Jeff Green

Northwest Notes: Nuggets, Lillard, Edwards, Holmgren

Veterans Jeff Green, DeAndre Jordan, Ish Smith and Bruce Brown are providing the Nuggets with energy and a level of comfort during training camp, writes Mike Singer of The Denver Post (subscription required). Back-to-back MVP Nikola Jokic is laid back, which allows the more boisterous personalities of Green and Jordan to stand out, Singer notes.

Brown said he feels more at home in Denver than he did during last season’s drama-filled campaign with a big market club in Brooklyn.

I’m more laid back, chill,” Brown said. “I like to be in the house with my dog and my people. Obviously, New York gets a lot of attention, a lot of media attention. That wasn’t for me, but I love my time with those guys.”

According to Harrison Wind of DNVR Sports (Twitter links), Brown has been playing point guard with the second unit, while Zeke Nnaji has been the backup center. That’s a bit of a change for both players — Brown is a swiss army knife type who has played multiple positions, but mostly on the wing, while Nnaji primarily played power forward in the past. Nnaji has performed well in camp thus far, Wind adds.

Here’s more from around the Northwest:

  • Damian Lillard is just 531 points shy of surpassing Hall of Famer Clyde Drexler to become the Trail Blazers‘ all-time leading scorer. Lillard says it’s an accomplishment he doesn’t take lightly. “This feat would mean a lot to me,” Lillard told Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports. “Just the respect I have for the organization and for Clyde and how great of a player he was. I think it shows just how productive I’ve been throughout my career. It would truly be an honor.”
  • Timberwolves wing Anthony Edwards is hoping to make big strides on the defensive end in 2022/23, saying that because he’ll be guarding top players more often, he’ll be “salty” to not make an All-Defensive team, as Wolves reporter Dane Moore relays (via Twitter). The former No. 1 overall pick will play a huge part in Minnesota’s standing in the West this season.
  • This year’s No. 2 overall pick, Chet Holmgren, will miss the entire season for the Thunder with a foot injury, but he’s still learning about the NBA while recovering, according to Cliff Brunt of The Associated Press. “What I’m trying to do right now is just kind of soak up all the knowledge of how things are done around here, how they’re going to be done going forward,” Holmgren said. “So when I’m ready to get get back in there, I can just kind of seamlessly plug myself in.”

Northwest Notes: Green, Jazz, Wallace

Nuggets forward Jeff Green put together a voluntary minicamp for himself and some of his Denver teammates this week in Miami, per Harrison Wind of DNVR Sports (Twitter link). Davon Reed, Zeke Nnaji, Christian Braun, Peyton Watson and Jack White joined Green for the workouts. Wind adds that additional players hoped to join them but were unable to carve out the time in their schedules.

The Nuggets are preparing for an exciting 2022/23 NBA season, with reigning two-time MVP Nikola Jokic set to be rejoined by point guard Jamal Murray, who missed all of 2021/22 due to a left ACL tear, and small forward Michael Porter Jr., who appeared in just nine games before back surgery waylaid him for the rest of the year. The team’s starting lineup will be rounded out by power forward Aaron Gordon and newly-acquired 3-and-D specialist Kentavious Caldwell-Pope.

Nuggets role players like Green, Reed, and Nanji, plus the three rookies joining them in Miami this week, could prove to be important contributors during what Denver hopes will be an extended postseason run.

There’s more out of the Northwest Division:

  • After the Jazz appeared to signal the beginning of a rebuild with their trade of All-Star center Rudy Gobert for a package comprising young players, movable veterans and draft compensation, they seem set for a lackluster 2022/23 season. Brandon Judd of the Deseret News notes that Kendra Andrews, Andrew Lopez and Kevin Pelton of ESPN (Insider link) projects the club to finish with a 26-56 record next season.
  • Former Nuggets scouting coordinator Jon Wallace is departing his post in Denver to join the Timberwolves as both Minnesota’s director of player personnel and the general manager of the club’s NBAGL affiliate, the Iowa Wolves, reports Mike Singer of the Denver Post (Twitter link). Wallace tweets that Wallace was especially valued with the Nuggets for his impact on their guards. Wallace is joining a revamped Minnesota front office led by Tim Connelly, himself the former Denver team president.
  • In case you missed it, Timberwolves majority owner Glen Taylor recently sat for a long-ranging discussion about the new-look team’s personnel and expectations.

Nuggets’ Jeff Green Exercises 2022/23 Player Option

JUNE 19: Green has officially picked up his player option for 2022/23, tweets Tim Bontemps of ESPN.


