JaVale McGee

Nuggets Notes: Frontcourt, Murray, Daniels, Morris

A pair of trades at the deadline have left the Nuggets with a logjam in the frontcourt and not enough playing time to go around, writes Mike Singer of The Denver Post. The team added Aaron Gordon and JaVale McGee to a talented group that already had Nikola Jokic and Michael Porter Jr. seeing heavy minutes.

“That’s my biggest challenge right now,” coach Michael Malone said. “You have Paul Millsap, who’s been a starter here for four years. You have JaVale McGee, who we traded for at the trade deadline, and you have JaMychal Green, who we pursued heavily in free agency. All those guys bring value to our team, but it is truly impossible to play all three.”

Malone indicated he plans to rest Millsap on the second night of back-to-backs, which applies to five of the 20 games the Nuggets have remaining. Singer believes the odd man out could be Green, who signed with the team in November and has a $7.56MM player option for next season.

“They’ve all been very professional, I have to say that,” Malone said. “It’s not easy. I don’t think any of them love the situation, but what trumps everything is this. We’re trying to win a championship. We need all 15 guys in that locker room. It’s about sacrificing and investing in each other if that is truly our goal. The guys have been tremendous with their professionalism. As long I communicate with them, I think they’ll continue to be that way.”

There’s more from Denver:

  • Jamal Murray has missed the past three games with a sore right knee, but Malone isn’t worried that it will be a long-term issue, Singer tweets. Murray is listed as questionable for Sunday’s game with the Celtics.
  • The Nuggets are looking at a pair of NBA veterans to fill the roster spot they opened this week by waiving Gary Clark. Shooting guard Troy Daniels, who signed with Denver last March, is a name that Singer says he has heard floated repeatedly (Twitter link). Daniels, 29, appeared in six games for the Nuggets last season, with five coming at the restart in Orlando. He also saw limited action in six playoff games. Denver is also considering 35-year-old shooting specialist Gerald Green, Singer adds (via Twitter). Green was in training camp with the Rockets in December, but was waived before the season began. He missed all of last season with a broken foot.
  • After a brief stay in the starting lineup, Monte Morris asked Malone if he could return to a reserve role, tweets Chris Dempsey of Altitude Sports. Morris has started 11 of the 40 games he has played this season, but is more comfortable coming off the bench.

Nuggets Notes: Gordon, McGee, Jokic, Connelly

Aaron Gordon admits the past week was “stressful” because of constant trade rumors, but he’s happy that he wound up with the Nuggets, writes Mike Singer of The Denver Post. The Magic talked to several interested teams about Gordon before finalizing a deal with Denver shortly before Thursday’s trade deadline.

“It’s a huge relief to be a part of a great organization,” Gordon said today in his first session with reporters since being traded. “I’m just happy that I found a new home. It was tough. I was just so ready to pick up my phone from my agent. Any call I would get, regardless of who it was, I was thinking I was being traded.”

The Nuggets are counting on Gordon to bring more athleticism and a stronger defensive presence to their front line. He’s looking forward to catching lob passes from Nikola Jokic and to playing some meaningful games in the postseason. Gordon was injured during the Magic’s brief playoff stay last summer and was only in the playoffs one other time during his seven-plus years in Orlando. He told reporters this week that losing is why he asked the Magic to trade him.

“I think the style of play (in Denver) fits me a lot better. I think I can help a lot of the guys out around here with my play as well,” Gordon said. “I think I’m gonna benefit just from getting a re-start, just refreshing with a new coach and some new players.”

