Juan Hernangomez

Nuggets Notes: Jokic, Hernangomez, Mudiay, Nurkic

The Nuggets will face a crucial decision with third-year center Nikola Jokic after this season, and Dan Feldman of NBC Sports examines the possibilities. Denver has a team option to keep Jokic for the minimum salary of a little more than $1.6MM next season, but that would make him an unrestricted free agent in the summer of 2019. The Nuggets could choose to decline that option, making him a restricted free agent this summer with Denver being able to match any offers. Feldman estimates Jokic could get about $109MM [about $27MM annually] over four years in restricted free agency or $146MM over five years [about $29MM annually] in an offer from the Nuggets.

There are benefits to keeping Jokic on a minimum salary for another year with more than $110MM already committed for 12 players next season. Giving Jokic a max deal for 2018/19 could put the team so far into the luxury tax that it couldn’t escape by trading Kenneth Faried or Mason Plumlee. Opt-out decisions by Wilson Chandler [more than $12.8MM for next season] or Darrell Arthur [nearly $7.5MM] could help ease the tax burden, but neither is certain to do that.

There’s more today out of Denver:

  • After being slowed by illness for much of the season,  Juan Hernangomez is healthy and ready to contribute, relays Gina Mizell of The Denver Post. The second-year center contracted mononucleosis in October and was available for just two of the season’s first 12 games. He was sidelined by the flu in late December and has appeared in only 18 games so far. “I said to Coach [Michael Malone], ‘I’m ready if you need me,’” Hernangomez said. “I don’t say ‘I need to play.’ Of course I want to play. But I don’t [put] pressure on him, because he’s the coach and he makes the decisions. I just tell him I’m ready, in any case, and I’m ready to bring my energy.”
  • The Nuggets need to admit Emmanuel Mudiay was a failed draft pick and find a veteran to help them reach the playoffs, contends Mark Kiszla of The Denver Post. The seventh pick in the 2015 draft, Mudiay has struggled with his shot since coming to Denver. Kizsla suggests Sacramento’s George Hill as an option, although the Kings would have to be persuaded to take Faried’s contract in return, or possibly Orlando’s D.J. Augustin as a lower-cost option.
  • Jusuf Nurkic made his first trip back to Denver this week since being traded to Portland last year and wasn’t eager to reminisce, Mizell writes in a separate story. Nurkic said he has “no relationship” with Malone. “Everybody knows why we didn’t work [in Denver],” Nurkic said. “To be honest, I’m happy I’m here. The story’s over. I have a new story, and I’m really excited where I am.”

Northwest Notes: Murray, Aminu, Hernangomez

The Nuggets have an opportunity to develop Jamal Murray into a significant part of their franchise for years to come, they just need to make sure that they handle things better than Denver’s NFL counterpart has handled their quarterback situation, Mark Kiszla of The Denver Post writes.

Those unfamiliar with the Broncos depth chart need only know that the club has attempted to eke into the postseason with a short-term quarterback rather than organically developing their younger, higher-ceiling, long-term quarterback. Kiszla fears that a hasty acquisition of Eric Bledsoe could put the Nuggets in a similarly short-sighted position.

While nobody is denying that Bledsoe is a solid NBA player, Kiszla writes that the Nuggets would be better off giving Murray the opportunity to learn to be a solid starter. The club should push his learning curve to find out just what he’s capable of.

There’s more from the Northwest Division:

Juan Hernangomez Will Miss ‘A Couple Of Weeks’

Nuggets forward Juan Hernangomez could be out “a couple of weeks” with mononucleosis, according to Christopher Dempsey of NBA.com.

The second-year player out of Spain had a productive rookie season, averaging 4.9 points and 3.0 rebounds in 62 games. However, he has managed just seven minutes in two games this year.

“We were talking as coaches and as a staff that Juancho hadn’t looked like Juancho from last year,” said coach Mike Malone. “The first reaction was: Well, he had a very busy summer. He played summer league with us, then he goes right back to Spain and plays a very long and demanding schedule with the national team. But we were waiting for Juancho to come back – the activity, the energy, and he just wasn’t looking like himself.”

The team did blood work when Hernangomez contracted a cold, and the results showed mononucleosis. He will be held out to give him a chance to recover and to keep the contagious disease away from the rest of the team.

