Denver Nuggets – Hoops Rumors Legitimate NBA free agent and trade rumors. 2018-07-18T14:09:46Z WordPress Luke Adams <![CDATA[Nuggets Waive Isaiah Whitehead]]> 2018-07-18T14:09:46Z 2018-07-18T14:09:46Z As expected, the Nuggets have waived recently-acquired guard Isaiah Whitehead, per the NBA’s official transactions log. Whitehead had been included in the trade between Denver and Brooklyn, which sent Kenneth Faried, Darrell Arthur, and draft picks to the Nets.

Whitehead, 23, was selected by the Nets with the 42nd overall pick in the 2016 draft and spent two seasons with the club, appearing in 89 overall games. The former Seton Hall standout was a regular part of Brooklyn’s rotation in his rookie season, but saw his playing time cut back in 2017/18 as he spent more time with the Long Island Nets in the G League.  Whitehead averaged 22.3 PPG, 3.8 RPG, and 3.5 APG in 30 games for the Nets’ NBAGL affiliate.

A Brooklyn native, Whitehead was disappointed to be included in last week’s trade, but there was no room for him in a Nets point guard rotation that will include D’Angelo Russell, Spencer Dinwiddie, and Shabazz Napier. Similarly, the Nuggets had no need for another point guard with Jamal Murray, Isaiah Thomas, and Monte Morris in the mix.

Whitehead’s $1.54MM salary for 2018/19 was non-guaranteed, so Denver won’t be on the hook for his cap charge. He’ll become a free agent later this week, assuming he’s not claimed on waivers.

Luke Adams <![CDATA[Nuggets Sign Thomas Welsh To Two-Way Deal]]> 2018-07-18T14:08:00Z 2018-07-18T01:00:04Z JULY 17: The Nuggets have officially signed Welsh, according to the league’s transactions log.

JULY 3: The Nuggets are expected to sign second-round pick Thomas Welsh to a two-way contract, a source tells Emiliano Carchia of Sportando.

Welsh, the 58th pick in the 2018 draft, spent his college career at UCLA, serving as the Bruins’ starting center for the last three years. In 2017/18, he averaged a double-double (12.6 PPG, 10.8 RPG) and added an outside shot to his game, knocking down 45 three-pointers at a 40.4% rate after having attempted just one in his first three seasons.

A year ago, when the NBA introduced the two-way contract for the first time, it became a common way for teams to sign late second-round picks. Five players drafted between 51-60 in the 2017 draft inked two-way deals, so it makes sense that Welsh would receive one in Denver.

In 2017/18, the Nuggets filled its two-way contract slots with Torrey Craig and Monte Morris. Morris’ two-way deal is for two years, so he’s the favorite to fill Denver’s second slot alongside Welsh next season. Craig is currently a restricted free agent.

Luke Adams <![CDATA[Latest On Kawhi Leonard]]> 2018-07-17T17:03:29Z 2018-07-17T17:03:29Z The Spurs‘ asking price for Kawhi Leonard remains high, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Ramona Shelburne. In an article packed with Leonard-related tidbits, the ESPN duo suggests that – based on conversations with opposing teams – San Antonio appears to be seeking an All-Star caliber player, high-potential young players, and draft picks in exchange for Kawhi.

It’s not clear if the Spurs will be able to land that sort of return, according to Wojnarowski and Shelburne, who note that a three-way bidding war involving the Lakers, Celtics, and Sixers never really materialized. The Lakers are being patience and conveying confidence that Leonard will sign with them in 2019. As for the Celtics and Sixers, they’ve held their top players out of trade discussions and have offered pick-heavy packages, which haven’t enticed the Spurs.

Given the Spurs’ reported demands, a Raptors offer built around one of their All-Star guards (likely DeMar DeRozan), one or two of their young players, and draft picks could be the most logical package for San Antonio.

In an appearance on Zach Lowe’s ESPN podcast, Brian Windhorst said he thinks the Raptors are in the “driver’s seat” in the Leonard sweepstakes, since the Lakers and Sixers haven’t been aggressive in their pursuit of the star forward. Lowe didn’t go so far as to call the Raptors the favorites, but he cautioned not to underestimate the club or to view the rumors linking Leonard to Toronto as mere speculation.

Here are a few more notes and rumors on the NBA’s most noteworthy trade candidate:

  • In addition to the four teams noted above, the Clippers, Nuggets, Suns, Trail Blazers, and Wizards have talked to the Spurs about Leonard, league sources tell Wojnarowski and Shelburne. However, it’s unlikely that any of those teams has made a monster offer, given concerns that Kawhi would be a one-year rental. Portland hasn’t discussed Damian Lillard or C.J. McCollum, for instance, per ESPN.
  • Leonard is “seriously considering” participating in Team USA’s mini-camp next week, league sources tell Wojnarowski and Shelburne. There’s a sense that the All-Star wants to show the Spurs‘ prospective trade partners that he’s healthy, but there may be a concern within Leonard’s camp that participating in the mini-camp would give San Antonio more leverage to push him to report to camp in the fall.
  • While there have been whispers that Leonard has no intention of showing up at the Spurs‘ facility if he’s not traded, rival teams generally view that as an “empty threat,” since they’re skeptical he’s willing to risk forfeiting his $20MM salary for 2018/19, according to Wojnarowski and Shelburne,
  • The Spurs haven’t allowed potential trade partners to talk directly with Leonard or his camp, or to see his medical information, per ESPN’s report. It’s unlikely that stance would change unless the Spurs agree to a trade in principle with a team, Woj and Shelburne add.
  • Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders addressed the Leonard situation in his latest article, suggesting that the start of training camp could be a key deadline to keep an eye on. One source close to Leonard also tells Kyler that the forward would ideally like to be the “focal point” of a team going forward. It’s not clear how that alleged desire to be a team’s focal point will impact Leonard’s preference to join the Lakers now that LeBron James is in L.A., Kyler writes.
Luke Adams <![CDATA[Contract Details For Jarred Vanderbilt]]> 2018-07-16T18:35:41Z 2018-07-16T18:35:41Z
  • Jarred Vanderbilt, the 41st overall pick in this year’s draft, got a three-year, minimum-salary contract from the Nuggets with two fully guaranteed seasons (Twitter link). The third year will be non-guaranteed until July 15, 2020.
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    Arthur Hill <![CDATA[Nuggets Sign Isaiah Thomas]]> 2018-07-16T18:30:04Z 2018-07-16T18:29:35Z JULY 16: The Nuggets have officially signed Thomas, the team announced today in a press release.

    JULY 12: The Nuggets will sign free agent guard Isaiah Thomas to a one-year contract, tweets ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. He will accept a veteran’s minimum deal (Twitter link) and will join forces with head coach Michael Malone, who previously coached Thomas in Sacramento.

    Thomas will have a $2,029,463 salary for the upcoming season, while Denver will absorb a $1,512,601 cap hit.

    Thomas will try to rediscover the form that made him an MVP candidate in Boston after a brutal season that saw him traded to the Cavaliers and Lakers. He sat out the first half of the season while recovering from a lingering hip injury, then played just 15 games for Cleveland before being moved. The veteran guard was a controversial figure with the Cavs, facing frequent complaints over his attitude and poor defense.

