Jamal Murray

Nuggets Notes: Load Management, Duval, Cancar, Backcourt

Paul Millsap, Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray are all candidates for load management in order to keep them fresh for the playoffs, Nick Kosmider of The Athletic writes. While coach Michael Malone isn’t a fan of the tactic, an occasional night off for the trio could make some sense, Kosmider continues. Age is a factor for Millsap, while there isn’t a lot of depth behind Jokic and Murray at their respective positions.

We have more on the Nuggets:

  • Free agent point guard Trevon Duval worked out for the Nuggets last week, Ben Stinar of Amico Hoops tweets. Duval was a two-way player for the Rockets last season and became a free agent when the team didn’t give him a qualifying offer this summer. He was claimed by Houston in March after the Bucks waived him.
  • Rookie forward Vlatko Cancar isn’t the kind of player that brings people out of their seats, as he told Eric Spyropoulos of the team’s website. Cancar signed with Denver, which drafted him in the second round in 2017, after spending last season in Spain. “I’m not a spectacular, flashy player,” he said. “I’ll be the player that gets the job done and helps the team be in the best position it can be.”
  • The starting backcourt of Murray and Gary Harris is ranked among the top five in the league by Bleacher Report.

NBA Updates 2020/21 Salary Cap Projection

The NBA has informed its teams of a new salary cap projection for the 2020/21 season, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link). As Charania details, the updated projection calls for a $116MM cap and a $141MM luxury tax line for the ’20/21 campaign.

Previously, the NBA projected a $117MM cap with a $142MM tax line for 2020/21, so the new figures come in slightly below those marks. However, they’d still represent a substantial jump up from the cap figures for 2019/20, which are $109.14MM (cap) and $132.627MM (tax).

According to Charania, the league’s projections for 2021/22 remain unchanged, with the NBA still estimating a $125MM cap and a $151MM tax line for that season.

The updated figures won’t have a massive impact on teams’ plans for next summer, but every dollar counts when it comes to creating cap flexibility. Players who have signed maximum-salary contract extensions that take effect during the 2020/21 season will also take note of the league’s new cap estimates, since it will have a small impact on their projected earnings.

Sixers All-Star Ben Simmons and Nuggets guard Jamal Murray, for instance, signed maximum-salary extensions that will start at 25% of the cap next season, assuming neither player earns an All-NBA spot in 2019/20.

Under the previous $117MM projection, Simmons’ and Murray’s deals were expected to be worth $169.65MM over five years. A $116MM cap would reduce the projected value of those five-year contracts to $168.2MM.

Several other figures, including the rookie scale, mid-level exceptions, minimum salaries, and cash available in trades, are also linked to the percentage the salary cap increases from year to year and would be affected by the adjusted 2020/21 projection.

Team Canada Dealing With Depleted Roster

Much has been made of the withdrawals from Team USA by prominent players as it prepares for the FIBA World Cup in China this summer. Team Canada has experienced similar issues.

Canada Basketball unveiled its training camp roster in a press release and many notable names are missing. Nickeil Alexander-Walker, Dillon Brooks, Brandon Clarke, Luguentz Dort, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Mfiondu Kabengele, Naz Mitrou-Long, Trey Lyles, Dwight Powell, Marial Shayok, Nik Stauskas, and Tristan Thompson were among the invitees who opted not to participate.

Knicks lottery pick RJ Barrett and Nuggets guard Jamal Murray are on the roster but will only participate in training camp. Barrett is dealing with a mild calf strain, while Murray is nursing an ankle injury, Blake Murphy of The Athletic tweets.

Among the NBA players who are on the roster and intend to participate in the tournament are Kings guard Cory Joseph, Heat forward Kelly Olynyk, Magic center Khem Birch and Raptors big man Chris Boucher. Toronto’s Nick Nurse is the head coach of the team, which will play seven exhibition games before its FIBA opener against Australia on September 1.

Northwest Notes: Murray, Wolves, Jazz, Thunder

Jamal Murray‘s new five-year, maximum-salary extension with the Nuggets will start at 25% of the cap if the standout guard doesn’t make an All-NBA team in 2019/20, which would make the deal worth $169.65MM based on the league’s current cap projections.

However, as Bobby Marks of ESPN outlines (via Twitter), the two sides agreed to include Rose Rule language in Murray’s new deal, which would increase the value of the contract in the event that he has a huge ’19/20 season. If Murray earns All-NBA honors in 2020, his starting salary would be worth 26% (Third Team), 27.5% (Second Team), or 30% (First Team) of the cap.