“Hopefully when he is healthy, we’ll see that Juancho that we all came to love last year, who was just boundless energy,” Malone added. “We haven’t seen that guy yet because of this disease and how hard he worked the whole summer.”

Injury Notes: Fultz, Dunn, Blazers, J. Hernangomez

While we at Hoops Rumors tend to avoid extensively covering day-to-day injuries and other minor ailments, we do make an effort to pass along word of slightly longer-term injuries that could have an impact on a team’s rotation or roster.

Markelle Fultz‘ shoulder issue doesn’t fit that bill yet, but it sounds like it might at some point. As Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reports, agent Raymond Brothers confirmed that Fultz has had fluid drained from his right shoulder and plans to visit a specialist soon.

“He literally cannot raise up his arms to shoot the basketball,” Brothers said of his client. “He decided to try and fight through the pain to help the team. He has a great attitude. We are committed to finding a solution to get Markelle back to 100 percent.”

Considering how cautious the Sixers have been in recent years with injuries, it’s somewhat surprising that Fultz is playing at all for the team to start the season. However, according to Wojnarowski, no decision has been made yet for this year’s first overall pick to miss games. The 76ers are weighing their options, says Sarah Todd of Philly.com.

Here are a few more injury updates from around the NBA:

  • Kris Dunn, who has yet to make his debut for the Bulls, will come off the bench when he returns to the court, head coach Fred Hoiberg said today (Twitter link via K.C. Johnson of The Chicago Tribune). Dunn is expected to play his first game for Chicago on either Thursday or Saturday.
  • Entering a contract year, Noah Vonleh is targeting a November 1 return from shoulder surgery, writes Joe Freeman of The Oregonian. That would give the Trail Blazers a fully healthy NBA roster, though two-way player C.J. Wilcox will be sidelined for a while — the team announced in a press release that Wilcox is expected to miss six to eight weeks after undergoing a successful arthroscopy on his right knee.
  • Nuggets forward Juan Hernangomez has been diagnosed with mononucleosis, the team confirmed on Tuesday in a press release. There’s no specific timeline for Hernangomez’ return yet, but according to the Nuggets, he didn’t travel with the club on its current four-game road trip.
  • Raptors center Jonas Valanciunas, frustrated by an ankle injury, is hoping to rejoin the club on its current six-game road trip, writes Doug Smith of The Toronto Star. In the meantime, Lucas Nogueira, who is in a contract year, will enjoy an increased role, Smith notes in a separate article.

Nuggets Exercise 2018/19 Options On Five Players

The Nuggets entered the offseason with decisions to make on five team options for the 2018/19 season, and the team has elected to pick up all five of those options, according to RealGM’s log of official NBA transactions. Here are the details on the rookie-scale team options exercised this week by Denver:

The moves ensure that Mudiay, Murray, Lyles, Hernangomez, and Beasley are now locked up to guaranteed contracts through at least 2019. The numbers listed above reflect the cap hits on Denver’s books, and not necessarily the players’ exact salaries, since players on rookie contracts received pay bumps as a result of the new CBA.

Mudiay and Lyles will be eligible for rookie scale extensions during next year’s offseason, and then will be on track for restricted free agency in 2019 if the Nuggets don’t extend them in 2018. Murray, Hernangomez, and Beasley, meanwhile, will have fourth-year options for 2019/20 for Denver to decide on during next year’s offseason. If those options are picked up, the trio will be extension-eligible in 2019 and RFA-eligible in 2020.

With those five 2018/19 options exercised, the Nuggets now have approximately $73.4MM in guaranteed salaries on their cap for the ’18/19 season, per Basketball Insiders. That number isn’t exorbitant, but it could skyrocket before next July — it doesn’t include potential player options for Wilson Chandler ($12.8MM) or Darrell Arthur ($7.5MM) or possible extensions for Gary Harris or Will Barton.

That total for 2018/19 also doesn’t include Nikola Jokic. The Nuggets have an inexpensive team option on Jokic for next season, but may opt to turn it down and negotiate with him as a restricted free agent, rather than exercising it and having him reach unrestricted free agency a year later.

