Gary Harris

Northwest Notes: Thomas, Korver, Blazers, Harris

Despite coping with injuries and struggling to gain playing time in the past 18 months, Nuggets guard Isaiah Thomas is confident the process will turn around for the better, Marc Spears of ESPN’s The Undefeated writes. Thomas, 30, will become an unrestricted free agent in July.

“I’m blessed. I know it’s going to turn at one point,” Thomas told The Undefeated. “I worked too hard for it not to. It’s always been like that in my career. I’ve seen this story before. I’ve seen this page, I’ve seen this chapter, and I know what’s gonna happen in the end. I’m going to take it back to the top, and then people are going to all show that fake love again. That’s all it is.

“It’s just a bump in the road that I hit, and like I’ve said about Nipsey [Hussle], it’s a marathon. You just got to keep running, keep running the race and keep working hard.”

Thomas played just 12 games with the Nuggets this season and 32 total games the season before with Cleveland and Los Angeles, working to get back to full strength after undergoing a major hip surgery last March.

It was just two years ago that he was leading the Celtics to a deep postseason run, cementing himself as one of the top point guards in the league. For Thomas, he hopes to be able to play basketball for several more seasons and extend his career until he turns 40.

“Oh, hell no,” Thomas said when asked if he considered retiring last year. “I’m playing until I’m 40. … I want to play until I can’t no more. For sure.”

There’s more from the Northwest Division tonight:

  • Jazz guard Kyle Korver is dealing with some concerning knee pain ahead of Sunday’s Game 1 against the Rockets, tweets Andy Larsen of The Salt Lake Tribune. Korver, who’s listed as available to play, appeared to cut short a normal shooting workout on Saturday due to the pain. Korver shot 38% from behind-the-arc in 54 games this season with Utah, averaging 20.1 minutes per contest off the bench.
  • Joe Freeman of The Oregonian labels five storylines to watch in the Trail Blazers-Thunder series, including how Portland’s new starting five operates. The Blazers appear poised to start Enes Kanter in place of the injured Jusuf Nurkic for the rest of the postseason, with Kanter tallying 20 points, 18 rebounds and two blocks in a Game 1 victory against the Thunder on Sunday.
  • Gary Harris could be the “X-Factor” for the Nuggets in their first-round series against the Spurs, Sean Keeler of the Denver Post writes. Harris, a prominent offensive option in Denver’s rotation, finished with 20 points on 7-of-12 shooting in a Game 1 loss to San Antonio on Saturday. The Nuggets need his production to take back homecourt advantage from the Spurs, a talented team led by the likes of DeMar DeRozan and LaMarcus Aldridge.

Trade Rumors: Randle, Mirotic, Raptors, Celtics

The Pelicans remain on the lookout for potential trades involving players besides Anthony Davis, but Will Guillory of The Athletic suggests (via Twitter) that Julius Randle seems unlikely to be moved this week. According to Guillory, Randle has developed a strong bond with the coaching staff in New Orleans and the club has interest in keeping him around long-term.

Another frontcourt Pelicans player, Nikola Mirotic, remains a trade candidate, according to Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer, who names the Jazz, Trail Blazers, Nets, and Spurs as clubs that have expressed interest in Mirotic. League sources tell O’Connor that New Orleans is seeking a first-round pick in exchange for Mirotic, with one source calling the club’s asking price “excessive.”

Of course, the Pelicans gave up a first-rounder for Mirotic a year ago, but at that time they got a year and a half of team control rather than just a a half-season, and also shed Omer Asik‘s unwanted contract in the deal.

Here are more trade rumors from around the NBA:

  • Although the Raptors have been linked to big names like Marc Gasol and Mike Conley, sources tell Michael Grange of Sportsnet.ca that a move around the periphery of the roster is far more likely than a major deal. Josh Lewenberg of TSN.ca confirms that a move involving Kyle Lowry is “highly unlikely,” but says the Raptors have been aggressive on the trade market and would move anyone on their roster if they feel like it makes them a better team. On the other hand, Toronto has no intention of moving Pascal Siakam unless the club gets a superstar-level return, Lewenberg notes.
  • Before Thursday’s trade deadline, the Celtics may try to attach cash to Jabari Bird in a trade to lower their projected tax bill, tweets Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe. However, Bird’s legal issues complicate matters. Keith Smith of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link) has heard that Boston wants the NBA to expedite a decision on Bird, but the league is in no rush to set a precedent under the CBA’s domestic violence policy.
  • While Nuggets guard Gary Harris has been cited as a potential trade candidate, Matt Moore of ActionNetwork.com hears from a source that Denver hasn’t engaged in any “substantive” trade talks involving Harris and doesn’t currently plan to (Twitter link). While it’s possible that stance could change, Moore thinks the Nuggets would only consider moving Harris in a deal that lands the club a clear upgrade.