There’s more from Denver:

  • JaVale McGee, the Nuggets’ other trade addition Thursday, believes Denver is now in position to contend for a title, according to Sean Keeler of The Denver Post. “I feel like this team has all the pieces,” said McGee, who already has three championship rings. “I feel like they did a great job of putting their guys together. And with the addition of me and Aaron, I just feel like we have (a) championship pedigree. And me, personally, knowing it takes everything going right to win a championship, like people have got to stay (healthy), and just a lot of things have to go right. But I feel like we have all the pieces for it to go right.”
  • The Nuggets were motivated to make a significant move at the deadline because of Jokic’s MVP-caliber season, Singer adds in a separate story. “We want to make sure we’re doing right by him,” said president of basketball operations Tim Connelly.
  • Acquiring Gordon is the type of move that can flip the race for the championship, contends Zach Kram of The Ringer. He notes that because Gordon is under contract for another season, the Nuggets will have time to work with him before deciding whether to offer another contract. If not, Denver will clear sizable cap room in time for Michael Porter Jr.‘s rookie scale extension.

Cavs, Nuggets Finalize JaVale McGee Trade

MARCH 26: The trade is official, the Cavaliers announced in a press release.


MARCH 25: The Cavaliers are finalizing a trade that will send veteran center JaVale McGee to the Nuggets, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link).

Cleveland will acquire big man Isaiah Hartenstein and a pair of second-round picks in the deal, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link). Mike Singer of The Denver Post first reported that the two teams were discussing Hartenstein.

According to Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com (Twitter link), the picks headed to the Cavs are a top-46 protected 2023 second-rounder and an unprotected 2027 second-rounder.

The move represents a reunion for McGee, who was previously traded to the Nuggets at the 2012 trade deadline and spent the next three years with the franchise. The 33-year-old has played for Philadelphia, Dallas, Golden State, the Lakers, and Cleveland since then, averaging 8.0 PPG and 5.2 RPG in 33 games (15.2 MPG) this season for the Cavs.

In his return to Denver, McGee figures to slide into the backup center role behind Nikola Jokic. Hartenstein was penciled into that role at the start of the season, but had a somewhat underwhelming year, with 3.5 PPG and 2.8 RPG in 30 games (9.1 MPG). JaMychal Green, Zeke Nnaji, and Bol Bol have also seen some occasional minutes at the five, but McGee should be a more reliable veteran option for the Nuggets’ second unit.

As Singer observes (via Twitter), the Cavs were one of the teams with interest in Hartenstein before he signed with Denver last fall, so the 22-year-old should take on a bigger role in Cleveland. However, the second-rounders the Cavs are acquiring in the swap are probably a bigger factor in the team’s willingness to make the deal.

Although Hartenstein’s minimum-salary contract isn’t big enough to match McGee’s $4.2MM expiring deal, the Nuggets will be able to absorb that money using a trade exception created in last November’s Jerami Grant sign-and-trade and will still have about $5.33MM left on that exception, which expires in the offseason. The Cavs will create a $4.2MM traded player exception in the deal, while the Nuggets will generate a new $1.62MM TPE.

McGee will be an unrestricted free agent this summer. Hartenstein has a minimum-salary player option for 2021/22.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Northwest Notes: Nuggets, Thomas, Wolves, Jensen

The Nuggets reshaped their rotation with the additions of forward Aaron Gordon and reserve center JaVale McGeeMike Singer of the Denver Post details Denver’s thinking behind the two acquisitions.

Singer cites the interest of Denver head coach Mike Malone in adding an experienced, rim-protecting playoff veteran in the post as the motivation behind adding McGee. The Nuggets are hopeful that McGee can help add some interior toughness against his old team, the Lakers.

The addition of Gordon makes sense as a solid “tweener” forward replacement for departed small forward Jerami Grant, capable of making an impact on both ends of the floor, Singer contends. The Nuggets did their due diligence in researching Gordon’s off-court fit as well as his on-court fit. Singer also notes that, because the team moved on from Gary Harris as part of the Gordon deal, Will Barton now appears destined to become the club’s starting shooting guard for the rest of the year.