JUNE 17: Nuggets forward Jeff Green is expected to exercise his $4.5MM player option for next season, a league source tells Mike Singer of The Denver Post.

The deadline for Green to pick up the option is June 20, Singer notes.

In 75 regular season games with Denver, including 63 starts (24.7 MPG), Green averaged 10.3 PPG and 3.1 RPG on .524/.315/.833 shooting. He struggled in the team’s first-round loss to Golden State, averaging 3.8 PPG and 3.6 RPG on .353/.375/.800 shooting in five games (22.6 MPG), with his shot attempts cut in half.

However, he has had postseason success in the past, including previous stops with Boston, Houston and Cleveland, reaching the NBA Finals with the Cavs in 2017/18.

Green, who turns 36 in August, is a well-traveled veteran (Denver is his 11th team) and clearly enjoyed his first season with the Nuggets, since he’s picking up his option. He’s still quite athletic despite his advancing age, and is a heady cutter who excels in the open court.

After Green exercises the option, he and fellow forwards Aaron Gordon and Zeke Nnaji will all be under contract for 2022/23. Michael Porter Jr. (back surgery) is expected to return to action as well, and he’s signed to a long-term, maximum-salary deal.

As Singer writes, with a pretty set forward rotation, the Nuggets are expected to focus on improving the team’s perimeter depth in the 2022 draft. Denver controls the Nos. 21 and 30 picks after agreeing to trade JaMychal Green to the Thunder. Singer says “it’s likely” that GM Calvin Booth knew of Jeff Green’s intention to exercise the option prior to the trade.

Nuggets are reportedly interested in packaging their picks in order to move up to the middle of the first round.

In case you missed it, Green was ranked No. 45 on our list of top 50 free agents for 2022, and if you enter our free agent prediction contest, you’ll get a freebie as long as you pick the Nuggets as Green’s destination.

Nuggets Notes: Hyland, Murray, Rivers, Green

It’s common for NBA veterans to take rookies under their wing, but Nuggets guard Bones Hyland has a mentor who isn’t even on his team, writes Mike Singer of The Denver Post. A few months ago, team president Tim Connelly and assistant coach Charles Klask asked Isaiah Thomas to reach out to Hyland, and Thomas has played a role in the first-year guard’s development.

Thomas, who is currently with the Hornets, spent some time with the Nuggets during the 2018/19 season. He invited Hyland to contact him any time he had questions, and now they’re in contact at least once a week.

“He’s a great kid, he takes information in really well, he asks questions all the time,” Thomas said of Hyland, who has become Denver’s third-leading scorer. “That’s the biggest thing probably with the younger guys, them (being) scared to ask questions. He’s a guy, he’ll text me in the middle of the night about some stuff that happened in the game and what he should do. I’m in his corner. I’m a big fan of his game. I’m a big fan of the person he is.”

There’s more on the Nuggets:

  • The team’s repeated teases about Jamal Murray‘s status is frustrating for fans, contends Sean Keeler of The Denver Post. There have been several reports about Murray’s chances to return from ACL surgery, but very little solid information on whether to expect him in the playoffs or even in the final week of the regular season. Nikola Jokic advised his teammate not to risk a comeback unless he’s certain that he’s fully healed. “I told Jamal, if you’re not 100% ready, don’t come back. It’s stupid,”  Jokic said. “You risk (getting re-injured) if you’re not 100% ready to go. Especially in the playoffs.”
  • Coach Michael Malone said Connelly talked to the NBA about Austin Rivers‘ ejection this week, but there’s no reason to expect the technical foul or accompanying fine to be rescinded, Singer tweets. Rivers was thrown out of Wednesday’s game against the Pacers for elbowing Lance Stephenson, but replays showed that very little contact was made. Rivers tweeted his disbelief following the game, writing, Never in my life have I been thrown out of Game for something so ridiculous. Seriously…never. League gotta look at this one.”
  • Jeff Green, who left Friday’s game for personal reasons, isn’t on the team’s injury report for today, according to Singer (Twitter link).

And-Ones: Jerebko, Canaan, China, Teammate Award, Future Rankings

While some former NBA players have left Russian teams following the invasion into Ukraine, Jonas Jerebko is resuming his career there. The ex-NBA big man signed with CSKA Moscow, the team tweets. That didn’t sit well with the Swedish National Team, who suspended him, according to Johnny Askounis of EuroHoops.net“Unfortunately, we are forced to state that there are no conditions for Jonas Jerebko to play for the Sweden basketball national team,” a Swedish Basketball Federation press release stated in part. Jerebko played for four NBA teams.