    Thomas’ performance was a little better with the Lakers, but he appeared in just 17 games before undergoing minor hip surgery in March. He has since declared himself fully healed from that procedure.

    An opportunity may be waiting in Denver, which could use another scorer after trading Wilson Chandler to the Sixers last week. The Nuggets also didn’t have a ton of backcourt depth behind starting point guard Jamal Murray, so Thomas could be a key contributor and offensive play-maker for the club.

    Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

    Arthur Hill <![CDATA[Nets Notes: Lin, Faried, Napier, Vezenkov]]> 2018-07-14T22:34:27Z 2018-07-14T22:34:27Z The Nets weren’t convinced that point guard Jeremy Lin will be physically ready for training camp, according to Brian Lewis of The New York Post. Lin, who was traded to the Hawks on Thursday, is coming off a ruptured patellar tendon that he suffered in last season’s opener.

    The 29-year-old point guard hasn’t been medically cleared for three-on-three contact games and may take a while to get ready for five-on-five. He played just 37 games over two years after signing with Brooklyn in 2016 and carried a $12.5MM salary that the team needed to unload before completing a deal with Denver.

    “I love Jeremy Lin because he represents the underdog in all of us — truly first class on and off the court,” tweeted co-owner Joe Tsai after the deal was completed. “Jeremy is not only exciting to watch, he sets an example for perseverance and leadership. We are great friends, and I will follow his progress no matter where he is.”

    There’s more today out of Brooklyn:

    • The Nets had been trying for months to acquire Kenneth Faried from the Nuggets, Lewis adds in the same story. Brooklyn officials hoped to make a deal before last month’s draft, but Denver was unwilling to give up this year’s first-rounder, which it used to get Michael Porter Jr. Nets GM Sean Marks improved his bargaining position by unloading Timofey Mozgov to the Hornets and Lin to the Hawks, giving him enough cap room to take on Faried and Darrell Arthur while getting a future first-rounder and second-rounder.
    • Today’s agreement with Shabazz Napier will use up the last of the Nets’ remaining cap room, tweets ESPN’s Bobby Marks. Brooklyn has 14 players under contract, 13 with guaranteed money, and can now exceed the cap by finalizing deals with Joe Harris under the Early Bird exception and Ed Davis under the room mid-level exception.
    • Aleksandar Vezenkov, a second-round pick from 2016, will get a better chance to develop his skills after signing with Olympiacos in Greece this week, according to A stretch four, Vezenkov spent last season with F.C. Barcelona, which allotted more minutes to players who weren’t likely to eventually leave for the NBA. That shouldn’t be a concern with Olympiacos, where Vezenkov will play for former Cavaliers coach David Blatt.
    Luke Adams <![CDATA[Nuggets Trade Faried, Arthur, Picks To Nets]]> 2018-07-14T02:23:40Z 2018-07-14T01:42:41Z JULY 13, 8:42pm: The trade is official, according to a Nets press release.

    JULY 12, 5:18pm: The Nuggets have found a team willing to take on their unwanted contracts, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, who reports that Denver is sending Kenneth Faried, Darrell Arthur, a protected 2019 first-round pick, and a 2020 second-round pick to the Nets in exchange for Isaiah Whitehead.

    It’s a salary-dump deal for the Nuggets, who intend to waive Whitehead after acquiring him, Wojnarowski adds. Whitehead’s salary guarantee deadline was recently pushed back, so his $1.54MM salary for 2018/19 remains non-guaranteed — Denver won’t be on the hook for it.

    Having reached a deal with Isaiah Thomas earlier in the night, the Nuggets were poised to have 16 players on guaranteed NBA contracts and were well into luxury-tax territory. Their deal with the Nets will solve both issues, reducing their roster count to 14 players after Whitehead’s release and getting their total team salary below the tax threshold.

    Bobby Marks of has the full details, noting that the Nuggets should be about $8.7MM below the tax line after the trade, giving the team room to use the rest of its mid-level exception to fill the last spot on its roster, if it so chooses. So far, Denver has committed $2MM of its MLE to Torrey Craig and is believed to have used about another $1MM on Jarred Vanderbilt.

    As Marks observes, trading Faried, Darrell Arthur, and Wilson Chandler (to Philadelphia) projects to save the Nuggets approximately $90MM in salary and tax payments. The team gave up a first-round pick and two second-rounders in those two deals.

    The Nuggets have also created three sizable traded player exceptions to work with — those TPEs are equivalent to the salaries for Faried ($13.76MM), Chandler ($12.8MM), and Arthur minus Whitehead ($5.92MM)

    Meanwhile, from the Nets’ perspective, they’ll rent their cap room in order to add a pair of draft assets. The big prize is the 2019 first-rounder, which is top-12 protected, according to Wojnarowski (via Twitter).

    Coming into the day, Brooklyn didn’t have the cap room necessary to absorb both Faried and Arthur, but the club created that space by trading Jeremy Lin to the Hawks in another deal. It’s not clear whether Faried and/or Arthur are in the Nets’ plans for 2018/19 or if they’ll become buyout candidates.

    Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

    Luke Adams <![CDATA[Cap Impact Of Thursday’s Trades For Nets, Hawks, Nuggets]]> 2018-07-13T13:39:01Z 2018-07-13T13:39:01Z After a relatively quiet day in terms of NBA transactions on Thursday, a flurry of agreements were reached in the evening. The Nuggetsfree agent deal with veteran guard Isaiah Thomas kicked off a series of moves that saw Denver agree to send Kenneth Faried and Darrell Arthur to Brooklyn, with the Nets flip Jeremy Lin to the Hawks in order to create the cap room necessary to absorb the Nuggets’ unwanted contracts.

    As we detailed on Thursday, the Hawks and Nets were two of the only teams with any cap room still available. The Nuggets, meanwhile, entered Thursday with one of the NBA’s highest projected payrolls, and were looking for a way to get out of luxury-tax territory. The 2018/19 cap outlooks for all three teams were altered significantly by last night’s trade agreements.

    With the help of salary data from Basketball Insiders and information from cap experts Bobby Marks and Albert Nahmad, here’s a breakdown of how each team involved in last night’s action will be impacted from a cap – and tax – perspective:

    Atlanta Hawks

    There are a few factors to consider when determining exactly how much cap room the Hawks still have available. For one, we’re still not sure whether or not Lin is waiving his trade kicker as part of his move to Atlanta. If he doesn’t waive that trade kicker – and he’d have no real reason to – his bonus will increase his cap hit from $12.5MM to $13.75MM, cutting into the Hawks’ cap space.

    Atlanta also still has Jaylen Morris and Antonius Cleveland under contract. Both players are on modest non-guaranteed salaries worth $1.38MM apiece.

    If we assume that Lin’s trade kicker will increase his cap hit and Morris and Cleveland remain on the Hawks’ roster, the team projects to have about $7.7MM in cap space remaining. However, that number would increase to nearly $10.5MM without Morris and Cleveland.

