Jameer Nelson

Nuggets Notes: Murray, Nelson, Irving

The Nuggets were in discussions with the Suns about an Eric Bledsoe trade, but it appears their decision not to offer too much for a new starting point guard is paying dividends. Jamal Murray, who has been Denver’s starting point guard since the beginning of the season, is playing well and the team is encouraged by his development.

“I love the pace he’s playing with,” said coach Michael Malone after a recent game (via Christopher Dempsey of NBA.com). “He’s got to set the pace that we want to play at, he’s got to be aggressive and he’s got to play with confidence. And you’re seeing that a lot more consistently right now. He’s starting to become a consistent starting point guard in the NBA.”

The 2016 No. 7 overall pick spent much of his playing time at shooting guard during his rookie season, but this year, he’s seeing all of his minutes at the one.

Here’s more on the Nuggets:

  • Denver had a deal in place to trade Jameer Nelson to a lottery team for a protected second-rounder prior to the season, though the team could “not stomach” sending the 35-year-old to a bad team, sources tell Zach Lowe of ESPN. The Nuggets ended up waiving Nelson, a move that allowed the vet to pick his own suitor.
  • Malone would have liked to keep Nelson on the team, though he is supportive of the organization’s decision to let the veteran go, Lowe relays in the same piece. “It was tough to see Jameer go,” Malone says. “The players trusted him. I find value in veteran mentors. In our meetings, of course I brought up all the reasons it made sense to keep him. But you have to think big picture. It wasn’t like I was kicking and screaming. By the end, we were all on board.”
  • The Nuggets had exploratory discussions with the Cavs about Kyrie Irving prior to them dealing away the point guard, though talks never got that far, per Lowe (same piece). The scribe notes that Murray, Wilson Chandler, and a lightly-protected first-rounder would have intrigued Cleveland, but Murray was never on the table.

Nuggets Were Close To Eric Bledsoe Trade

Denver was in the “red zone” on a potential trade for Eric Bledsoe last month, according to Zach Lowe of ESPN. Complete details aren’t provided, but Lowe believes Phoenix would have received Emmanuel Mudiay and a first-round pick.

Negotiations with the Suns eventually fell apart and the Nuggets moved on, leaving them with an extremely young point guard duo in Mudiay and Jamal Murray.

“We chase every opportunity to improve ourselves,” said Denver GM Tim Connelly, who refused to comment directly on the Bledsoe talks. “We’ve had a lot of excellent players offered to us for our young talent. There’s a fine line between overvaluing your own players and being too aggressive chasing short-term results.”

The decision not to give up too much for Bledsoe is understandable, writes Lowe, who says he wouldn’t have made made the Nuggets title contenders this season or next. After that, he will be seeking a huge contract as a free agent in his 30s with a history of knee problems.

Lowe also notes that Denver had an opportunity to make a run at Kyrie Irving over the summer, but refused to include Murray in a potential deal. He believes a package of Murray, Wilson Chandler and a minimally protected first-rounder would have gotten the Cavaliers’ attention.

The experience issue at point guard was created just before the season started when the Nuggets elected to waive Jameer Nelson, who played 75 games last season and started 39. Denver worked out a deal to trade him to a lower-level team in exchange for a protected second-round pick, but pulled out because the front office didn’t want Nelson to be stuck on a team with no shot at the playoffs. He eventually signed with the Pelicans after clearing waivers.

“It was tough to see Jameer go,” coach Mike Malone said. “The players trusted him. I find value in veteran mentors. In our meetings, of course I brought up all the reasons it made sense to keep him. But you have to think big picture. It wasn’t like I was kicking and screaming. By the end, we were all on board.”

Southwest Notes: Parsons, Matthews, Nelson, Rockets, Spurs

Chandler Parsons stint with the Grizzlies has not gone according to plan. The former Rockets and Mavericks standout has been hampered by knee injuries, including three knee surgeries the last three years. Now, after playing just 15 minutes in Memphis’ first few regular season games this year, Parsons is frustrated with his limited playing time, Ronald Tillery of the Commercial Appeal writes. 

“It sucks right now playing 15 minutes a night to be honest with you,” Parsons said. “But they have a plan in place that, hopefully, I’ll be playing big minutes when it matters.”

Parsons appeared in just 34 games last season, averaging 6.2 PPG and 2.5 RPG in a career-low 19.9 minutes per game. After signing a four-year, $94MM deal with the Grizzlies in July 2016, Parsons has not come close to his past performance. If he continues to show he’s over his prior knee injuries, the Grizzlies will look salvage the remainder of their pact with the 28-year-old.