That means Murray’s five-year extension could have a value as high as $203.58MM if he makes the All-NBA First Team or wins the MVP award next season, which is a long shot. A spot on the Second Team would result in a deal worth a total of $186.62MM, while a Third Team nod would bump the total value to $176.44MM.

As we wait to see if Murray can have a breakout year and insert himself into the All-NBA discussion, here’s more from around the Northwest:

  • With Tom Thibodeau no longer in the picture in Minnesota, the Timberwolves project to have a deeper rotation to start the 2019/20 season than they did a year ago. Still, as Kent Youngblood of The Star Tribune writes, with so many young, hungry players on the roster, there should be some interesting position and rotation battles in training camp this fall.
  • Upon being introduced by the Jazz on Friday, veterans Ed Davis and Jeff Green said they chose Utah because they view the team as a team capable of competing for a championship, as Aaron Falk of UtahJazz.com relays.
  • In a pair of stories, Berry Tramel of The Oklahoman and Brett Dawson of The Athletic explore whether Sam Presti‘s references to “repositioning” and “replenishing” – rather than “rebuilding” – the Thunder is merely semantics, or if it provides a clue for how the process in Oklahoma City might play out.

Nuggets Sign Jamal Murray To Five-Year Extension

JULY 24: The extension is official, per a release (via e-mail and Twitter) from the team.

JUNE 30: The Nuggets have agreed to terms with guard Jamal Murray on a five-year, maximum-salary contract extension, agent Mike George tells Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link). The extension will take effect to start the 2020/21 league year.

While the exact value of that extension is not yet known, it would be worth $169.65MM based on the NBA’s current cap projection of $117MM for ’20/21, starting at $29.25MM in year one and increasing all the way up to $38.61MM by year five.

Murray, 22, has emerged as a foundational piece for the Nuggets since being selected with the No. 7 overall pick in the 2016 draft. In 2018/19, he established new career highs in PPG (18.2), APG (4.8), and RPG (4.2) over the course of 75 games (32.6 MPG). He and fellow franchise cornerstone Nikola Jokic helped lead Denver to a No. 2 seed in the Western Conference and came within one game of appearing in the conference finals.

While Denver clearly wanted to lock up a budding young star early, extending Murray now rather than waiting until the 2020 restricted free agent period will limit the team’s financial flexibility next season. Murray would have had a cap hold of approximately $13.3MM as a restricted free agent. Now that he has been extended, his new cap hit (projected to be $29MM+) will hit the books right away, eating into the Nuggets’ potential cap room.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

And-Ones: Paul, Sylla, Tampering, Canada

In an interesting piece regarding Chris Paul‘s role as the head of the NBA Players Union, Tom Ziller of SB Nation opines that Paul’s reported insistence and hand in incorporating the Over-38 Rule into the 2017 CBA has now ironically landed him with one the most untradeable contracts in the NBA.

Paul, who is admittedly now under contract to make more money because of the rule change, is also stuck on the Thunder, a non-contending team, with no real way out until later this year when the latest crop of free agents become trade eligible.

Ultimately, Ziller opines that the tradeoff (non-contending team vs. an extra $45MM) was worth it for Paul, but wonders whether CP3, as union president, sacrificed the good of many (mid-level earners) for the benefit of few.

We have more odds and ends to report from around the basketball world:

  • Amar Sylla, the No. 23 prospect for the 2020 NBA Draft, has signed a three-year contract containing NBA out clauses with Belgian league champions BC Oostende, reports Jonathan Givony of ESPN.
  • Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer writes that many executives believe the penalty for tampering needs to be harsher, including the removal of first-round picks or even as severe as being barred from trading any picks for some amount of years in addition to the loss of picks. “Basketball operations needs to get hit the hardest, not an owner’s wallets,” said another executive.
  • Canada Basketball has announced the 29 players invited to attend the Senior Men’s National Team training camp ahead of the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019. The list includes R.J. Barrett, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Cory Joseph, Jamal Murray, and Tristan Thompson.

Sixers Discussing Extension With Ben Simmons, Nuggets Begin Talks With Jamal Murray

The Sixers have begun contract extension talks with Ben Simmons and his agent Rich Paul, Adrian Wojnarowski of the ESPN.com reports (Twitter link). Sham Charania of The Athletic tweets that the Nuggets have starting discussing an extension with Jamal Murray and his agent, Mike George of One Legacy.

Players from the 2016 draft class who remain on their original rookie deal are eligible to sign extensions this summer. Simmons was the No. 1 overall pick from the draft and Murray was the No. 7 overall selection.