There’s more out of the Northwest Division:

  • The Jazz view new acquisition Matt Thomas as a keeper beyond this season, per Tony Jones of The Athletic (via Twitter). The 6’4″ shooting guard has a non-guaranteed $1.78MM salary for the 2021/22 season, but Utah doesn’t intend to waive him in the offseason. Thomas appeared in 26 games for the Raptors this season, averaging just 7.4 MPG.
  • The front office of the lowly Timberwolves, led by team president Gersson Rosas, opted to stand pat at the trade deadline. Jon Krawczynski and Britt Robson of The Athletic report that the Wolves wanted a power forward upgrade, but struggled to find a deal they liked. Minnesota is the worst team in the West with a 10-34 record. “We could’ve acquired those high-end guys today, but it’s short term,” Rosas said. “From a long-term perspective, we’re very excited about our young guys and what the future holds for them. That’s why we weren’t as active as we potentially could’ve been.”
  • Jazz assistant coach — and Utah Utes alum — Alex Jensen has withdrawn from consideration for the head coaching gig with his alma mater, according to Christopher Kamrani and Tony Jones of The Athletic“He had great conversations with [Utah Athletic Director] Mark Harlan and knows it is a very positive situation but the timing was not right,” a source told Kamrani and Jones.

Trade Rumors: Powell, Drummond, McGee, Knicks

The Rockets are among the teams having discussions with the Raptors about shooting guard Norman Powell, according to Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle. Citing someone with knowledge of the talks, Feigen reports that Houston is examining deals that would involve multiple teams and players.

Powell could provide a boost to the Rockets’ rebuilding project if they can sign him to a long-term deal. He is expected to turn down an $11.6MM player option and test the free agency waters this summer. The 27-year-old is in the middle of his best season, averaging 19.5 points per game and shooting 43.5% from 3-point range.

Powell is among the most popular names on this year’s trade market, with teams expressing interest in him numbering “in the teens,” tweets Marc Stein of The New York Times.

There’s more trade news to pass along:

  • The chances that the Cavaliers will find a taker for Andre Drummond are “50-50,” a source tells Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com. Cleveland is hoping to get at least a draft pick in return and is willing to wait all the way to Thursday’s deadline at 3pm Eastern to get a deal done, Fedor adds. Drummond hasn’t played since February 12, when the team decided to keep him out of action while it searched for a trade.
  • Cavaliers teammate JaVale McGee is drawing interest from several contenders, including at least one in the Eastern Conference, Fedor notes in the same story. Cleveland is seeking just a second-round pick in return for McGee, according to Fedor, and has no plans to buy him out if he’s not traded. At age 33, McGee has been through this experience before. “It’s definitely hard when you’re in the trade talks as a younger player I feel like, but as an older player, as myself, I’ve been in trade talks plenty of years and plenty of times,” he said. “I’ve figured out how to block it out, play my game and focus on what I have to do. If something happens at the trade deadline, it happens. If it doesn’t, it doesn’t. You really never know.”
  • The Knicks have become a “serious potential destination” for Drummond, tweets Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer. Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report points out that because New York has roughly $15MM in cap room, the team would only have to send about $14MM to Cleveland in exchange for Drummond (via Twitter).

Trade Rumors: Powell, Knicks, Nets, Pacers, Gordon

The Pacers may be the team to watch in the competition for Raptors shooting guard Norman Powell, no matter what happens by Thursday’s trade deadline, according to Marc Berman of The New York Post. League sources tell Berman that Indiana is willing to outbid the field for Powell in free agency, even if it means overpaying.

The Knicks also have interest in Powell, Berman adds, but just as with Rockets guard Victor Oladipo, they’re reluctant to part with first-round picks and would want some assurance that he would re-sign before making a move.

New York’s front office believes the team has exceeded expectations this season and is confident that it can at least wind up in a play-in game with the current roster. Berman cites a feeling around the league that the Knicks will wait until the offseason for any major moves.