    Brooklyn Nets

    Most of the Nets‘ leftover cap room will be eaten up by Faried’s and Arthur’s salaries. After Brooklyn completes its reported deal with second-round pick Rodions Kurucs, the team will have less than $3MM in cap space available.

    The Nets still haven’t finalized their contract agreements with Joe Harris and Ed Davis, since it makes sense to use up all their cap room before they use their Early Bird rights to go over the cap for Harris and sign Davis with the room exception.

    If Brooklyn determines that it will have no use for its remaining $2-3MM in cap space, the club could complete those signings after officially locking up Kurucs. However, GM Sean Marks figures to explore all options with that leftover cap room before going over the cap by signing Harris and Davis.

    Denver Nuggets

    There are plenty of moving parts in play for the Nuggets, who still have to finalize Thomas’ signing and waive Isaiah Whitehead, whose non-guaranteed contract will be acquired in the trade with the Nets. We also don’t have final, official figures for new contracts for Nikola Jokic, Will Barton, and Jarred Vanderbilt.

    Based on what we know though, it appears the Nuggets will have a team salary of about $115MM after waiving Whitehead and signing Thomas, putting the team approximately $8.7MM below the tax line.

    As Nahmad observes (via Twitter), Denver has a few unlikely incentives to consider for Jokic, Paul Millsap, and Gary Harris. The 2018/19 cap hits for those players would increase if they earn their incentives, so the Nuggets will want to leave a little breathing room to account for that. Still, the team has flexibility to use its full mid-level exception.

    So far, the Nuggets have used a reported $2.84MM of their mid-level to sign Torrey Craig and Vanderbilt, which would leave about $5.8MM of the $8.64MM exception available. Denver could also technically use its $3.382MM bi-annual exception, though the team would become hard-capped if it uses any of its BAE or uses more than the taxpayer portion ($5.337MM) of the mid-level.

    Luke Adams <![CDATA[Contract Details For Nikola Jokic]]> 2018-07-12T15:35:54Z 2018-07-12T15:35:54Z While Nikola Jokic‘s new five-year deal with the Nuggets was reported as a maximum-salary contract, that’s not technically accurate. According to ESPN’s Zach Lowe (via Twitter), the base value of Jokic’s new deal falls just short of the max, since it includes about $1MM per year in bonuses linked to team success.

    As Lowe explains, about half of those annual bonuses can be earned if the Nuggets make the playoffs, while the other half can be earned if the club advances to the second round. Because Denver didn’t achieve either of those benchmarks in 2017/18, those bonuses are currently considered “unlikely” incentives and don’t count against the Nuggets’ cap.

    In 2018/19, for instance, Jokic’s cap hit will be about $24.6MM rather than the maximum $25.5MM, tweets Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders. However, if the Nuggets were to win a playoff series in 2019, Jokic would earn his first-year bonus and his second-year bonuses would subsequently be considered “likely,” causing his future cap hit to increase.

    • As expected, the Nuggets used a portion of their mid-level exception to sign Torrey Craig to his new two-year deal. Craig will earn a flat $2MM salary in each season, for a $4MM total (Twitter link).
    Luke Adams <![CDATA[Nuggets Sign Second-Rounder Jarred Vanderbilt]]> 2018-07-11T17:07:36Z 2018-07-11T16:27:58Z The Nuggets have signed second-round pick Jarred Vanderbilt to a multiyear contract, the team announced today in a press release. Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed by Denver, but ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski tweets that it’s a three-year, $4MM contract.

    [RELATED: 2018 NBA Draft Pick Signings]

    The over-the-cap Nuggets will dip into their mid-level exception to complete the Vanderbilt signing, since the minimum salary exception would only have allowed for up to two years. The team is believed to have used a portion of its MLE on Torrey Craig, but still should have plenty left.

    Vanderbilt, whose college career was limited by foot and leg injuries, appeared in just 14 games last season for Kentucky, averaging 5.9 PPG and 7.9 RPG in 17.0 MPG. Although he was unable to make much of an impact during his time with the Wildcats, the combo forward is a good athlete and has upside as a defender and rebounder.

    The Nuggets used the No. 41 overall to nab Vanderbilt, trading up a couple spots to ensure that they landed him.

    With Craig and Vanderbilt now on NBA contracts, and free agents like Nikola Jokic and Will Barton back in the fold as well, Denver is up to 15 players on guaranteed deals. That doesn’t leave room for two-way player Monte Morris, who had been a candidate for a promotion to the 15-man roster, prompting Gina Mizell of The Denver Post (Twitter link) to wonder if another salary-dump trade may be on the horizon for the Nuggets.

    Dana Gauruder <![CDATA[Nuggets Received $110K In Chandler Trade]]> 2018-07-10T13:03:41Z 2018-07-10T00:50:10Z
  • The Sixers will receive $1.5MM from the Lakers to complete the Isaac Bonga deal, Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders tweets. The Lakers have a 45-day window from July 6 to get that done, Pincus adds. Philadelphia also received the Bulls’ second-round pick in the deal for the 39th pick of this year’s draft. The Sixers are paying $110K to the Nuggets as part of the Wilson Chandler trade, Pincus adds in another tweet. Denver generated a $12.8MM trade exception from the deal.
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    Luke Adams <![CDATA[Nuggets Sign Torrey Craig To Two-Year Deal]]> 2018-07-09T19:41:10Z 2018-07-09T19:12:02Z After playing on a two-way contract with the Nuggets last season, Torrey Craig will be promoted to the 15-man roster for the 2018/19 campaign. According to Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link), Craig has agreed to a two-year, $4MM contract with Denver. Chris Dempsey of first tweeted that the deal was done.

    Craig, 27, appeared in 39 games for the Nuggets in 2017/18, averaging 4.2 PPG and 3.3 RPG in 16.1 minutes per contest. He also played 15 G League games for the Sioux Falls Skyforce, averaging an impressive 22.9 PPG, 8.1 RPG, 3.5 APG, and 2.0 BPG with a .477/.386/.787 shooting line.

    With his two-way deal expiring, Craig was tendered a qualifying offer last month by the Nuggets. That one-year offer was only for another two-way contract, but any other team could have signed the 6’6″ forward to an offer sheet. Denver decided not to take any chances, locking up Craig to a two-year standard contract that should assure him of a roster spot.

    Assuming his new deal is indeed worth $4MM, Craig may have been signed using a portion of the Nuggets’ mid-level exception, since that figure exceeds what he could have received using the minimum salary exception or his Non-Bird rights.

    With Craig out of the mix for one of Denver’s two-way slots, Monte Morris and Thomas Welsh appear likely to open the 2018/19 season as the Nuggets’ two-way players.

    Luke Adams <![CDATA[Nuggets Sign Nikola Jokic To Five-Year Max Deal]]> 2018-07-09T19:00:12Z 2018-07-09T19:00:55Z JULY 9: The Nuggets have officially signed Jokic to his new mega-deal, the team announced today in a press release.

    “It’s not every day that you find a player with the incredible skillset to lead an NBA franchise that Nikola has, but also the character and personality to match that,” Nuggets vice chairman Josh Kroenke said in a statement. “Seeing Nikola grow on and off the basketball court is something in which our organization has taken immense pride, and we were determined to do whatever it took to keep Nikola in a Nuggets uniform for a very long time.”