Northwest Notes: Nurkic, Cole, Nuggets

Acquired from the Nuggets in the days leading up to the trade deadline, Jusuf Nurkic is a valuable component already breathing new life into the Trail Blazers, writes Joe Freeman of the Oregonian. In five games with his new club, Nurkic has averaged 14.0 points and 8.4 rebounds in 29.8 minutes per game.

I think his energy is definitely good for our team,” Damian Lillard told Freeman of the big man, later adding that the fiery 22-year-old adds a valuable emotional boost. “I guess you would call him a tough guy — every play he’s saying something.”

This isn’t the first time Nurkic has shown impressive potential, he flashed signs of promise during his rookie campaign in 2014/15. Still, a 2015/16 injury coupled with the emergence of Nikola Jokic this year and last inhibited the Bosnian’s development in Denver.

There’s more out of the Northwest Division:

  • So long as the Trail Blazers are within reach of the playoffs, Damian Lillard will be competing at the highest level, writes Jason Quick of CSN Northwest. “We have an opportunity to make the playoffs and I’m going to play until that opportunity is gone, and then I’m still going to play. We have a whole summer until the next season, so I’m going to play.” The veteran understood the appeal of tanking during his rookie campaign when the postseason was never an option but has no desire to rely on the draft for immediate help.
  • The recent signing of Norris Cole gives the Thunder a reliable veteran to back up Russell Westbrook at the point, writes Brett Dawson of the Oklahoman. “[We] just need him to run our team when he’s in there, make good decisions, defend,” says head coach Billy Donovan, “All the things he’s done for most of his career.
  • The Timberwolves have experimented with both Tyus Jones and Kris Dunn in the lineup at the same time, writes Jerry Zgoda of the Star-Tribune. The pair of point guards has been deployed of late when starter Ricky Rubio takes a seat. “I like Tyus and Kris together; that’s a big plus,” head coach Tom Thibodeau said. “They have good chemistry together. It gives you a second pick-and-roll player.”
  • Rookies have stepped up and made an impact for the Nuggets this season, writes Nick Kosmider of the Denver Post. He speaks, of course, about the emergence of Jamal Murray and Juan Hernangomez as valuable contributors even as Denver competes for a playoff spot in the Western Conference.

Northwest Notes: Nurkic, Plumlee, Jazz

The deal that landed Mason Plumlee may not be the last one the Nuggets make this month, suggests Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders. The reporter relays that his sources believe Denver could still move names like Wilson Chandler, Danilo Gallinari and even second-year point guard Emmanuel Mudiay.

After years of stock piling assets, the Nuggets have emerged as a playoff contender in 2016/17. Leading the charge for the franchise has been sophomore center Nikola Jokic. With Jokic at the helm and the club finally focused on building around him, the the team is in a position to deal some valuable building blocks in an effort to fortify their new core.

Kyler suggests that the emergence of Juan Hernangomez, too, could expedite a formal regime change in Denver. The Nuggets currently sit eighth in the Western Conference.

There’s more out of the Northwest Division:

  • Newly acquired Trail Blazers big man Jusuf Nurkic spoke with the media about his new home. “I think it’s the perfect place for me,” he told the media. “They need me, and I need them.” The 22-year-old also mentioned that he didn’t mind whether head coach Terry Stotts slotted him into the starting lineup or brought him off the bench.
  • The Nuggets don’t anticipate having any issues working Mason Plumlee into their rotation, writes Chris Dempsey of the Denver Post. Head coach Mike Malone expects to seamlessly integrate the new big man, adding that Plumlee’s playmaking abilities should help the team’s offense continue to flow well when Nikola Jokic is on the bench.
  • The Trail Blazers will send $2.85MM to the Nuggets as part of the Nurkic/Plumlee swap, tweets Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders. That, Pincus says, explains why Denver included a first-round pick in their outgoing package. For more details of the trade, consider Mark Deeks of Give Me Sport‘s break down of the deal.
  • A Utah-based analytics firm will sponsor Jazz jerseys in 2017/18, but rather than plug the company’s own logo, they’ll promote that of a charitable organization generating funds for cancer research. The 5 For The Fight patch will be on Jazz jerseys for at least the first year of the organization’s three-year commitment with the team, writes Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today.