There’s more on the trade front:

  • The Knicks will have interest in signing Pelicans guard Lonzo Ball this summer, Berman adds in the same story. New Orleans is considering whether to trade Ball now instead of possibly losing him in free agency. If New York reaches a buyout with Austin Rivers, J.J. Redick will be a candidate to take his place on the roster, assuming that he’s bought out as well, but the Knicks would face competition from the Nets and other teams for Redick.
  • A source tells Berman that the Pacers haven’t put Malcolm Brogdon or Myles Turner on the trade market. A report Tuesday said Indiana was listening to offers for Brogdon.
  • The Nets are interested in Cavaliers centers Andre Drummond and JaVale McGee, according to Ian Begley of SNY.tv, but it’s not clear if Brooklyn will wait for a buyout or try to make a trade.
  • The Timberwolves are among the teams still pursuing Magic forward Aaron Gordon, tweets Marc Stein of The New York Times. Stein confirms a report that Minnesota and Orlando had serious discussions about Gordon in January before he injured his ankle.

Trade Rumors: Celtics, Raptors, Herro, McGee, Mavs

Reports earlier this week stated that acquiring Aaron Gordon and Evan Fournier from the Magic could cost the Celtics a package that includes Marcus Smart and two first-round picks. However, a source tells Mark Murphy of The Boston Herald (Twitter link) that Boston is currently offering a first-round pick and a young player (not Smart) for Gordon, and are trying not to include a second first-rounder in a potential deal.

Murphy’s report doesn’t mention Fournier, which makes sense — if the Celtics want both Gordon and Fournier, a higher-priced player like Smart would need to be included for salary-matching purposes, since only one of those players would fit into Boston’s $28.5MM traded player exception. But if the C’s are just targeting Gordon, salary-matching wouldn’t be necessary.

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

  • The Raptors are continuing to push for Tyler Herro‘s inclusion in any trade with the Heat involving Kyle Lowry, reports Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald (Twitter link). Meanwhile, Jason Dumas of KRON4 News says (via Twitter) that the Sixers view acquiring Lowry as a long shot.
  • Several contending teams are in the mix for Cavaliers center JaVale McGee, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic, who says there’s a “strong sense” that a deal will be made by Thursday’s deadline.
  • Appearing today on 105.3 The Fan in Dallas, Mavericks president Donnie Nelson suggested that a big deadline splash is unlikely for his team, as Callie Caplan of The Dallas Morning News tweets. Don’t get your hopes up,” Nelson said. “We like this young crew.” Head coach Rick Carlisle has also expressed skepticism that the Mavs will make any significant moves, writes Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News.

Scotto’s Latest: Mavs, Holmes, Clippers, Rockets, Drummond, More

The Mavericks are among the teams to express interest in trading for Kings center Richaun Holmes, reports Michael Scotto of HoopsHype. Charlotte and Toronto have previously been identified as other clubs eyeing Holmes, who will be an unrestricted free agent this offseason.

While Holmes seems to be drawing plenty of interest from potential suitors, multiple reports have indicated it would take a substantial offer to pry him away from the Kings. The big man has also spoken glowingly about his current team and about the city of Sacramento, suggesting he’ll be open to remaining with the Kings beyond this season. As such, general manager Monte McNair won’t necessarily feel pressure to get something back for Holmes now, ahead of his free agency.

Here’s more from Scotto:

  • The Clippers have shown interest in Pacers guard Aaron Holiday, according to Scotto. Holiday could be an option if L.A. can’t acquire a veteran like Ricky Rubio or George Hill, though Indiana’s asking price is high — the team is said to be seeking a first-round pick for Holiday.
  • Scotto writes that the Rockets are among the teams to express exploratory interest in Cavaliers center Andre Drummond. That seems like an odd fit for this season’s Houston squad, but could signal that the team will be among Drummond’s suitors in free agency this offseason.
  • The Cavaliers are hoping to acquire a second-round pick in a trade involving center JaVale McGee, league sources tell Scotto.
  • Vincent Goodwill of Yahoo Sports previously mentioned Avery Bradley as a possible Nets target if Spencer Dinwiddie is sent to the Heat. Scotto reiterates that point, noting that Brooklyn had offseason interest in Bradley, who is close with Kevin Durant and Nets assistant Royal Ivey.