We have more from around the basketball world:

  • Another Russian team, Unics Kazan, has mutually parted ways with guard Isaiah Canaan, according to a EuroHoops.net story. Canaan is joining Turkey’s Galatasaray, EuroHoops tweets. Canaan appeared in 235 NBA games, most recently during the 2018/19 campaign.
  • Chinese TV has resumed broadcasts of NBA games, Sopan Deb of the New York Times reports. China had boycotted NBA broadcasts since 2019, when former Houston executive Daryl Morey tweeted support for pro-democracy protestors in Hong Kong. China Central Television, its state-run TV network, broadcasted Tuesday night’s matchup between the Clippers and Jazz, which kicked off a full return of the league to China’s airwaves.
  • The 12 finalists for the league’s Teammate of the Year award have been announced, the NBA announced (via Twitter). DeMar DeRozan, Rudy Gay, Jeff Green , Udonis Haslem, Jrue Holiday, Andre Iguodala, Jaren Jackson Jr., Kevin Love, Boban Marjanovic, Chris Paul, Fred VanVleet and Grant Williams are the contenders. The annual honor recognizes the player deemed the best teammate based on selfless play, on- and off-court leadership as a mentor and role model to other NBA players, and commitment and dedication to team.
  • The Grizzlies top the list on ESPN’s Future Power Rankings, according to Kevin Pelton, Bobby Marks, Andre’ Snellings, and Tim Bontemps (Insider link). They’re followed by the Heat and Suns. The Kings sit at the bottom of the pile.

Free Agent Stock Watch: Northwest Division

For the rest of the regular season and postseason, Hoops Rumors is taking a closer look at players who will be free agents or could become free agents this offseason. We consider whether their stock is rising or falling due to their performance and other factors. Today, we’re focusing on a handful of Northwest players.


Jusuf Nurkic, C, Trail Blazers

2021/22: $12MM
2022/23: UFA
Stock: Up ⬆️

A lengthy injury absence preceding a player’s free agency typically doesn’t help that player’s stock, but Nurkic’s value is on the rise despite the case of plantar fasciitis that will sideline him for at least four weeks and could end his season.

Prior to his injury, the veteran center was playing his best basketball of the season during a four-game winning streak (21.5 PPG, 14.0 RPG, and 4.3 APG). As a result, it’s safe to assume shutting him down was more about keeping the Blazers’ tanking efforts on track than it was about any long-term health concerns. After all, Portland has had essentially a neutral net rating (-0.1) during Nurkic’s minutes this season, compared to a -11.7 mark when he’s not on the court.

Nurkic looks like a good bet to get a new contract worth at least the $12MM per year he’s currently making — and likely more than that.

Derrick Favors, C, Thunder

2021/22: $9.72MM
2022/23: $10.18MM player option
Stock: Down ⬇️

Favors’ per-minute production hasn’t declined significantly during the last two seasons, but his 15.3 minutes per game in 2020/21 and his 16.7 MPG this season are the two lowest marks of his career. Injuries and DNP-CDs have also limited him to just 39 games so far in ’21/22.

At age 30, Favors should still have plenty left in the tank, and he could reverse the trend of his declining playing time if he ends up in the right situation next season. But he won’t get a contract offer on the open market that exceeds the value of his player option ($10.18MM). I’d expect him to opt in and then try to work with the Thunder on a trade or buyout.

Danuel House, F, Jazz

2021/22: Minimum salary
2022/23: UFA
Stock: Up ⬆️

Once a key three-and-D rotation player in Houston, House saw his numbers dip in 2020/21 and slide even further to start this season, leading to his release. It took him a little time to find a permanent new home following a 10-day deal with the Knicks, but he has hit his stride again in Utah, averaging 6.7 PPG with an impressive .453 3PT% in 18 games (18.8 MPG).

House isn’t the type of player who is a threat to go off for 30 points on a given night (his career high is 23), but his ability to knock down three-pointers and defend multiple positions could be very important for a Utah team hoping to make a deep playoff run. A strong postseason showing would further boost House’s stock entering the summer.

Josh Okogie, G/F, Timberwolves

2021/22: $4.09MM
2022/23: RFA
Stock: Down ⬇️

Okogie has received praise from head coach Chris Finch for his leadership and his attitude, but the former first-round pick is no longer part of the Timberwolves’ regular rotation, having logged just 48 minutes across seven games since the start of February. He has some value on defense, but doesn’t provide enough on offense to warrant consistent minutes.

While Minnesota can technically make Okogie a restricted free agent this offseason, doing so would require a $5.86MM qualifying offer — I expect the team to pass on that QO, letting Okogie become an unrestricted FA.