Check out more news coming out of the Southwest Division:

  • Wesley Matthews‘ early season struggles may seem to be the perfect chance to bench him but if the Mavericks ever intend on trading him, they must do it while his value is high, Eddie Sefko of Dallas Sports Day writes.
  • Veteran Jameer Nelson endured a 10-hour journey from Philadelphia to Los Angeles to join his Pelicans teammates for a Sunday evening contest against the Lakers. As William Guillory of NOLA.com writes, Nelson, 35, posted five points and five assists in 24 minutes — including a clutch three-pointer — to help New Orleans avoid a loss in a game they once led by 22 points.
  • New Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta said that James Harden is “truly the best player in the NBA” as Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle writes.
  • Olivier Hanlan, a former second-round pick by the Jazz from 2015, has joined the Spurs’ G League affiliate, the Austin Spurs, according to Chris Reichert of 2Ways10Days (Twitter link). San Antonio currently holds Hanlan’s NBA rights, having acquired him in last year’s Boris Diaw swap.

Northwest Notes: Blazers, Westbrook, Hood, Nelson

In a conversation with The New York Times’ Marc Stein, Carmelo Anthony explained that his decision not to waive his no-trade clause for the Trail Blazers was rooted in logistics, not basketball, reports John Canzano of The The Oregonian/OregonLive.

“We had a fair bit of discussion about Portland…,” Stein said of his talk with Anthony. “… He did say that it meant a lot to him how badly those guys wanted him. I think it really was the distance (that caused him to not be interested). I don’t think it was about Portland, the place… I don’t think it was about Portland, I think it was about family… presumably his wife and son are going to stay in New York for the bulk of the year. He was in constant contact with (Damian) Lillard and (C.J.) McCollum.”

Here’s more news from the Northwest:

  • The Thunder’s Russell Westbrook scored only six points on 2-of-11 shooting to go along with seven turnovers in Saturday night’s 96-87 loss to the Utah Jazz.  As reported by ESPN’s Royce Young, Westbrook appears to still be adjusting and adapting to the acquisitions of Paul George and Carmelo Anthony; however, Westbrook insists that this season is no different than any other. “It’s the same thing [as last season],” Westbrook said. “Basketball’s been the same for years. It’s still the same game. Obviously different players, but the game still tells you what to do. If you need to score, you score, if not, you don’t. It’s very simple.”
  • Despite not playing Saturday night against Oklahoma City as the result of a calf injury, Rodney Hood of the Jazz is primed to make his return to the court sooner than originally feared, as reported by Jody Genessy of The Deseret News.  Despite the initial concern after Hood had to be helped off the court by teammates, Jazz coach Quin Snyder was apparently never too worried. “I’ve kind of conditioned myself to not jump to conclusions about those things one way or the other,” Snyder said when asked about being relieved the injury wasn’t worse. “Sometimes when they don’t look as bad, you kind of feel like, ‘Oh, it’s not that bad,’ and then it ends up to be worse.”
  • Jameer Nelson tweeted out a thank you to the City of Denver and the Nuggets early Friday morning after being released by the team on Wednesday. The Nuggets would have been on the hook for the entirety of Nelson’s $4.74MM salary if he had remained on the free agent market. However, as noted by Bobby Marks of ESPN, Denver will have the right to set-off approximately $470K at season’s end as a result of Nelson signing a pro-rated minimum salary contract with the Pelicans on Saturday.

Pelicans Sign Jameer Nelson To One-Year Deal

Oct. 22: The Pels have officially signed Nelson, the team announced in a press release.

Oct. 21: The Pelicans have reached an agreement on a one-year deal with free agent point guard Jameer Nelson, reports Shams Charania of The Vertical. Nelson was on the open market for less than 24 hours, having cleared waivers on Friday evening after being cut this week by the Nuggets.Jameer Nelson vertical

Nelson, 35, has 13 years of NBA experience under his belt, with stints in Orlando, Dallas, Boston, and Denver. Most recently, he appeared in 148 games over the last two and a half seasons for the Nuggets, providing some stability at the point guard position as the club looked to incorporate youngsters Emmanuel Mudiay and Jamal Murray.

After struggling in 2015/16, Nelson bounced back last season, averaging 9.2 PPG and 5.1 APG in 75 games (39 starts) for the Nuggets. However, with Denver intent on adding Richard Jefferson this week, Nelson was the odd man out when the club needed to open up a roster spot.

Upon clearing waivers, Nelson reportedly drew interest from the Rockets, Nets, and Hornets in addition to the Pelicans. All four of those clubs are dealing with injuries at the point guard spot. In New Orleans’ case, it’s Rajon Rondo on the shelf, recovering from sports hernia surgery.

Rondo is expected to return to the court next month, but Nelson may remain in the Pelicans’ rotation at that point. Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reported earlier today that the veteran point guard was seeking an opportunity where he’d have a chance to play a significant role, so presumably New Orleans doesn’t just view him as an interim solution.