    JUNE 30: Jokic has agreed to a five-year, maximum-salary deal with the Nuggets, according to reports from ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports (Twitter links). A full max contract for Jokic projects to be worth $147,710,050.

    Denver also reached an agreement to re-sign Barton.

    JUNE 25: The Nuggets will decline Nikola Jokic‘s team option for 2018/19 in order to make him a restricted free agent, as we detailed on Sunday. Once Jokic officially reaches free agency, he and the team intend to finalize a five-year, maximum-salary contract, reports Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports.

    Denver’s plans for Jokic come as no surprise, given the comments made by president of basketball operations Tim Connelly following last Thursday’s draft. At the time, he suggested the Nuggets would do all they could to make sure they locked up their star center for as many years as possible.

    “Nikola’s going to be here for a long, long time,” Connelly said. “I think whatever we do, we’re going to ensure he’s here as long as possible. When that moment happens, we’re going to talk to Nikola and his brothers and his representation. He’ll be in Denver for a long, long time. He’ll be buying (a home) here.”

    Had they simply exercised their 2018/19 option on Jokic, the Nuggets could have kept him under team control for a mere $1,600,520 next season. However, taking that route would have risked alienating Jokic and his representatives, and would have put him on track to unrestricted free agency in 2019, at which point he would have been free to join any other team. By declining that option, Denver ensures that it will have the right of first refusal, though the team will simply negotiate directly with Jokic’s camp rather than waiting for an offer sheet.

    Jokic, 23, enjoyed the best season of his three-year career in 2017/18, setting new career highs in PPG (18.5), RPG (10.7), APG (6.1), and 3PT% (.396), among other categories. While the former second-round pick isn’t an elite defender, he’s one of the NBA’s best frontcourt play-makers, and will be paired up front with a strong defensive presence in Paul Millsap.

    As for the exact value of Jokic’s contract, a five-year deal can be worth up to $146.45MM based on a $101MM cap projection. Such an agreement would start at $25.25MM, eventually increasing to $33.33MM by 2022/23. We outlined the exact year-by-year breakdown when we took an early look at maximum salary projections earlier this year.

    Adding $25.25MM to the Nuggets’ salary commitments for 2018/19 will increase the team’s total guaranteed money to $131MM+ for 12 players. That figure doesn’t account for Will Barton, who will be an unrestricted free agent. If Denver wants to re-sign Barton, the club will likely make a strong push to shed another salary, with Kenneth Faried‘s and Darrell Arthur‘s expiring contracts serving as the most obvious trade pieces.

    Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

    Austin Kent <![CDATA[Nuggets Sign Will Barton To Four-Year Deal]]> 2018-07-09T19:01:13Z 2018-07-09T18:59:21Z JULY 9: The Nuggets have officially signed Barton to his new four-year contract, according to a press release from the team.

    “Will Barton is a fearless competitor that never backs down,” president of basketball operations Tim Connelly said in a statement. “He has continuously pushed himself to be the best player and teammate he can be and gives it his all no matter what role he is asked to play. We are very excited to have gotten this deal done and to keep an important player like Will as a key part of our future.”

    JUNE 30: The Nuggets will come to terms on a four-year deal with free agent swingman Will Barton, Chris Mannix of Yahoo Sports tweets. The news comes an hour before the official free agency period begins.

    The four-year contract will be worth $54MM, Chris Haynes of ESPN tweets, with a player option in the final year. Per Zach Lowe of ESPN, the final year of the four-year deal will include a player option.

    Barton, a 27-year-old shooting guard, is coming off a career year with the franchise. The prolific two guard averaged 15.7 points per game on the season but 17.7 points, 5.6 rebounds and 4.4 assists in games that he started.

    It was previously reported that Barton would be meeting with the Pacers later tonight but Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders writes that that meeting was never scheduled.

    With Nikola Jokic‘s recently reported five-year extension factored in, the acquisition of Barton at over $12MM annually will put the Nuggets on pace to shatter the luxury tax line.

    Of course club president of basketball operations Tim Connelly will have plenty of time to rectify that and, as we wrote earlier, will be looking to shed contracts in trades.

    At the end of the day, while the deal could put the Nuggets over the tax if they can’t unload any of their unwanted contracts, they have $34MM set to expire next summer when Kenneth Faried, Wilson Chandler and Darrell Arthur all come off their books.

    Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

    Luke Adams <![CDATA[Nuggets Reportedly Made Offer To Tony Parker]]> 2018-07-07T16:59:46Z 2018-07-07T16:59:46Z
  • Tony Parker, who reached an agreement with the Hornets on Friday, tells Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated (Twitter link) that he received offers from the Spurs and Nuggets before deciding on Charlotte. I’d imagine those other offers didn’t come with the guarantee of as much money and/or as significant a role.
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    Luke Adams <![CDATA[Nuggets Trade Wilson Chandler To Sixers]]> 2018-07-06T20:52:16Z 2018-07-06T20:46:35Z JULY 6: The trade is now official, according to a press release from the Nuggets.

    “We want to thank Wilson for seven years in Denver,” Nuggets president of basketball operations Tim Connelly said in a statement. “As good as a player as he is, he’s an even better person. He will be a great addition in Philly and we will certainly all be rooting for him.”

    JULY 3: The Sixers and Nuggets have agreed to a deal that will send Wilson Chandler and draft considerations to Philadelphia, league sources tell ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link). Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link) first reported that the two teams were close to a deal involving Chandler.

    It’s a swap that makes sense for both teams. The Sixers have cap room available to absorb Chandler’s $12.8MM salary for 2018/19, and the deal will net them a solid veteran forward who had a down year in 2017/18 but has averaged 13.3 PPG and 5.6 RPG with a .441/.351/.753 shooting line during his last five seasons in Denver.

    Chandler is on an expiring contract, so he won’t impact the 76ers’ cap flexibility for 2019. Meanwhile, the team will also receive draft considerations in the deal. According to Jake Fischer of (Twitter link), Philadelphia will acquire the Nuggets’ 2021 second-round selection, as well as the ability to swap second-rounders with Denver in 2022.

    As for the Nuggets, the only incoming asset they’ll receive from the Sixers in the trade itself is cash, per Fischer. However, shedding Chandler’s salary and using only a second-round pick to do it represents a big financial win for team ownership — with new deals for Nikola Jokic and Will Barton set to hit the books, Denver’s team salary was projected to be way over the tax line.

    By moving Chandler, the Nuggets’ projected tax bill will drop by approximately $37MM, and the team will also avoid paying Chandler’s $12.8MM salary, creating nearly $50MM in total savings, tweets ESPN’s Bobby Marks. The Nuggets still could end up over the tax threshold, but has a much easier path to get below it now, if they so choose. Kenneth Faried ($13.76MM) and Darrell Arthur ($7.46MM) are still candidates to be traded or stretched.

    The Nuggets will also create a trade exception worth Chandler’s salary ($12,800,562) in the deal. They’ll have a year to use it.