Jeff Green, F, Nuggets

2021/22: $4.5MM
2022/23: $4.5MM player option
Stock: Up ⬆️

After years of settling for minimum-salary contracts, Green earned a two-year, $9MM commitment from the Nuggets last summer. The veteran forward will turn 36 years old later this year, so he initially seemed like a safe bet to pick up his $4.5MM option for 2022/23. But that’s no longer a given, based on the way he has performed this season.

Stepping into a larger role than anticipated due to Michael Porter Jr.‘s extended absence (and, to a lesser extent, Vlatko Cancar‘s season-ending foot injury), Green has averaged nearly 25 minutes per game in 63 appearances (51 starts) for Denver, scoring 10.5 PPG on 51.4% shooting.

While he has struggled from beyond the three-point line (30.1%), Green has been a crucial contributor this season for a Nuggets team trying to survive without two of its top scorers (Porter and Jamal Murray). It might be enough to justify an offseason opt-out — if he finishes the season strong, Green could potentially land one more multiyear deal.

Celtics Rumors: J. Green, Schröder, Nesmith, J. Smith, Hernangomez

The Celtics have expressed interest in reacquiring forward Jeff Green, Michael Scotto said on the latest episode of the HoopsHype Podcast. Green was a Celtic from 2010-15 and was coached by Brad Stevens from 2013-15. Stevens is now Boston’s president of basketball operations.

It’s unclear how motivated the Nuggets would be to trade Green after signing him in free agency this past offseason. He has started 24 games and averaged 24.7 minutes per contest in Denver this season while playing primarily at power forward and center. Still, the Nuggets have other options at power forward – including Aaron Gordon, JaMychal Green, and Zeke Nnaji – and are reportedly in the market for a backup center with more size, so it’s possible Jeff Green could be had.

Here are a few more notes on the Celtics:

  • In addition to reiterating that Boston would be open to moving Dennis Schröder, Scotto said on the HoopsHype Podcast that he’s heard Aaron Nesmith is also available. Nesmith, 2020’s No. 14 overall pick, had a decent rookie year but has seen his playing time and production decline this season.
  • The Celtics have made several trade calls out of due diligence, including inquiring on Suns center Jalen Smith, according to Scotto. Smith had his third-year option for 2022/23 turned down by Phoenix, so he’ll be an unrestricted free agent this offseason, but whichever team has his Bird rights won’t be able to offer a starting salary higher than $4,670,160, the amount of that declined option.
  • Scotto suggests Oklahoma City is a team to watch if and when the Celtics look to trade Juan Hernangomez to sneak below the luxury tax line. The Thunder are more than $20MM below the NBA’s minimum salary floor, so any team looking to dump a contract will likely call them first.

Northwest Notes: Lillard, Blazers, Jazz, J. Green, Wolves

Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard isn’t traveling with the team on its upcoming six-game road trip, which will begin on Thursday in Denver, head coach Chauncey Billups said on Sunday. As Sean Highkin of Bleacher Report tweets, the plan is for Lillard to meet with a specialist to determine the next steps to treat his lower abdominal tendinopathy.

In a full article for Bleacher Report, Highkin says not to be surprised if the Trail Blazers decide to shut down Lillard for an extended period, perhaps even the rest of the season.

As Highkin explains, that would be a logical route to take for a 15-24 Portland team that hasn’t met expectations in the first half of the season. Lillard’s long-term health is the most important factor in the Trail Blazers’ future, so taking the time to get him back to 100% makes sense — and could put the Blazers in position to secure a lottery pick in 2022. Portland owes its 2022 first-rounder to Chicago, but only if it lands outside of the top 14.

Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer explores the subject in his latest article as well, contending that it’s time for the Trail Blazers to reset. In O’Connor’s view, it would be in the team’s best interests to hang onto Lillard and youngsters Anfernee Simons and Nassir Little while shopping Jusuf Nurkic, Robert Covington, and even CJ McCollum.

Here’s more from around the Northwest:

  • Danuel House, who is on a 10-day contract with the Jazz, made a case on Friday for a longer-term deal with the team, scoring 13 points and handing out four assists, as Sarah Todd of The Deseret News details. Utah has two openings on its 15-man roster, so there’s an opportunity for House if he can take advantage of it. He went scoreless in 13 minutes during his second game with Utah on Saturday.
  • The Jazz got forward Joe Ingles back from out of the NBA’s health and safety protocols today, tweets Tony Jones of The Athletic. However, rookie Jared Butler and big man Udoka Azubuike have both entered the protocols, per Eric Walden of The Salt Lake Tribune (Twitter links), so Utah now has five players affected.
  • Nuggets forward Jeff Green is thrilled to still be playing in the NBA 10 years after he underwent open-heart surgery in 2012, writes Mike Singer of The Denver Post. “A lot of GMs, a lot of teams told me I wouldn’t even make it past five (years in the NBA),” Green told Singer. “To be here (at) 10, I’m just blessed, man. I’m thankful … and I’m glad they told me that.”
  • Karl-Anthony Towns has liked what he’s seen from this year’s Timberwolves, who are currently in a play-in spot with a 20-20 record. You’re seeing a maturation of a young team finding their own,” Towns said on Sunday, per Chris Hine of The Star Tribune (Twitter link). “I think everyone in the NBA is seeing an identity being built in Minnesota, something I think has been lacking in this organization for a long, long time.”

