Elijah Millsap

Northwest Notes: Nuggets, Jazz, Diallo, Wolves

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

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

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

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

Northwest Notes: Finch, Horford, Jerome, Lindsey

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

We have more from the Northwest Division:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here’s more on the Jazz:

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

Nuggets Release Elijah Millsap, Jorge Gutierrez

The Nuggets have trimmed their training camp roster by releasing Elijah Millsap and Jorge Gutierrez, Nick Kosmider of The Athletic tweets. That reduces their roster to 18 players.

Millsap, the younger brother of Paul Millsap, was added to the training camp roster on Friday. The veteran shooting guard went undrafted out of UAB in 2010 and has spent much of his career in the G League or overseas. He did appear in a total of 69 NBA regular season games between 2014-17 for the Jazz and Suns, averaging 4.2 PPG and 2.8 RPG in limited action (16.2 MPG).

Gutierrez signed a training camp contract less than a week ago. The 30-year-old guard was last seen in the NBA during the 2015-16 with Charlotte. He’s also played for the Nets and Bucks.

Gutierrez has played in Turkey and Spain since his last NBA stint.

Nuggets To Sign Elijah Millsap To Camp Deal

The Nuggets will fill their 20-man offseason roster by keeping it in the family, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic, who reports (via Twitter) that the team is signing veteran shooting guard Elijah Millsap to a training camp deal. His brother Paul Millsap is already a Nugget.

Elijah, who went undrafted out of UAB in 2010, has spent much of his career in the G League or overseas, but has some NBA experience too. He appeared in a total of 69 regular season games between 2014-17 for the Jazz and Suns, averaging 4.2 PPG and 2.8 RPG in limited action (16.2 MPG).

The younger Millsap has no clear path to a regular season roster spot in Denver, since the team is carrying 14 players with guaranteed salaries and two on two-way contracts. The Nuggets could technically retain a 15th player on a standard contract, but that’s probably unlikely, given the club’s close proximity to the luxury tax threshold.

Denver will have a full 20-man roster once Millsap is officially signed, with PJ Dozier, Tyler Zeller, and Jorge Gutierrez also attending camp on non-guaranteed deals. The Nuggets have no G League team of their own, so those players won’t get the chance to become NBAGL affiliate players for Denver once the season begins.

USA Basketball Announces Roster For First World Cup Qualifiers

USA Basketball has announced its 12-man roster for the first round of the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 Americas Qualifiers, bringing back four members of the squad that won gold earlier this year in FIBA’s AmeriCup tournament.

Here’s Team USA’s full 12-man roster:

The squad, which will be coached once again by Jeff Van Gundy, is comprised almost entirely of G League players, since most of the qualifying tournaments take place during the NBA season, preventing NBA players from participating. Team USA’s goal is for Van Gundy’s squad of G Leaguers to qualify for the 2019 World Cup, which will take place in August and September, when NBA players will be free to participate.

The new-look USA Basketball program is off to a good start, having gone 5-0 this summer to win a gold medal at the AmeriCup tournament. Drew, Hearn, Munford, and Warney were all part of that team.

This time around, Team USA will face Puerto Rico on November 23 and then Mexico on November 26. After those contests, the first round of World Cup qualifiers will resume in February before concluding in July. The top three teams in each first-round group will advance to the second round, which begins in September 2018 and concludes in February 2019, so the qualifying process will take some time to play out.

Meanwhile, the G League teams temporarily losing players to Team USA will be permitted one free move per lost player from the available player pool, tweets Adam Johnson of 2 Ways & 10 Days.

And-Ones: E. Millsap, Koenig, Eddie, Jeanne

Former NBA guard Elijah Millsap has signed with the Iowa Wolves of the G League, tweets Chris Reichert of 2 Ways and 10 Days. The 30-year-old played two games for the Suns last season after joining the team just before the season ended, but spent most of the year in the G League. He came to training camp with Phoenix, but was waived last month.

Millsap went undrafted out of Alabama-Birmingham in 2011 and played internationally and in the G League before getting an opportunity with Utah in the middle of the 2014/15 season. He spent a year and a half with the Jazz, averaging 4.2 points in 67 games.