NBA D-League Assignments/Recalls: 1/7/17

Here are the D-League assignments and recalls from Saturday:


  • The Bulls have recalled forward Bobby Portis from their Windy City affiliate, the team announced in a press release. Portis had 32 points and nine rebounds in Friday’s game.
  • The Spurs have recalled rookie guard Dejounte Murray from their affiliate in Austin, the team posted on its website. Murray is coming off a 25-point performance Friday and is averaging 16.6 points per game in 12 D-League contests. He has played 18 games for San Antonio, getting 5.6 minutes per night.
  • The Pacers have recalled Georges Niang from their Fort Wayne affiliate, according to the team’s website. He connected on five 3-pointers and scored 23 points in his last game for the Mad Ants.


  • The Suns have recalled Derrick Jones Jr., according to a team-issued press release. Jones comes off of his fourth assignment to the club’s D-League affiliate this season.
  • The Lakers have assigned center Ivica Zubac to the D-League, reports Brad Turner of the Los Angeles Times via a team press release. Zubac has already played 11 games for the team’s affiliate, averaging 15.9 points and 9.4 rebounds per game.
  • The Nuggets have recalled Juan Hernangomez from their D-League affiliate, the team announced in a press release. Hernangomez appeared in just one game for the Sioux Falls Skyforce.


NBA D-League Assignments/Recalls: 1/4/17

Here are Wednesday’s D-League assignments and recalls from around the NBA:


  • The Lakers have re-assigned rookie big man Ivica Zubac to the D-League (Twitter link). Zubac will be in uniform for the L.A. D-Fenders tomorrow night for the team’s game against Iowa.
  • The Pistons officially announced in a press release this afternoon that they’ve sent Henry Ellenson to the Grand Rapids Drive. As Keith Langlois of Pistons.com tweets, fellow rookie Michael Gbinije likely would’ve joined him, but he’s battling a forearm injury.
  • Forward Troy Williams has been recalled by the Grizzlies from his assignment with the Iowa Energy, per a team release. Williams averaged 24.3 PPG in three games during his D-League stint, including 32 in 28 minutes on December 27.


  • Richaun Holmes, who has completed and passed all the elements of the NBA’s concussion protocol, has been assigned to the D-League by the Sixers, the team announced today in a press release. While some NBADL rehab assignments don’t include game action, the Sixers suggest that Holmes is expected to suit up tonight for the Delaware 87ers.


  • A pair of Nuggets rookies, Malik Beasley and Juan Hernangomez, have been assigned to the D-League, according to a press release. Despite having a fairly young roster, Denver hasn’t used the D-League much this season, since the team doesn’t have its own affiliate. Beasley and Hernangomez will join the Sioux Falls Skyforce, Miami’s NBADL squad.
  • The Raptors have sent Bruno Caboclo and Fred VanVleet back to the D-League, the team announced today (via Twitter). The duo has bounced back and forth between the NBA and NBADL all season — it’s the 13th D-League assignment for Caboclo and the ninth for VanVleet.
  • Maurice Ndour is headed to the D-League, having been assigned to Westchester today by the Knicks (Twitter link). New York’s D-League affiliate is in action tonight against Grand Rapids, and Ndour is expected to suit up for the game.
  • The Suns have assigned rookie forward Derrick Jones to the D-League, the team announced today (Twitter link). It’s the fourth NBADL assignment of the season for Jones, who has averaged 14.0 PPG and 6.1 RPG in 14 games for Northern Arizona.

Nuggets Sign Juan Hernangomez

AUGUST 9th: The signing is official, the team announced.

JULY 29th: The Nuggets have come to terms on a rookie scale deal with Juan Hernangomez, Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders reports (via Twitter). The 20-year-old was selected with the No. 15 overall pick in this year’s NBA Draft.

Hernangomez’s arrangement with Denver is a standard rookie contract that will see him earn $1,987,440 this season, $2,076,840 in 2017/18, $2,166,360 in 2018/19 and $3,321,030 the final season, with the last two years being team options, as Bobby Marks of The Vertical notes.

The 6’9″ forward appeared in five games for Denver’s squad in the Las Vegas Summer League, averaging 10.2 points and 8.2 rebounds in 26.7 minutes per outing. Hernangomez spent the 2015/16 campaign with the Spanish club Movistar Estudiantes, making 34 appearances and notching averages of 9.7 points, 5.7 rebounds and 0.8 steals while shooting .455/.358/.717.