Goodwill’s Latest: Brogdon, Blazers, McGee, Heat, Oubre, More

Multiple teams have indicated that the Pacers are open to listening to pitches on Malcolm Brogdon, according to Vincent Goodwill of Yahoo Sports. Brogdon is only in the second season of a four-year, $85MM contract, but Goodwill suggests that Indiana is comfortable with the idea of Caris LeVert manning the point if the team gets a deal it likes for Brogdon.

In addition to Brogdon, another Pacers point guard – Aaron Holiday – is thought to be available. A report last week indicated Indiana was seeking a first-round pick for Holiday, which Goodwill confirms. According to Goodwill, Holiday seems to have “fallen out of favor” somewhat in Indiana.

Here’s more from Goodwill:

  • The Trail Blazers are among the teams with interest in Cavaliers center JaVale McGee, per Goodwill. McGee could be had via trade — it remains to be seen whether he and Cleveland would work out a buyout if he stays put at the deadline.
  • The Nets are dangling Spencer Dinwiddie and a second-round pick as they look to bolster their bench, sources tell Yahoo Sports. Brooklyn has discussed players like Avery Bradley, Kendrick Nunn, and Maurice Harkless with the Heat, Goodwill says.
  • Kelly Oubre‘s camp believes the Warriors forward is capable of getting a “top-10 deal” in free agency this offseason, per Goodwill. Presumably, that means one of the top 10 most valuable free agent contracts signed this summer.
  • Goodwill suggests that former Cavaliers executive Brock Aller – who is now the Knicks‘ VP of strategy – is worth keeping an eye on in the event that Cleveland moves on from current general manager Koby Altman at some point. Aller has a long-standing relationship with Cavs owner Dan Gilbert, Goodwill notes.

Cavaliers Rumors: McGee, Prince, Drummond

A report on Monday suggested that a buyout is becoming more likely than a trade for Cavaliers center JaVale McGee, but Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com disputes that notion.

While McGee could be on the move in a trade, it also wouldn’t be a surprise if he remains in Cleveland beyond Thursday’s deadline, according to Fedor. And in that scenario, the Cavaliers wouldn’t be interested in a buyout, multiple sources tell Fedor, who says the team’s plan is to either trade or keep McGee.

If potential suitors believe McGee could get bought out, it would significantly impact the Cavs’ leverage in trade talks, so it’s fair to be skeptical of this report. On the other hand though, Cleveland hasn’t given up on pushing for a postseason play-in spot and McGee is the team’s primary backup center, so the team won’t be eager to hand him to a contender just to save a small amount of money.

We also saw last year with Tristan Thompson that the Cavs are willing to play out the string with a veteran buyout candidate, even if he ends up eventually walking in unrestricted free agency.

Here’s more on the Cavs:

  • Taurean Prince, who has appeared in just two games since February 15, is dealing with what’s been diagnosed as a left shoulder sprain. He’s attempting to rehab the injury, but may ultimately require surgery, sources tell Joe Vardon of The Athletic. That will complicate any efforts the Cavs make to trade him before this week’s deadline.
  • Besides Andre Drummond‘s pricey salary, there may be some “reputational concerns” hindering the Cavs’ ability to trade him, according to Vardon. Before the Cavs benched Drummond for good, they asked him multiple times to accept a role reduction and/or to come off the bench, and he refused, Vardon continues. Teams will still be interested in the veteran center if he reaches the buyout market, so it’s not as if his attitude is a deal-breaker, per Vardon, but it’s another obstacle in Cleveland’s attempts to make a trade.
  • Be sure to check out our Cavs team page for all the latest updates on the club, including Quinn Cook signing a second 10-day contract and the Warriors reportedly inquiring on Cedi Osman.