Assuming a projected salary cap of $117MM for the 2020/21 season, the total max value of an extension for either player is approximately $170MM over five seasons.

Each player had arguably had their most successful campaign in 2018/19. Both the Nuggets and Sixers made it to the Game 7 of the second round of the playoffs, each falling in heartbreaking fashion.

Nuggets Considered Anthony Davis Deal

The Nuggets weren’t one of Anthony Davis‘ preferred destinations but that didn’t stop Denver from conducting their due diligence on a potential trade, sources tell Mike Singer of the Denver Post.

The franchise came to the conclusion that Davis wouldn’t seriously consider staying in Denver long-term. Had the Nuggets had more confidence in their ability to retain Davis past the 2019/20 season, they would have been more aggressive in pursuing a trade.

The Pelicans needed Jamal Murray to be in any Davis-to-Denver deal, which was something the Nuggets were not willing to accommodate. Including Michael Porter Jr. in the deal may have also been required. Singer writes that no team could value last year’s No. 14 overall pick as much as the Nuggets since they are the only franchise that has seen him play as a professional. The league is expected to get a full look at Porter in summer league this offseason.

The Lakers could top any offer from the Nuggets or most teams because they knew Davis would want to stay with the franchise long-term. Denver couldn’t risk giving up core players for Davis regardless of how high the ceiling on a Nikola Jokic-Davis one-year run would be.

Northwest Notes: Donovan, Rosas, Murray

Despite the fact that he’s already spent five seasons at the helm of the Thunder and that his All-Star dynamic duo was just dispatched in five games by the Trail Blazers, head coach Billy Donovan is expected to return to his post in 2019/20.

That patience in an era of scapegoating and quick fixes, Brett Dawson of The Athletic writes, could be attributed to general manager Sam Presti‘s tendency to take a long view on things.

Dawson writes about Donovan’s impact in Oklahoma City over the past few seasons, suggesting that he’s earned the faith of the organization and this is one organization in particular that isn’t afraid to see things through.

There’s more from the Northwest Division:

  • Timberwolves CEO Ethan Casson has nothing but high praise for recent franchise hire Gersson Rosas, Chris Hine of the Minnesota Star Tribune writes. Rosas impressed the organization with a detailed vision not only for a generic basketball franchise but for the Timberwolves in particular. Beyond the team’s current roster, Rosas had a deep understanding of the team’s history and marketplace.
  • Nuggets big man Nikola Jokic logged a record-breaking 65 minutes played in Denver’s four-overtime loss to the Trail Blazers Friday night. Nuggets head coach Michael Malone told the media afterward that he apologized for giving his center such a heavy work load. Jokic averaged 31.3 minutes per game for Denver this season.
  • Despite struggles from the field in his first playoff experience, Nuggets guard Jamal Murray is figuring out the difference between regular and playoff basketball, Sean Keeler of The Denver Post writes.

Northwest Notes: Murray, Jazz Workouts, Thunder, Hood

Nuggets point guard Jamal Murray has been fighting through a right thigh injury, Mike Singer of the Denver Post reports.  Murray was limited to 15 points on 6-for-18 shooting, along with just one assist, in Game 2 of the Western Conference semifinal series against Portland. But Murray refused to admit the injury might have affected him, Singer adds.

“I always play through pain,” the Nuggets’ guard said. “It’s something I’ve always done. I always put myself through more and do more than I can. Playing through pain is just another challenge for me. I’m gonna do it regardless of the stakes. Just try to be smart about it, obviously. If it’s something I can play through, it’s what I’m gonna do.”

We have more from the Northwest Division:

  • The Jazz are bringing in six prospects for pre-draft workouts on Saturday, the team’s PR department tweets. Centers Kevin Samuel (TCU) and Nathan Knight (William & Mary), forwards Tres Tinkle (Oregon State) and Jalen Hudson (Florida) and guards Lindell Wigginton (Iowa State) and Chris Clemons (Campbell) are the players they’ll evaluate.
  • The Thunder should make everyone but Russell Westbrook and Paul George available in trade talks, Brett Dawson of The Athletic argues in his offseason outlook. Oklahoma City needs to acquire more shooters to complement their All-Star duo and find a backup center, Dawson continues. Westbrook must also adjust his game in order for the Thunder to end their cycle of first-round playoff exits, Dawson adds.
  • Trail Blazers guard Rodney Hood has hired CAA Sports to represent him, Tony Jones of The Athletic tweets. Hood will be an unrestricted free agent this summer. He was previously represented by Travis King of Independent Sports and Entertainment.