The Pelicans don’t currently have an open spot on their roster, so they’ll need to trade or waive a player if they intend to finalize Nelson’s deal right away. If New Orleans waits until after its third game, the team would become eligible for a hardship exception and would be granted a 16th roster spot to sign Nelson without cutting anyone.

Hardship exceptions are awarded to clubs carrying at least four players who have missed three or more consecutive games due to injury or illness. Rondo, Alexis Ajinca, Frank Jackson, Omer Asik, and Solomon Hill will all fit that bill for the Pelicans.

Meanwhile, it’s also worth keeping an eye on the tax line and the hard cap for the Pelicans. Adding Nelson on a fully guaranteed deal without waiving anyone would take New Orleans into the tax and move the team dangerously close to its hard cap.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Jameer Nelson Clears Waivers, Drawing Interest

OCTOBER 21, 1:56pm: In addition to Houston, the Nets, Hornets, and Pelicans are all interested in Nelson, league sources tell Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link). Nelson is looking for an opportunity that will allow him to play a significant role this season, Woj adds (via Twitter).

All four teams linked to Nelson are dealing with injuries at the point guard position, with Jeremy Lin, Michael Carter-Williams, and Rajon Rondo currently sidelined for Brooklyn, Charlotte, and New Orleans, respectively.

OCTOBER 20, 5:19pm: Veteran point guard Jameer Nelson has cleared waivers after being released by the Nuggets and the 35-year-old has already been contacted by a number of NBA teams, Chris Haynes of ESPN tweets.

One possible landing spot for the 13-year vet is Houston. Given that the Rockets may be particularly cautious with Chris Paul‘s knee injury and potentially seek a temporary replacement, Nelson could possibly slot in until Paul fully recovers.

Haynes mentioned Houston specifically as one of the teams with whom Nelson’s representation has been in touch. The Rockets currently roster just 14 players, so they’d be able to add Nelson without any other moves.

What’s more, as Bobby Marks of ESPN writes, Houston is $2.8MM below the luxury tax, giving them just enough space to sign Nelson to a $2.3MM veteran’s minimum deal without consequence. That sort of deal would only count for a prorated portion of $1.471MM against the Rockets’ cap.

Nuggets Sign Richard Jefferson To One-Year Deal

OCTOBER 19: Jefferson’s deal with the Nuggets is now official, per RealGM’s log of NBA transactions. Denver waived Nelson on Wednesday to open up a roster spot for the veteran forward.

OCTOBER 16: Veteran forward Richard Jefferson has agreed to a one-year, $2.3MM contract with the Nuggets, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reports.

Jefferson cleared waivers on Monday. He was traded by the Cavaliers to the Hawks on Saturday in a cost-cutting and roster-trimming move by Cleveland. Atlanta immediately waived him.

Denver will likely waive veteran point guard Jameer Nelson to make room for Jefferson, according to Wojnarowski.

Jefferson fortifies the small forward spot behind Wilson Chandler. His primary backup, Will Barton, suffered an ankle injury in practice on Monday.

It’s somewhat surprising that Denver would let Nelson go, as he was considered a potential starter during camp. The Nuggets have apparently decided to go with the much younger duo of Emmanuel Mudiay and Jamal Murray at point guard.

The Bucks were considered contenders for Jefferson’s services but wound up claiming another ex-Cavalier, DeAndre Liggins, on Monday. Jefferson, 37, averaged 5.7 PPG and 2.6 RPG in 79 regular-season contests last year.

Contractually, Jefferson will collect two paybacks. He’ll also receive $2MM from the Hawks, who will get a $500K set-off at the end of the season, Bobby Marks of ESPN tweets.

Heat Notes: Nelson, Hammons, Olynyk, Winslow

Jameer Nelson may seem like an attractive option for a Heat team without a true backup point guard, but that doesn’t mean Miami will try to sign him, writes Ira Winderman of The Sun-Sentinel in a mailbag column. The Nuggets waived Nelson today to open a roster space for Richard Jefferson. If no one claims the 35-year-old and his more than $4.7MM salary before Friday, he will become a free agent and can sign with any organization.

The Heat’s option best option to back up Goran Dragic, according to Winderman, is probably Josh Richardson, who is being used as the starting small forward. Justise Winslow, James Johnson, Dion Waiters and Tyler Johnson can all handle the ball, but none is a traditional point guard.

Winderman states that team president Pat Riley didn’t seem concerned about finding another backup when he was asked about the situation in preseason. “If we didn’t feel comfortable with Tyler and with Josh and also with Dion, then we would have gotten probably, exactly what you’re talking about — a veteran, 10, 12 years in the league, can really play, smart, can run an offense, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera,” Riley said. “But we don’t feel like we need that. And if we did, then it would have been easy for us to acquire that kind of player.”