    Although the move will eat up most of the Sixers’ remaining cap room and likely take them out of the market for major free agents, the team still has plenty of trade options. As Marks notes, Chandler could even theoretically be included in a trade package right away, since CBA rules don’t restrict a team immediately flipping a player if he was acquired using cap space. However, the 76ers like Chandler’s two-way ability and are planning to hang onto him, tweets TNT’s David Aldridge.

    Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

    Arthur Hill <![CDATA[Michael Porter Jr. Signs Rookie Deal With Nuggets]]> 2018-07-03T21:49:09Z 2018-07-03T21:49:09Z The Nuggets have signed first-round pick Michael Porter Jr. to a rookie contract, the team announced on its website.

    Porter was projected as high as No. 2 in the draft, but concerns about his the condition of his back caused him to plummet all the way to 14th. He suffered a back injury that required surgery in his first college game, then played limited minutes in a pair of SEC and NCAA tournament contests.

    Porter will receive $2,411,800 as a rookie and $2,824,500 in his second season. As with all first-rounders, his contract will have two guaranteed seasons, followed by two team option years.

    Luke Adams <![CDATA[Nuggets A Suitor For Tony Parker?]]> 2018-07-03T13:39:55Z 2018-07-03T13:39:55Z
  • A report from French outlet L’Equipe (hat tip to Amico Hoops) suggests that Tony Parker isn’t necessarily a lock to return to the Spurs, with the Nuggets and Hornets among the “five or six” teams that could make a play for the veteran point guard.
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    Luke Adams <![CDATA[Nuggets To Aggressively Pursue Meeting With LeBron James]]> 2018-07-01T08:09:28Z 2018-07-01T07:46:53Z While the LeBron James sweepstakes increasingly look like a two-team race between the Lakers and Cavaliers, a wild-card club is trying to force its way into the mix. According to Chris Mannix of Yahoo Sports, the Nuggets have been in contact with James’ agent Rich Paul and will aggressively pursue a meeting.

    The idea of James choosing to join the Nuggets is a long shot, which the team itself recognizes, per Mannix (Twitter link). However, Denver’s “ultra-aggressive” front office wants an opportunity to sell the four-time MVP on the idea of playing with Nikola Jokic, Will Barton, and Jamal Murray, even if it’s just for one year.

    Of course, the Nuggets’ lucrative new agreements with Jokic and Barton present another roadblock to the team’s pursuit of James — Denver currently projects to have a team salary well over the tax apron for 2018/19, which would make the club ineligible to acquire a player via a sign-and-trade. So even in the unlikely event that LeBron wants to play in Denver, the Nuggets would have to jump through several cap-related hoops to make it happen.

    While James almost certainly won’t play for the Nuggets, the team continues to display a willingness to go after star free agents. Two summers ago, Denver made an aggressive play for Dwyane Wade before he ultimately chose to sign with his hometown Bulls.

    Arthur Hill <![CDATA[Nuggets Looking To Trade Chandler, Arthur, Faried]]> 2018-07-01T02:14:57Z 2018-06-30T23:46:47Z With a potentially huge luxury tax bill looming, the Nuggets are hoping to find someone willing to take on the contracts of Wilson Chandler, Darrell Arthur or Kenneth Faried, tweets Marc Stein of The New York Times. He adds that Denver isn’t finding many interested teams and may have to put center Mason Plumlee on the trade block too.

    Chandler contributed to the cap crunch when he decided to opt in to the final year of his contract at $12.8MM for next season. Combined with a sizable new deal upcoming for Nikola Jokic and the apparent decision to re-sign free agent Will Barton, the Nuggets could have a team salary in excess of $140MM, well above the projected $123MM luxury tax threshold for 2018/19.

    Denver can reduce that figure by unloading Faried, who will make nearly $13.8MM next season, or Arthur, whose salary is set at nearly $7.5MM. Both are on expiring contracts, as is Chandler. Plumlee has two years left on his current deal at $12.9MM and $14MM.

    Arthur Hill <![CDATA[Pacers May Pursue Doug McDermott, Joe Harris]]> 2018-06-30T23:38:24Z 2018-06-30T23:31:18Z With Will Barton expected to re-sign in Denver, the Pacers will turn their attention to Doug McDermott and Joe Harris, tweets ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

    McDermott, 26, became a free agent on Wednesday when the Mavericks withdrew their qualifying offer. He split this season between New York and Dallas, playing 26 games for the Mavs after a February trade and averaging 9.0 points per night while shooting 49% from 3-point range.

    Harris, also 26, is coming off his best NBA season. He averaged 10.8 points and shot 42% on 3-pointers in 78 games for the Nets.

    Arthur Hill <![CDATA[Nuggets Likely To Re-Sign Will Barton]]> 2018-07-01T01:04:39Z 2018-06-30T23:09:43Z Free agent Will Barton should have a new contract with the Nuggets shortly after free agency begins, tweets ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, who cites “strong momentum” toward getting a deal done.

    The 28-year-old guard is coming off his best NBA season, averaging career highs in points (15.7), rebounds (5.0) and assists (4.1). He appeared in 81 games, starting 40, and helped Denver stay in the playoff race until the final night of the season.

    The Nuggets are set to take on a lot of money with Wilson Chandler opting into the final year of his contract and Nikola Jokic due for a significant raise. Even so, president of basketball operations Tim Connelly insisted that keeping Barton “was still a priority” for the organization.

    All these moves could leave Denver with a team salary in excess of $140MM, which would result in a massive luxury tax bill.

    Chris Crouse <![CDATA[Wilson Chandler Available In Trade Talks]]> 2018-07-02T15:38:24Z 2018-06-30T19:03:41Z
  • Wilson Chandler, who officially opted into his 2018/19 contract with the Nuggets last week, is available in trade talks, David Aldridge of reports (Twitter link). Chandler will make slightly over $12.8MM this upcoming year.
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    Luke Adams <![CDATA[Nuggets May Show Interest In Jamal Crawford]]> 2018-06-29T17:37:23Z 2018-06-29T17:37:23Z We heard on Thursday that multiple Warriors players are lobbying for the front office to go after Jamal Crawford in free agency, but Golden State isn’t the only team that will kick the tires on the veteran scorer. According to Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated, the Pelicans, Sixers, Cavaliers, and Nuggets are also expected to show interest in Crawford, who is focusing on finding the right fit.

    Luke Adams <![CDATA[Trade Rumors: Clippers, Mavs, Richardson, Lakers]]> 2018-06-29T12:37:09Z 2018-06-29T12:37:09Z The Clippers aren’t overly interested in taking back Wesley Matthews in a trade sending DeAndre Jordan to the Mavericks, reports Marc Stein of The New York Times (via Twitter). Los Angeles’ reluctance to accept Matthews makes some sense — while his salary is a little more affordable than Jordan’s, his contract expires at the same time, and the veteran swingman doesn’t really fill a major need for the Clips.

    In order to work out a deal with the Clippers, the Mavericks will have to come up with an alternative trade scenario for Jordan, Stein notes. However, if the two sides can’t reach an agreement, that doesn’t necessarily mean Dallas is out of the running for Jordan, since the standout center could always decline his player option and sign with the Mavs as a free agent. If Dallas can work out a trade for Jordan, the team could theoretically preserve a good chunk of its cap room for another signing.