There’s more news from the NBA, the G League and overseas:

  • Bronson Koenig, who was waived by the Bucks and Bulls during preseason, was involved in a G League trade today, according to Nicola Lupo of Sportando. The Windy City Bulls, Chicago’s affiliate, sent Koenig to the Grand Rapids Drive, Detroit’s affiliate, in exchange for the returning rights of Gary Talton, who is playing in Lithuania. Koenig, who was among the first players to sign a two-way contract, is a rookie guard out of Wisconsin.
  • Jarell Eddie, who was also with Chicago during preseason, has re-signed with Windy City, Lupo relays in a separate item. Eddie spent most of last season with the G League squad before inking a pair of 10-day contracts with the Suns in March. The 26-year-old small forward appeared in five games with Phoenix and played 26 games for the Wizards the previous year.
  • Restricted free agents could be facing another tough market in 2018, writes Sean Deveney of The Sporting News. With their teams holding the right to match any offer, restricted free agents have historically enjoyed little bargaining power, and the small number of teams with significant cap room next summer will make their situation even worse. Deveney identifies Magic forward Aaron Gordon and Rockets center Clint Capela as two players who might cash in, but says most will struggle to find offers.
  • French center Jonathan Jeanne, who was considered a draft prospect this year before being diagnosed with Marfan syndrome, may have reached the end of his career, reports Orazio Cauchi of Sportando. His French team, Le Mans Sarthe, has declared Jeanne “unfit to practice professional sports” after discussing his condition with specialists. The disorder affects the body’s connective tissue.

G League Notes: Bolomboy, E. Millsap, Tavares

The 2017 NBA G League draft will take place on Saturday, and former Jazz forward Joel Bolomboy is expected to be the first overall pick, a source tells Dakota Schmidt of Ridiculous Upside (Twitter link).

Phoenix’s G League affiliate, the Northern Arizona Suns, made a trade earlier today with the Iowa Wolves that saw the Suns acquire the No. 1 overall pick in exchange for the returning rights to Elijah Millsap, among other pieces. However, Schmidt suggests (via Twitter) that it wouldn’t be a surprise to see that first overall pick change hands again in the next 24 hours.

Here are a few more G League notes and updates, with a focus on more former NBA players like Bolomboy and Millsap:

  • Edy Tavares, whose returning rights are held by the Raptors 905, is headed back to the G League after being waived by Cleveland, according to a report from Gigantes (English link via Sportando).
  • The Rockets‘ G League affiliate, the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, sent a first-round pick to the Long Island Nets in exchange for R.J. Hunter‘s returning rights. Hunter, a former first-round pick, intends to suit up for the Vipers, his agent confirms to Adam Johnson of 2 Ways & 10 Days (Twitter link).
  • The Long Island Nets acquired the returning rights to Okaro White and Jamaal Franklin in a trade with the Memphis Hustle, according to a press release. White is still on the Heat‘s NBA roster and recently had his 2017/18 salary guaranteed, so Brooklyn’s affiliate seems unlikely to get its hands on him this season.
  • The Texas Legends, the affiliate of the Mavericks, has acquired Will Bynum‘s returning rights, suggesting the veteran guard could join the organization for the G League season, tweets Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News.
  • Cliff Alexander, who was in camp with New Orleans earlier this month, had his returning rights traded to the Wisconsin Herd, the Bucks‘ G League affiliate, per a team release. “Cliff is a highly-skilled big man who is among the best in the league at his position,” Herd GM Dave Dean said in a statement. “He has a tremendous upside and we are excited to add him to the Wisconsin Herd family.”

Suns Waive Tidjan Keita, Elijah Millsap

2:45pm: In addition to cutting Keita, the Suns have also waived swingman Elijah Millsap, tweets Scott Bordow of The Arizona Republic. Having dropped Millsap’s non-guaranteed deal, Phoenix is now ready for the regular season, with 15 NBA players and two on two-way contracts.

1:54pm: The Suns have waived French forward/center Tidjan Keita, according to the team website. Keita just signed on Friday, so the organization seems to have plans for him in the G League.

The 20-year-old got an invitation to camp based on a pre-draft workout with the team in May and an impressive showing with Toronto’s entry in the Las Vegas Summer League.

The move brings the Phoenix roster down to 18 players, including two-way deals for Alec Peters and Mike James. One more move will be necessary to reach the limit.

Suns Sign Elijah Millsap To Multiyear Deal

1:55 PM: Phoenix will sign Millsap to a multiyear contract, according to the team’s website.

12:52 PM: The Suns will sign Elijah Millsap for the rest of the season, tweets Shams Charania of The Vertical.

The 28-year-old shooting guard spent this season with the Northern Arizona Suns in the D-League, averaging 19.8 points per night in 50 games. He has previous NBA experience with the Jazz, spending parts of the 2014/15 and 2015/16 seasons in Utah. Millsap, the younger brother of the Hawks’ Paul Millsap, played in Israel and the Philippines after being waived in January of 2016.

The Suns have been carrying an open roster spot since the trade deadline, so they won’t have to make a corresponding move to add Millsap.