There’s more news out of Miami:

  • A.J. Hammons‘ easier path to being traded may have helped him earn Miami’s final roster spot, Winderman adds in the same piece. DeAndre Liggins, who was waived Saturday, would have provided wing depth and probably would have played more than Hammons, whom Winderman ranks eighth among the team’s bigs. However, because Liggins signed with the Heat during the offseason, league rules wouldn’t have allowed him to be traded until December 15. Hammons, who was acquired in a July trade with Dallas, can be dealt at any time.
  • Miami plans to let free agent addition Kelly Olynyk show off his passing skills, according to Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald. The Heat signed Olynynk with an eye toward allowing him to expand his game, just as they did with James Johnson. “They’re going to put the ball in my hands more and let me be myself and create plays and facilitate for others,” Olynyk said.
  • Rodney McGruder‘s injury means the Heat can’t afford to bring Winslow back slowly, writes Manny Navarro of The Miami Herald. Winslow had surgery in January to repair a torn labrum in his shoulder and was limited to 18 games last season. “Obviously we don’t like to see teammates go down – that’s unfortunate – but our mentality is always next man up,” Winslow said. “So, most likely, that’s looking like me. My role is going to be increased earlier in the season. I’ve just got to be ready.”

Nuggets Waive Jameer Nelson

The Nuggets have waived veteran point guard Jameer Nelson, as expected, reports Shams Charania of The Vertical (Twitter link). Nelson will clear waivers on Friday, assuming he goes unclaimed. Meanwhile, Denver is expected to use the newly-opened roster spot to officially sign Richard Jefferson.

A 13-year NBA veteran, Nelson has spent the last two and a half seasons in Denver, starting 59 of his 148 games for the team during that stretch. After struggling through the 2015/16 campaign, the 35-year-old bounced back last season, averaging 9.2 PPG and 5.1 APG with a .444/.388/.714 shooting line in 75 contests.

The Nuggets drafted Emmanuel Mudiay with the seventh overall pick in the 2015 draft and leaned on him as their starting point guard for most of the last two seasons, but Nelson stepped into the starting lineup last season when Mudiay underwhelmed.

With Nelson no longer around to provide veteran stability, Denver will have to lean heavily on Mudiay and 2016 first-rounder Jamal Murray at the point guard spot. Monte Morris, who is on a two-way contract, should also provide some organizational depth at the position, while players like Will Barton and Gary Harris may get an opportunity to handle the ball a little more too.

Nelson had a fully guaranteed $4,736,050 salary for 2017/18, so the Nuggets will have to eat that amount if the veteran clears waivers, which is likely. His salary can’t be stretched.

Northwest Notes: George, Nurkic, Nuggets, Wolves

Paul George loves the excitement in Oklahoma City, especially with the reigning Most Valuable Player, Russell Westbrook, and 10-time All-Star Carmelo Anthony on the same team. Chris Mannix of The Vertical writes that George is optimistic and has found a comfort zone with the Thunder. Yet, the ex-Pacer simultaneously wants head coach Billy Donovan to put him in uncomfortable situations as a challenge.

A Los Angeles native, George has been rumored to join his hometown Lakers for a while. There were rumblings all offseason that George’s goal is to end up home in California — whether it was this season or when he hits free agency next summer. However, George tells Mannix that L.A. isn’t on his mind as he focuses on succeeding with the Thunder.

“I’m committed here, we’re all committed,” George said. “We want this to happen and we want this to work really well. Once we get on the court, it’s been like magic. We understand one another, we have a feel for one another, we know each other’s games so well. We want to make the most out of it, to be in the best position to succeed.”

George and the Thunder may be in a position where they have a one-year window before he departs for his home team. But he has made it clear he wants to win before he makes any long-term decisions.

Below you can check out other news around the Northwest Division:

  • Trail Blazers center Jusuf Nurkic will miss the team’s Wednesday game against Phoenix due to a concussion, and may end up sitting out the rest of the preseason, writes Mike Richman of The Oregonian. Nurkic is eligible for an extension up until October 16, so by the time he takes the floor next for Portland, he may have a new deal in hand or be preparing to play out a contract year.
  • ESPN’s Micah Adams writes that the Nuggets‘ blueprint to build a championship contending team is eerily similar to how the Warriors went from Western Conference contender to budding dynasty.
  • Veteran Jameer Nelson is back in the competition for the Nuggets‘ starting point guard job after battling a toe injury, Gina Mizell of The Denver Post writes.
  • Timberwolves‘ head coach Tom Thibodeau has a roster with several players he coached in Chicago with the Bulls, which has made for a comfortable environment, Jerry Zgoda of The Star Tribune writes.
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