Northwest Notes: DSJ, Zeller, Nuggets, Beverley, Azubuike, Kalaitzakis

The Trail Blazers will keep Dennis Smith Jr. on their roster through the salary guarantee date, ensuring that he receives his full salary for 2021/22, sources tell Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link).

Smith won a training camp battle to earn a regular season roster spot and has averaged 5.4 PPG and 3.3 APG in 19 games (17.2 MPG). While his shooting numbers (.396 FG%, .273 3PT%) are below his mediocre career rates, Smith has apparently made enough of an impress on the Trail Blazers to stick around as the team’s 14th man. He’ll earn a $1,789,256 salary ($1,669,178 cap hit) for the season.

Wojnarowski also provides another updates on the Trail Blazers, tweeting that center Cody Zeller is expected to be available vs. Cleveland on Friday night. Zeller, who hasn’t played since December 6, missed time due to a knee injury and a stint in the health and safety protocols, but it appears he’s been cleared to return on both fronts.

Here’s more from around the Northwest:

  • Nuggets forwards Jeff Green and Zeke Nnaji are no longer in the health and safety protocols, but two-way rookie Petr Cornelie has entered them, tweets Mike Singer of The Denver Post. Because the team still has one player in the COVID-19 protocols, hardship signee Davon Reed can remain active.
  • The Patrick Beverley trade has been a major coup for the Timberwolves, according to Jim Souhan of The Star Tribune, who says the veteran guard has been an “ideal leader” for the young team. Minnesota gave up Jarrett Culver and Juan Hernangomez to land Beverley.
  • Udoka Azubuike hasn’t played much for the Jazz since being selected with the 27th pick in the 2020 draft, but he logged a career-high 16 minutes in his first ever start on Wednesday in Denver, holding his own against Nikola Jokic. Tony Jones of The Athletic has the story on the young center’s unexpected showcase, which came with Rudy Gobert and Hassan Whiteside unavailable. “I’m not going to lie to you, I was a little nervous,” Azubuike said. “I just came back from (an ankle) injury, and I’m playing against the MVP? That was a lot to process.”
  • Georgios Kalaitzakis, the 60th overall pick in the 2021 draft who was waived by Milwaukee earlier this season, has signed an NBA G League contract, as our JD Shaw recently reported (via Twitter). The 23-year-old Greek forward joined the Oklahoma City Blue and appeared in his first game with the Thunder‘s affiliate on Thursday.

Nikola Jokic Sidelined By Wrist Injury

Reigning league Most Valuable Player Nikola Jokic has a right wrist sprain and it’s uncertain when he’ll return, according to Mike Singer of the Denver Post.

The Nuggets’ big man watched the team’s loss to Chicago on Friday with a brace on his wrist. He suffered the injury against Philadelphia on Thursday.

“He’s gotten X-rays, he’s gotten MRI’s, talking to the doctors,” coach Michael Malone said. “I don’t think it’s going to be a long-term thing at all, but at the same time, I don’t want to put him out there if he can only play with one hand. Unfair to ask him to do that. When he’s ready to play, he’ll play. That could be against Phoenix (Sunday), that could be in a week. There’s no timeline at this point.”

Strategically, the Nuggets played more zone against the Bulls than at any point this season but they were clobbered on the boards. Personnel-wise, they went small and relied on forwards Jeff Green, Aaron Gordon and JaMychal Green to man the interior.

“I’m not sure how long Nikola’s going to be out, but you have options,” Malone said.

PJ Dozier said it’s going to be difficult to play without their star. The Nuggets have already been playing without Michael Porter Jr. most of the month due to a back injury, and Jamal Murray is expected to miss most of the season as he continues to recover from an ACL tear.

“We play through him. He’s the head of the snake.,” Dozier said of Jokic. “We go as he goes. Having our MVP not on the floor, of course, offensively is going to be an adjustment but defensively as well. He’s communicating to us guards, calling out the coverages.”