Ellis’ Latest: Pistons, Conley, G. Harris, Knicks

The Pistons are on the verge of completing a trade that will send Reggie Bullock to the Lakers, and they may not be done making moves before Thursday’s deadline, according to a pair of beat writers.

Rod Beard of The Detroit News tweets that he believes the Pistons will be exploring the market for other cost-saving deals or potential additions. Meanwhile, Vince Ellis of The Detroit Free Press (Twitter link) hears that the team is working on acquiring more draft picks.

Ellis has shared a few more rumors, including another one on the Pistons, so we’ll pass those along in this space:

  • According to Ellis (Twitter link), the Pistons apparently don’t expect to land Mike Conley from the Grizzlies. A source tells Ellis that Memphis was “asking too much.” The Jazz and Raptors are among the other teams that have been linked to Conley, with the Utah talks believed to have been more serious.
  • While Ellis doesn’t expect anything to happen on this front this week, he has heard from several people recently that Nuggets guard Gary Harris could be had in a trade (Twitter link). As Ellis observes, moving Harris would help Denver create a little more long-term flexibility, and has become a more viable option given the emergence of Malik Beasley.
  • Ellis identifies the Knicks as a probable suitor for Celtics forward Marcus Morris in free agency this summer (Twitter link). Morris would presumably be a Plan B for New York, since it likely wouldn’t be possible to fit in a contract for him alongside two maximum-salary deals.

Community Shootaround: Second-Best Team In The West?

The 2018/19 NBA season is now over a quarter of the way through, with many teams having played at least 30 games. At this point, the Western Conference is still extremely crowded, with 12 teams that are .500 or better fighting for playoff spots. Even the top of the conference is tough to figure out, with teams like the Nuggets, Thunder and Lakers battling to distinguish themselves as the second-best team in the conference (behind a healthy and engaged Warriors team).

The Nuggets have continued to impress after a fast start, as they have withstood several injuries to key players such as Paul Millsap, Will Barton and Gary Harris. They currently own the league’s 8th ranked offense and 5th ranked defense while posting a 19-9 record, good for first in the conference.

The Thunder have used the league’s best defense to carry them to a 20-10 start. Paul George is having the best season of his career as the Thunder continue to stifle opposing offenses. The addition of Dennis Schroder has stabilized the team’s bench units, something previous Thunder teams couldn’t rely on.

Finally, the Lakers have rebounded from their slow 0-4 start to find themselves at 18-12. LeBron James has been his usual terrific self while several of the team’s young players have continued to settle in around him. Of course, it’s also possible that the Lakers make a trade to further improve their team as a result of the crowded playoff picture in the West.

When fully healthy and engaged, the Warriors are still regarded as the clear favorites in the Western Conference. However, the battle for second-best in the conference will likely continue throughout the season and early rounds of the playoffs.

With all that being said, who do you think is the second-best team in the Western Conference? Perhaps you believe that it could be a team that hasn’t been mentioned here. Share your thoughts in the comments section!

Nuggets’ Gary Harris To Miss 3-4 Weeks

The banged-up Nuggets will be without guard Gary Harris for three-to-four weeks as he rehabs from a right hip hip injury, per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link). Denver announced that Harris would be evaluated week-to-week for the injury.

Harris suffered the injury against the Raptors on Monday and was considered day-to-day as he missed the Nuggets’ games on Wednesday and Friday.

“He’s out,” coach Mike Malone said earlier this week. “Just a hip injury, and he’ll continue to get some treatment and see where it’s at and how long he’s gonna be out. But as of right now, he’s just day-to-day.”

Harris, 24, is a key piece in the Nuggets’ core group, averaging 16.6 PPG, 3.2 RPG and 1.2 SPG this season. This is the latest in a series of injuries for the Nuggets, who currently occupy first place in the Western Conference with a 17-8 record, percentage points ahead of the Warriors.

Paul Millsap suffered a broken toe on Friday and he will be re-evaluated when the team returns to Denver. Will Barton will be evaluated on a week-to-week basis moving forward as he rehabs from right hip and core muscle surgery. Isaiah Thomas (hip) and 2018 first-round pick Michael Porter Jr. (back) have yet to play this season.

Northwest Notes: Harris, Wolves, Barton, Blazers

Nuggets guard Gary Harris is considered day-to-day with a right hip injury sustained Monday when the team played Toronto, according to Mike Singer of the Denver Post. Harris didn’t play in Wednesday’s game against Orlando, and has already been ruled out for Friday’s game in Charlotte.

“He’s out,” coach Mike Malone said this week, according to Singer. “Just a hip injury, and he’ll continue to get some treatment and see where it’s at and how long he’s gonna be out. But as of right now, he’s just day-to-day.”