    Here are a few more trade-related rumors from around the NBA:

    • Several teams called the Heat to inquire about Josh Richardson during the draft, but Miami showed no interest in moving him, sources tell ESPN’s Zach Lowe. If the Heat hope to re-sign Wayne Ellington or use their mid-level exception, they’ll almost certainly have to shed salary, but Richardson isn’t a player the club is willing to lose.
    • The Suns made Marquese Chriss available in trade talks on draft night, according to Lowe. The scribe adds that the Suns, who are in the market for a point guard this summer, have yet to show any interest in trading for Dennis Schroder of the Hawks.
    • Multiple sources tell Tim Bontemps of The Washington Post that the Lakers and Nuggets have discussed a trade that would send unwanted salary and a draft pick to Los Angeles. Reports earlier this week indicated that the Lakers were exploring ways to acquire another first-round pick to sweeten a potential offer for Kawhi Leonard.
    • In a piece for, Bobby Marks examines some of the more intriguing expiring contracts and trade chips around the NBA.
    Austin Kent <![CDATA[Lowe’s Latest: James, Thunder, RFAs]]> 2018-06-29T12:17:18Z 2018-06-29T00:56:12Z The Lakers may not necessarily need a star in place to lure LeBron James, Zach Lowe of ESPN writes in a massive round-up of free agency notes. If James were to sign in Los Angeles alongside the team’s existing young stars and plethora of cap space they’d immediately become one of the league’s most appealing destinations for the next 12 months.

    The comment comes in response to the notion that the Lakers are growing desperate to acquire Kawhi Leonard from the Spurs prior to James’ opt-in deadline tomorrow at 10:59pm CST. As things stand, both the Celtics and Sixers appear poised to offer better packages than what Lowe speculates L.A. might.

    The King’s decision will have a ripple effect on the rest of the league, especially the Eastern Conference. If the Raptors, for example, were to watch James head to the West, it would make keeping their current core in place more appealing considering that their path to the Finals would be hypothetically easier.

    Here’s a taste of the rest of Lowe’s findings:

    • If the Thunder can convince Paul George to return to Oklahoma City, it will be a monumental victory for general manager Sam Presti. If he leaves, the club would be forced to at least think about blowing the current squad up and trading Russell Westbrook.
    • Only six teams have notable amounts of potential cap space and half of those – the Hawks, Bulls and Kings – are telling teams that they’re interested in using that space to absorb bad contracts and pick up assets.
    • It’s unclear that there will be much of a market for Derrick Favors beyond, potentially the Mavs. It may make more sense for the big man to stay with the Jazz after finally starting to click alongside Rudy Gobert in Quin Snyder‘s offense last season.
    • The two best candidates to sign a qualifying offer this summer and approach next summer as unrestricted free agents are Celtics guard Marcus Smart and Trail Blazers center Jusuf Nurkic. Lowe writes that Nurkic turned down a “rich” four-year extension last fall but might have a hard time finding a team willing to offer more than the mid-level exception this summer.
    • It stands to reason that Aaron Gordon, Zach LaVine and Jabari Parker will yield significant offers from the Magic, Bulls and Bucks  respectively but none of those teams have reason to offer a max contract right away.
    • The Pacers could make life harder for the Magic by putting together an offer in the $20MM range for Gordon. Lowe writes that there has been “mild discontent for years” about Gordon’s role in Orlando’s offense.
    • The Nuggets tried “feverishly” to trade for a second first-round pick last Thursday in the hopes of nabbing Zhaire Smith. Denver’s 2019 first-rounder was on the table in those talks.

    For more free agency notes, including some potential contract extension candidates and the reasoning behind Nikola Jokic not getting a player option in the fifth year of his new deal with the Nuggets, check out the full feature at ESPN.

    Dana Gauruder <![CDATA[Nuggets Issue Qualifying Offer To Torrey Craig]]> 2018-06-28T13:02:01Z 2018-06-28T13:02:01Z
  • The Nuggets made a qualifying offer to Torrey Craig, ensuring he’ll be a restricted free agent, Gina Mizell of the Denver Post writes.  The 6’6” Craig saw quite a bit of action with Denver last season, averaging 4.2 PP and 3.3 RPG in 16.1 MPG while making 39 appearances. The 27-year-old went undrafted in 2014, then played in Australia and New Zealand before the Nuggets signed him.
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    Clark Crum <![CDATA[Nuggets Decline Nikola Jokic’s Option, Extend QO]]> 2018-06-26T12:47:56Z 2018-06-26T03:20:41Z JUNE 25, 10:20pm: The Nuggets filed the paperwork to decline their team option late Monday night, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN tweets. That clears the way for Jokic to sign what will likely be a five-year max contract next month, Wojnarowski adds.

    JUNE 25, 2:19pm: The Nuggets have officially extended a qualifying offer to Jokic, per RealGM’s transactions log. That’s a signal that the club has formally turned down his option.

    As we heard earlier today, Jokic and the Nuggets are expected to finalize a five-year, maximum-salary contract once free agency begins.

    JUNE 24, 1:50pm: In a story primarily regarding the decision of Wilson Chandler to exercise his player option with the Nuggets for the 2018/19 season, Gina Mizell of The Denver Post is reporting that a league source says Denver will decline the $1.6MM team option for franchise big man Nikola Jokic.

    By declining the option, the Nuggets will make Jokic a restricted free agent eligible to sign a maximum-salary contract with Denver this summer – something that Jokic’s camp has been jockeying for since early-May (link).

    The reported declination, while substantial, really comes as no surprise, with Jokic’s agent telling the Nuggets earlier this year that picking up his client’s 2018/19 option would hinder Denver’s chances of locking Jokic up long-term.

    Moreover, if Denver does exercise the option, Jokic would become an unrestricted free agent next summer, leaving the Nuggets without a right of first refusal during free agency

    “Nikola’s going to be here for a long, long time,” president of basketball operations Tim Connelly said following Thursday night’s 2018 NBA draft. “I think whatever we do, we’re going to ensure he’s here as long as possible. When that moment happens, we’re going to talk to Nikola and his brothers and his representation. He’ll be in Denver for a long, long time. He’ll be buying (a home) here.”

    Assuming the report is accurate and the Nuggets decline his option, Jokic, 23, will be eligible to sign a five-year contract worth approximately $146.45MM this summer.

    Luke Adams <![CDATA[Re-Signing Barton Remains A Priority For Nuggets]]> 2018-06-25T17:41:51Z 2018-06-25T17:41:51Z Now that Wilson Chandler has opted into the final year of his contract and Nikola Jokic is on track to sign a massive new deal of his own, Will Barton may be odd man out in Denver. However, speaking after the draft to reporters, including Michael Kelly of The Associated Press, Nuggets president of basketball operations Tim Connelly said that retaining Barton “is still a priority.”

    While Connelly says the Nuggets will be “aggressive” trying to keep the free agents they want back, re-signing Barton to a fair deal could push team salary north of $140MM, which would lead to a huge luxury tax bill.

