddie Lee of The Oklahoman. Dort’s two-way contract limits him to 45 days in the NBA, and team officials want to maximize his number of games. “You’ve got to watch a lot of film with him,” coach Billy Donovan said. “You’ve got to catch him up. He’s got to certainly watch and spectate. All those things become important, following the rules in terms of how we can best keep him engaged to what’s going on and what we’re doing.”

Nuggets Notes: Trade Deadline, Bates-Diop, Health, Bench

When the Nuggets traded bench players Malik Beasley, Juan Hernangomez and Jarred Vanderbilt in a series of deadline deals this week, the team was actually improving its long-term outlook by shoring up its collection of draft picks, Mike Singer of the Denver Post contends.

Beasley and Hernangomez, free agents in 2020, could not finalize extensions with Denver last October. After that, it became clear both players would seek more playing time elsewhere this summer, in Singer’s view.

The Nuggets were able to secure the Rockets’ 2020 first-round draft pick, plus intriguing youth in Keita Bates-Diop, Jordan McRae, and Noah Vonleh to shore up their bench. Extracting a first-round pick for a few little-used players destined to depart anyway was a smart play, Singer argues.

There’s more out of Denver:

  • Bates-Diop, the lengthy, rangy No. 48 pick out of OSU by the Timberwolves in 2018, could be a valuable addition as a multifaceted forward off the Nuggets’ bench, Kyle Fredrickson of the Denver Post notes.
  • The Nuggets hope to finally reach full health after the All-Star break. Paul [Millsap] is right there,” Denver president of basketball operations Tim Connelly told Denver’s Altitude Sports Radio (92.5 FM), according to DNVR Sports’ Adam Mares (Twitter link). Michael [Porter Jr.] is getting right there. I think Mason [Plumlee] will be after the All-Star break…Will [Barton] is just banged up… I think coming out of the all-star break you should see a fully healthy roster.” 
  • The newest bench assets should serve to enhance a backup roster whose play has improved in 2020, according to Alex Labidou of Nuggets.com.

23 Trade Exceptions Generated In Deadline Deals

As we explain in our glossary entry on the NBA’s trade rules, teams that complete a “non-simultaneous” deal can create what’s called a traded player exception. These are salary cap exceptions a team can use anytime during the following calendar year to acquire one or more players whose salaries are no greater than the amount of that exception (plus $100K).

A number of the traded player exceptions created at the 2019 trade deadline expired this week without being used, but nearly two dozen new TPEs were generated as a result of the trades completed at this year’s deadline. They’ll expire next February, so they could be used during the offseason or sometime next season.

The full list of traded player exceptions created this week is below, sorted by amount. The player whose departure helped generate the TPE is noted in parentheses. The full list of available trade exceptions can be found right here.

In addition to the traded player exceptions from the deals completed on February 6, this list includes the exceptions created on February 5 in the four-team trade involving the Hawks, Timberwolves, Rockets, and Nuggets.

It doesn’t include trade exceptions generated in deals earlier this season, such as the $7,069,662 TPE the Trail Blazers got when they sent Kent Bazemore to Sacramento in a five-player trade. Again, the full list of current TPEs can be found here.

If you have any questions or corrections, please let me know in the comment section below.

Salary information from Basketball Insiders and Early Bird Rights was used in the creation of this post.

Nuggets Waive Gerald Green

As expected, the Nuggets have waived Gerald Green, the team announced today in a press release. Green was part of the massive 12-player trade completed this week by Denver and three other teams. He was sent to the Nuggets by the Rockets, having waived his ability to veto his inclusion.

Green re-signed with Houston during the 2019 offseason after averaging 9.2 PPG on .400/.354/.838 shooting in 73 games (20.2 MPG) in 2018/19. He was expected to be a rotation player for the team again, but a foot injury derailed his season. The veteran swingman underwent surgery a week in October and was ruled out for six months.

Green said last month that he hadn’t given up hope on the idea of returning for the playoffs. That could still be a possibility if he makes good progress in his recovery. By waiving him before March 1, Denver has assured that Green could sign with a team anytime between now and the end of the season and still be playoff-eligible. He’d be ineligible to rejoin the Rockets, however.

Denver will be on the hook for Green’s $1,620,564 cap hit. The club now has an open spot on its 15-man roster.

NBA Teams With Open Roster Spots After Trade Deadline

The 2020 NBA trade deadline has come and gone, so teams that had been holding open roster spots in case they needed them before a last-minute deal can now fill those openings, if they so choose. The Nets did exactly that today — after holding their 15th roster spot open through the deadline, they signed Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot to a multiyear contract today to fill it.

While Brooklyn no longer has an open roster spot, a number of teams around the league still do. Here’s a quick breakdown of which clubs fit that bill and what their roster situations are, with their roster openings noted in parentheses:

  • Golden State Warriors (3): The Warriors initially had six roster openings, but signed Juan Toscano-Anderson and promoted Ky Bowman and Marquese Chriss to fill three of them. Zach Norvell and Jeremy Pargo are expected to sign 10-day deals, allowing Golden State to get to the league-mandated minimum of 14. The Dubs will probably keep their 15th slot open as they attempt to stay below the tax line.
  • Cleveland Cavaliers (2): Alfonzo McKinnie agreed to a long-term contract with the Cavaliers and will fill one of their two open spots once his deal becomes official. However, the team could re-open that second slot this weekend when Marques Bolden‘s 10-day contract expires.
  • Houston Rockets (2): The Rockets figure to keep a close eye on the buyout market as they look to reinforce their depth. They’ll have up to two weeks to get back to at least 14 players.
  • Atlanta Hawks (1): The Hawks opened a roster spot by trading Jabari Parker and Alex Len to Sacramento for Dewayne Dedmon. They’re not anywhere near the tax, so I’d expect them to fill that opening soon with a young player, either on a 10-day deal or a rest-of-season contract.
  • Los Angeles Clippers (1): The Clippers opened up one roster spot by trading Derrick Walton. They’re expected to open up a second by waiving Isaiah Thomas, a move that isn’t yet official. Like Houston, the Clips figure to scour the buyout market in an effort to fill its roster. Darren Collison is also an option if he decides to make a comeback.
  • Oklahoma City Thunder (1): The Thunder stood pat at the deadline and seem unlikely to fill that final roster spot anytime soon, since a 15th man would increase their projected tax bill.
  • Portland Trail Blazers (1): The same goes for the Trail Blazers, who remain in the tax even after moving Skal Labissiere for nothing at the deadline.
  • Denver Nuggets / Memphis Grizzlies / Orlando Magic (0): The Nuggets, Grizzlies, and Magic don’t currently have roster openings, but likely will soon. Denver is expected to waive Gerald Green, Memphis reportedly doesn’t intend to keep Dion Waiters, and Gary Clark‘s 10-day contract with Orlando will expire tonight.

Note: These roster counts are up to date as of the time of publication. This list is just a snapshot and won’t be updated to reflect subsequent moves, but our roster counts page will be.