Harris is a key piece in the Nuggets’ core group, averaging 16.6 points, 3.2 rebounds and 1.2 steals per game this season. Malone said he’ll take it game-by-game to determine who should start in Harris’ place for the time being.

“On that given night, which player we feel is going to be a better matchup for us in terms of who they’re guarding, who the other team offers in their starting lineup and also, it’s not just about how it affects the starting unit — how does it affect the bench unit?” Malone said. “Whether it’s Torrey, whether it’s Malik (Beasley), whether it’s somebody else, we have options and I think we can look at it game-by-game while Gary is out.”

There’s more from the Northwest Division:

  • The Timberwolves had a shouting match during halftime of the game against Houston on Monday, Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic writes. As a result, the team then worked together in the second half to pull off an impressive victory. “We screamed at each other about how we wanted to fix our mistakes on defense and how we were as a group going to do it before Thibs talked to us,” Karl-Anthony Towns said. “And we went out there and did it.”
  • Will Barton will be evaluated on a week-to-week basis moving forward, the Nuggets announced on Thursday. Barton continues to progress in his rehabilitation from right hip and core muscle surgery.
  • John Canzano of The Oregonian casts a vote for Merritt Paulson to end up with ownership of the Trail Blazers if the team get put up for sale. Paulson is the majority owner of the Portland Timbers, a Major League Soccer team, as well as the Portland Thorns, a National Women’s Soccer League team.

Rockets Making Strong Effort To Land Jimmy Butler

The Rockets are making a “strong effort” to acquire Jimmy Butler in a trade with the Timberwolves, sources tell Mark Berman of FOX 26 Houston (Twitter link). Berman’s report comes after ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski indicated on Wednesday that Houston was pursuing Butler.

Wojnarowski, who suggested that the Rockets were “trying to be creative” as they explored trade possibilities for Butler, wrote that it would be tricky for the club to pull off a deal for the All-NBA wing without involving a third team. Berman, meanwhile, doesn’t offer much in the way of specifics.

It’s hard to imagine Houston being able to trade for Butler without giving up Eric Gordon, whose $13MM+ salary would make for a good salary-matching piece and whose ability to make an immediate impact might appeal to Timberwolves head coach Tom Thibodeau. The Rockets also have full control over their future first-round picks, though the value of their 2019 selection would be limited, since it’s likely to fall in the late-20s.

Although the Rockets are apparently pushing to land Butler, they’re not the only team involved. Wojnarowski’s report on Thursday named the Clippers and Cavaliers as other clubs in the mix, with the Heat still considered the most aggressive suitors. The Wizards and Mavericks have also gauged the asking price on Butler, while the Nets have interest but haven’t engaged Minnesota recently, per Woj.

Here’s more on Butler:

  • The Heat are open to the idea of taking on Gorgui Dieng‘s contract from the Timberwolves “under the right circumstances,” according to Wojnarowski.
  • Wojnarowski indicates that potential trade partners are skeptical of Thibodeau’s willingness to move Butler, since he’s making counter-offers he knows would never be accepted. In an appearance on the Bill Simmons Podcast, Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer provided an example, reporting that the Timberwolves asked for Ben Simmons when they made a counter-offer to the Sixers (hat tip to Dane Delgado of NBC Sports). We passed along a report earlier today suggesting that Philadelphia has since pulled out of the Butler sweepstakes.
  • The Nuggets were mentioned several days ago as a potential dark horse for Butler, but T.J. McBride of Mile High Sports hears that Denver views Nikola Jokic, Jamal Murray, and Gary Harris as “untouchable” (hat tip to Kurt Helin of NBC Sports). A trade for an All-Star like Butler is probably a long shot without any of those players involved.
  • Earlier today, we relayed an update on the Kings‘ potential involvement in the Butler talks — Sacramento is still interested in getting involved as a facilitator, but will be cautious about adding too much multiyear money to its cap.

Northwest Rumors: Butler, Porter, Thunder, Aminu

The Nets, Knicks, Nuggets, Sixers and Lakers are potential landing spots for Jimmy Butler if the Timberwolves decide to trade him before he hits free agency next summer, Frank Urbina of HoopsHype opines. Butler is reportedly meeting with Minnesota’s brass on Monday to discuss his future with the organization. The Nets could offer a package featuring the Nuggets’ top-12 protected 2019 first-round pick, as well as defensive-minded wing Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, while Denver could make either Jamal MurrayGary Harris and Michael Porter Jr. the centerpiece in a deal for the All-Star wing, Urbina adds.