    Luke Adams <![CDATA[Details On Draft-Night Trade With Magic]]> 2018-06-23T19:48:55Z 2018-06-23T19:48:55Z
  • RealGM’s log of traded draft picks provides specific details on a couple more draft-night trades, indicating that the Sixers received 2021 and 2023 second-round picks in their deal with the Pistons, while the Magic will receive the less favorable of the Nuggets’ and Wizards’ 2019 second-round picks as a result of their swap with the Nuggets.
  • ]]>
    Dana Gauruder <![CDATA[Wilson Chandler Opts In With Nuggets]]> 2018-06-23T18:22:50Z 2018-06-23T14:07:05Z JUNE 23rd, 9:07 am: Chandler has officially opted in, according to RealGM’s Transactions log.

    JUNE 22nd, 5:11 pm: Nuggets forward Wilson Chandler will opt in for the final year of his contract, Chris Haynes of ESPN tweets. Chandler will make $12.8MM rather than test the free agent market.

    Chandler had until Sunday to make a decision on his option. With Gary Harris extension kicking in next season, the Nuggets now have a handful of players making between $12.8MM-$29.7MM.

    Chandler started 71 of the 74 games in which he played last season but his role diminished. He averaged just 8.5 shots per game, his lowest total since his rookie year with the Knicks in 2007/08. His 10 PPG were his lowest since 2011/12, when he played just eight games.

    That was a stark contrast to the previous season, when Chandler averaged 15.7 PPG – second-most in his career – and a career-high 6.5 RPG.

    The 6’9” Chandler could see an even bigger dip in playing time if the team’s draft pick, Michael Porter Jr., is healthy enough to play regularly. Porter slipped to the No. 14 overall spot because of long-term health concerns after he underwent back surgery in his lone college campaign at Missouri.

    Luke Adams <![CDATA[Connelly: Nuggets Had Lots Of Talks To Trade Up, Happy With MPJ At No. 14]]> 2018-06-22T18:47:54Z 2018-06-22T18:47:54Z
  • Nuggets president of basketball operations Tim Connelly said the club had “countless” conversations about trading up in the draft, but was thrilled that Michael Porter Jr. fell to No. 14. Connelly added that the Nuggets will be cautious with Porter and won’t play him until the team is confident that he’s “perfectly healthy” (Twitter links via Gina Mizell of The Denver Post).
  • ]]>
    Arthur Hill <![CDATA[ESPN Lists Nuggets Among Draft Winners]]> 2018-06-22T03:48:36Z 2018-06-22T03:43:31Z
  • The Mavericks, Nuggets and Spurs were all among the winners in tonight’s draft, according to Jonathan Givony and Mike Schmitz of ESPN. Dallas was able to trade up to get Doncic, Denver saw Michael Porter Jr. fall to No. 14 and San Antonio picked up Lonnie Walker at 18. Other teams that had a good night, according to the authors, were the Pacers, Sixers and Celtics.
  • ]]>
    Luke Adams <![CDATA[Nuggets Acquire No. 41 Pick, Draft Jarred Vanderbilt]]> 2018-06-22T04:30:01Z 2018-06-22T03:20:34Z The Magic are sending the 41st overall pick in the draft to the Nuggets, who will use it to select Kentucky forward Jarred Vanderbilt, reports Jeremy Woo of (Twitter link). Orlando will move down two spots in the deal and use the No. 43 pick to draft Maryland forward Justin Jackson, Woo adds (via Twitter).

    Heading to Orlando in the deal will be a future second-round pick, Josh Robbins of The Orlando Sentinel tweets. According to the Magic’s official announcement, it’s a 2019 second-rounder.

    The Nuggets will add the intriguing Kentucky reserve to a draft haul that already includes Michael Porter Jr. In 14 games off the bench for the Wildcats, Vanderbilt averaged just 5.9 points per game but has upside as a gritty rebounder and defender.

    Jackson had been regarded as a possible first-round pick last season but returned for his sophomore season at Maryland and ended up missing the second half of the season with a shoulder injury. He’ll join the Magic having averaged 10.3 points per game in 44 contests for the Terrapins.


    Arthur Hill <![CDATA[Draft Notes: Sixers, Magic, Doncic, Walker]]> 2018-06-22T01:56:08Z 2018-06-22T01:51:40Z The Sixers‘ coaching staff and front office had “serious conversations” about selecting Michael Porter Jr. before deciding on Mikal Bridges, tweets ESPN’s Jonathan Givony. The Sixers were intrigued by Porter’s potential to become a star, but bypassed him for a safer choice. Porter went four picks later to the Nuggets, while Bridges was traded to the Suns.

    Because former president of basketball operations Bryan Colangelo resigned in the wake of a controversy involving Twitter burner accounts, the Sixers are relying on a group effort between coaches and executives to decide on their picks.

    There’s more from an active draft night:

    • The Magic’s selection of Mohamed Bamba at No. 6 doesn’t mean Nikola Vucevic is headed out of town, tweets Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders. Vucevic is heading into a contract year, making $12.75MM next season. Orlando has a potential logjam at center with Bismack Biyombo signed for $17MM next year with a $17MM player option for 2019/20. “He’s a good pick,” Vucevic said of Biyombo. “He’s talented and he’ll be a big presence.”
    • The Mavericks won’t ask Luka Doncic to go through a full summer league schedule after just finishing up his season in Europe, relays ESPN’s Tim MacMahon (Twitter link). “He needs a break,” said coach Rick Carlisle. The Mavs will meet soon to determine how much they want Doncic to do this summer.
    • A medical issue may have caused Lonnie Walker to drop to the Spurs at No. 18, according to Doug Gottlieb of Fox Sports Radio (Twitter link). However, ESPN’s Jonathan Givony states that health concerns regarding Walker were exaggerated and had little effect on where he was taken (Twitter link).
    • The Cavaliers are hoping to buy a pick in the second round, sources tell Joe Vardon of (Twitter link). The club can’t send out any more cash in trades during the 2017/18 league year, but could reach an agreement tonight and finalize it in July. The Cavs don’t own any picks beyond No. 8.
    • The Bulls made an effort to move up, but decided it was “too expensive,” a source tells Vincent Goodwill of NBC Sports Chicago (Twitter link). Any move would have cost them the 22nd pick and future selections.
    Luke Adams <![CDATA[Michael Porter Jr. Slips To Nuggets At No. 14]]> 2018-06-22T01:10:24Z 2018-06-22T00:59:55Z In one of the major surprises of draft night so far, Michael Porter Jr. – who was once considered a frontrunner to be the No. 1 pick of 2018 – nearly slipped out of the lottery, going to the Nuggets at No. 14.

    According to Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports (via Twitter), Denver strongly considered selecting Zhaire Smith before deciding to roll the dice on Porter.

    Word began circulating hours before the draft that Porter could slide out of the top 10 due to concerns about the long-term health of his back and hip. Many teams were said to be put off by a medical report on Porter earlier this week.

    As Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders tweets, at least one team’s doctors believe that Porter will require surgery on his back, and the possibility that he’d miss most or all of his rookie season was apparently enough to scare several clubs away. According to TNT’s David Aldridge (Twitter link), the Wizards wouldn’t have taken Porter at No. 15 if Denver had passed.