We have more from around the Northwest Division:

  • Porter is trying to return to full strength after two back surgeries and there’s no guarantee he’ll play this season, Christopher Dempsey of the team’s website writes in a player profile. The Nuggets will keep him on the sidelines until they’re convinced the rookie forward won’t have any setbacks. There’s no timetable on when he will be ready to make his debut, Dempsey adds.
  • Defense will be the Thunder’s biggest strengths this season, according to Basketball Insiders’ season preview of the team. The return of Andre Roberson from his knee injury and the subtraction of Carmelo Anthony give the Thunder five above-average-to-elite defenders in their lineup. Oklahoma City’s biggest issue is closing out games but without the chemistry issues caused by trying to fit Anthony in with Russell Westbrook and Paul George, its performances in the clutch should also improve this season.
  • Trail Blazers forward Al-Farouq Aminu and center Jusuf Nurkic have returned to Portland after competing in regional FIBA World Cup qualifiers last week, according to Casey Holdahl of the team’s website. Aminu helped Nigeria go 3-0 during the tournament but Bosnia and Herzegovina went winless in two games despite the efforts of Nurkic.
  • Shooting guard Darius Johnson-Odom has remained in Minnesota to work out following his recent tryout with the Timberwolves, Darren Wolfson of KSTP tweets. He could still be added to the training camp roster, Wolfson adds.

Northwest Notes: Nuggets, G League, Sefolosha

After missing the playoffs by one game for the second consecutive season, Nuggets head coach Michael Malone and president of basketball operations Tim Connelly are tired of going home after the regular season ends. Yet, as reported by Gina Mizell of The Denver Post, there’s reason for optimism, with Connelly declaring that “this is the most confident I’ve felt in our core group since I’ve been here.”

The first order of business for the Nuggets is locking up budding superstar Nikola Jokic to a long-term contract. Jokic actually has a team option worth $1.6MM for next season, but because he was a second-round pick and has been in the league for three or fewer seasons, he becomes a restricted free agent if Denver declines his option, allowing the Nuggets to match any offer from another team.

Both of the Nuggets other young potential stars – Jamal Murray and Gary Harris – are already locked in for next season, meaning the next order of business is re-signing sixth man Will Barton. “We’re hopeful we can get something done,” Connelly said. “(Barton is) our guy. We love him. I think if he’s back in a Denver jersey, it’s good for both him and the team.”

Barton added, “We’re building something real special here.  I love playing with Jok and Jamal and Gary. The guys we have in the locker room, I like being around. The coaching staff has really come a long way with trusting me and me trusting them. Just the whole (Nuggets) organization, I feel like we’re headed in the right direction.”

There’s more out of the Northwest Division:

  • In more after-season content from the Nuggets, Christopher Dempsey of Nuggets.com relays some of Connelly’s positive thoughts on the Nuggets’ season. “Certainly, when you’re on the outside, looking-in you have to address some needs,” Connelly said. “I think there will be some pretty interesting financial decisions we’ll make this offseason. But standing in front of (the media) now, I finally can say with full confidence that we have a core that can be really good for a long time. They all want to be here, and they are all about the right things.”
  • The Trail Blazers are closing in on setting up a G League team in Beaverton, OR, reports Adam Johnson of Two Ways and 10 Days. There have been suggestions of Seattle as a prime location for a Portland G League team, but it seems the Blazers are looking to bring a potential afilliate closer to home. Nike, the NBA’s new uniform supplier, is headquartered in the Portland suburb.
  • Jazz swingman Thabo Sefolosha may be out of the lineup with injury, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t playing a role against his former team, the Thunder, reports Eric Woodyard of the Deseret News. “I try to just help when I see something like offensively, defensively, something that we can do a little differently,” Sefolosha said. “Just whatever I see, I like to communicate, whether it’s with the coaches or with the players, so I try to stay involved as much as I can.”

Gary Harris Poised To Return For Nuggets

Injured Nuggets guard Gary Harris has been upgraded to questionable for Monday night’s game against Portland, according to Chris Dempsey of Nuggets.com (Twitter link). League sources tell ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link) that Harris is likely to return for that crucial contest.

Harris has been a key part of the Nuggets’ lineup this season, averaging a team-high 34.8 minutes per contest in 65 games (all starts). He has been Denver’s second-best scorer (17.7 PPG) and the team’s most effective three-point shooter (.399 3PT%), but has missed the last 11 games with a knee injury.

According to Dempsey, the Nuggets’ medical staff will monitor Harris’ pregame workout and will make a decision before the game begins on his availability. If the veteran guard is able to return to the court tonight for Denver, it would be great timing for a team that could badly use a win.

While there are still a ton of scenarios in play when it comes to the Western Conference playoff picture, the Nuggets control their own destiny — if they can beat the Trail Blazers tonight and the Timberwolves on Wednesday, they’d earn a postseason berth.