    Still, Porter makes for an interesting gamble for the Nuggets, who already have several core building blocks in place. He’ll join Jamal Murray, Gary Harris, and Nikola Jokic as long-term cornerstones in Denver.

    Dana Gauruder <![CDATA[Teams Lining Up For No. 3 Pick If Kings Pass On Doncic]]> 2018-06-21T18:40:47Z 2018-06-21T17:45:31Z The Mavericks, Magic, Bulls, Knicks, and Clippers have expressed interest in moving into the Hawks’ No. 3 slot to select either EuroLeague guard Luka Doncic or possibly Texas center Mohamed Bamba if the Kings pass on Doncic at No. 2, according to Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer. Those teams, along with the Nuggets, have also talked to the Grizzlies at the No. 4 spot. The Celtics don’t appear to be a serious contender for either pick, O’Connor adds.

    Here’s some other tidbits from O’Connor’s story:

    • The Hornets’ willingness to deal Kemba Walker has waned since they reached an agreement with the Nets to trade Dwight Howard for Timofey Mozgov. The Cavaliers have shown interest in solving their point guard dilemma by acquiring Walker.
    • The Clippers could select Miami (Fla.) guard Lonnie Walker with one of their first-rounders and then ship him to the Hawks. The Clippers have the No. 12 and No. 13 picks in the lottery.
    • The Bucks are trying to package the No. 17 pick with point guard Matthew Dellavedova‘s contract. Dellavedova has two years and $19.2MM remaining on his deal. Milwaukee would trade down in the draft in that scenario and not exit altogether.
    • The Timberwolves have a strong interest in Villanova guard Donte DiVincenzo with the No. 20 pick.
    • There are rumblings that the Bulls made a promise to draft Boise State shooting guard Chandler Hutchison. That would have to be at No. 22 unless they make a deal.
    • The Trail Blazers and Lakers are interested in IMG Academy shooting guard Anfernee Simons with their late first-round picks.
    • Kentucky small forward Jarred Vanderbilt, Latvian forward Rodions Kurucs, and Kansas guard Devonte’ Graham are believed to have received draft promises.
    Dana Gauruder <![CDATA[Mavs Optimistic About Signing DeMarcus Cousins]]> 2018-06-21T16:54:11Z 2018-06-21T16:35:28Z The Mavericks believe they have a strong chance of signing DeMarcus Cousins in free agency, according to Michael Scotto of The Athletic. Cousins, coming off a season-ending Achilles tendon injury, will be an unrestricted free agent next month. While the Mavericks’ interest in Cousins has previously been reported, Scotto’s story suggests the Mavericks are ready to make him a hefty offer to lure him away from the Pelicans. If the Mavs pass on Texas big man Mohamed Bamba with the No. 5 pick, that would reinforce the notion they’ll go all in to secure the services of either Cousins or the Rockets’ restricted free agent center, Clint Capela.

    Scotto also has several other notable items to pass along:

    • The Sixers discussed the possibility of packaging the No. 10 and 26 picks, along with last year’s top pick Markelle Fultz, to move into the top five of the draft with Michael Porter Jr. as their target. However, lingering concerns over Porter’s back have cooled their interest in making that move.
    • Tobias Harris expiring contract is part of the package the Clippers are dangling to move up in the lottery. They have back-to-back picks at Nos. 12 and 13.
    • The Hawks are trying to make a deal with the Clippers or Nuggets (No. 14) in order to nab Miami (Fla.) guard Lonnie Walker IV. They are looking to package their picks at Nos. 19 and 30.
    • The Nets are dangling point guard Spencer Dinwiddie and the No. 29 pick in order to move into the middle of the first round.
    • The Rockets have received calls on guard Eric Gordon and could move him in order to get a mid-first-rounder.
    Dana Gauruder <![CDATA[Givony’s Latest: Kings, Doncic, Porter, Gilgeous-Alexander]]> 2018-06-21T14:11:51Z 2018-06-21T13:21:22Z ESPN draft expert Jonathan Givony posted his latest mock on Thursday morning, along with the updated information regarding what teams are planning to do. Here’s some of the most noteworthy nuggets he passed along:

    • The Kings will target Duke forward Marvin Bagley III if they keep the No. 2 overall pick but they have their eyes on Missouri forward Michael Porter Jr. if they trade down in the lottery.
    • Hawks ownership has pushed for Euroleague guard Luka Doncic with the No. 3 pick because of star power. The compromise between the front office and ownership could be trading down and then selecting Oklahoma point guard Trae Young.
    • Porter is favored by Mavericks owner Mark Cuban at No. 5 but they’re also considering Texas center Mohamed Bamba and Duke center Wendell Carter Jr.
    • Kentucky guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander appears to be on the rise and Givony has him going at No. 6 to the Magic.
    • If the Clippers don’t trade their picks at No. 12 and No. 13, they’ll draft one of the top three college point guards – Gilgeous-Alexander, Alabama’s Collin Sexton or Young – if any are still on the board.
    • Boston College guard Jerome Robinson, Maryland forward Kevin Huerter and Texas A&M big man Robert Williams are under consideration with the Clippers’ second first-rounder.
    Luke Adams <![CDATA[Seven Teams Discussing No. 4 Pick With Grizzlies]]> 2018-06-21T04:28:56Z 2018-06-21T04:08:54Z The Grizzlies remain in discussions with a number of clubs about the possibility of a trade involving the No. 4 overall pick in the draft, reports Jonathan Givony of Givony identifies the Mavericks, Magic, Bulls, Knicks, Nuggets, Celtics, and Clippers as teams that have shown “varying degrees of interest” in making a deal.

    Memphis has been exploring the idea of trading the No. 4 selection throughout the pre-draft process, and would like to include Chandler Parsons‘ unwanted contract in any swap. According to Givony, Parsons would likely be part of any deal Memphis makes involving that fourth overall pick.

    Sources tell Givony that the Grizzlies don’t want to move out of the lottery altogether, so teams picking within a few spots of Memphis will likely have the best odds of making a deal, which could be bad news for a club like Boston. According to Givony, the Grizzlies have their eye on Wendell Carter Jr. as a potential target, so they may not want to drop too far — Carter is considered a probable top-10 pick.

    A trade involving the Grizzlies and Magic, who hold the No. 6 pick, might appeal to Memphis if Orlando is willing to include Evan Fournier, per Givony. However, the Magic are hesitant to do so, preferring to offer up Bismack Biyombo. We heard earlier on Wednesday evening that the Knicks have considered a move up – perhaps to No. 4 – for Mohamed Bamba.

    It’s possible that trade talks will go right down to the wire, since teams interested in moving up will likely want to make sure that their preferred prospect is available at No. 4.

    For what it’s worth, Kevin O’Connor reported earlier in the evening (via Twitter) that the Mavs, Magic, Bulls, Knicks, Clippers, and Celtics have also explored the possibility of moving up to No. 3 in a trade with the Hawks. O’Connor suggested that Luka Doncic or Bamba would be the targets in that spot.