Malik Beasley

Nuggets Notes: Beasley, Porter, Hernangomez, Malone

Nuggets coach Michael Malone credits reserve guard Malik Beasley for not sulking during a difficult season, Mike Singer of the Denver Post relays. Beasley, who can be a restricted free agent this summer if the Nuggets extend a qualifying offer, got extended minutes on Thursday with Jamal Murray and Gary Harris sidelined and took advantage. He scored a season-high 27 points in an overtime win over Golden State. Beasley hasn’t received steady playing time but Malone says Beasley has handled it professionally.

“You have a choice, as a man, you have a choice,” Malone said. “‘Am I gonna feel sorry for myself or am I gonna stay ready?’ And to his credit he’s continued to stay ready.”

We have more on the Nuggets:

  • Malone vows to keep rookie Michael Porter Jr. in the rotation going forward, Singer tweets “Earlier in the season, he wasn’t sure when he was going to be playing, is he going to be playing? So now, that’s out the window,” he said. “Michael Porter is a huge part of our future, he’s going to play every night.” Porter has reached double figures in each of his last three games, including an 18-point, 10-rebound, 5-assist performance against the Warriors.
  • Trading forward Juan Hernangomez would negatively impact the locker room, Singer opines in his latest mailbag. Hernangomez has a major influence on team chemistry and is close friends with Nikola Jokic, Singer notes, adding that Jokic, Murray and Porter are the team’s untouchables in trade discussions.
  • Malone is glad to be coaching a playoff contender that didn’t take shortcuts to success, as he explained to Michael Lee of The Athletic. Malone notes that Denver hasn’t gone for the quick fix. “For me, this being my fifth year, that’s maybe one of the more enjoyable things about our journey, is how we’ve been able to build this from the ground up and build it from within, organically,” he said. “We haven’t gone out and traded for the marquee player. We haven’t mortgaged our future by sending these two young assets to here, to rent a player for a year or two, to have instant success, but not long-term success. It speaks to our front office, our ownership that we can continue to communicate and collaborate and challenge each other.”

Nuggets Notes: Beasley, Hernangomez, Grant

After a breakout year in 2018/19, it has been an up-and-down season for Malik Beasley in 2019/20. The Nuggets‘ swingman has been in and out of the team’s rotation — for instance, he got a DNP-CD in last Monday’s win before playing 26 minutes in a win on Wednesday. While Beasley would like to have a more regular role, he’s trying to make the most of the opportunities he gets, as Kyle Fredrickson of The Denver Post details.

“I wish it (playing time) was consistent, that’s just me as a player,” Beasley said after last Wednesday’s game. “But I’m happy to contribute to the team and get a win, that’s the most important thing that comes out of every day.”

After acquiring Jerami Grant and getting a healthy Michael Porter Jr. back for this season, the Nuggets have made an already-deep rotation even deeper, resulting in a decline in minutes for some players. Head coach Michael Malone said he understands Beasley’s frustration and admitted that the fourth-year swingman isn’t wrong to believe he should have a bigger role.

“Malik Beasley is sitting there saying, ‘I should be playing more,'” Malone said. “You know what? He’s right. I can’t argue that.”

Beasley, who will be a restricted free agent at season’s end, has been the subject of some trade speculation this season, since he still has long-term value and could be included in a package if Denver makes a play for another impact player. For now, he’ll make the most of the minutes he gets with the Nuggets.

Here’s more out of Denver:

Northwest Notes: Collins, Nuggets, Millsap, Westbrook

Trail Blazers big man Zach Collins remains on track to return in March after undergoing shoulder surgery, Jason Quick of The Athletic relays.  Collins suffered a left shoulder dislocation and had the surgery performed in early November. “That’s definitely my goal,” Collins said of returning in March. “We will be in the playoff race and I’ll be able to come back and make a really good push. And hopefully Nurk (Jusuf Nurkic) comes back around that time and we can all just really come together at the right time for the playoffs.”

We have more from the Northwest Division:

  • Nuggets coach Michael Malone hopes the current roster remains in place through the trade deadline, Mike Singer of the Denver Post tweets. However, he also knows that some reserves would have better opportunities elsewhere. Among those players are guard Malik Beasley and forward Juancho Hernangomez. “I hope we can keep this team because I know what this team is capable of… I also know it’s a business, I also know these guys all want to play,” Malone said.
  • Nuggets forward Paul Millsap wishes he would have played it safer regarding the left knee contusion he suffered in a collision with Jamal Murray on December 20, Singer reports. Millsap has missed three games and hasn’t played up to his usual standards when he has suited up. “Probably should’ve got it taken care of and sat down and make sure it was good at that time,” Millsap said. “It’s a little lingering effect to it, and a few other things going on because of it. But, best-case scenario is just sit down and make sure I’m fully healthy.” Millsap, who insists the injury isn’t serious, will be an unrestricted free agent this summer.
  • Rockets point guard Russell Westbrook returned to Oklahoma City on Thursday night and indicated he had no regrets about his tenure with the Thunder, Mark Medina of USA Today writes. “I have no bad blood or nothing here in this city with no fans or nobody in the organization,” Westbrook said. “They gave me all they had, and I gave them all I had.” Westbrook, who was traded in July, scored 34 points against his former team but OKC rolled to an easy victory.

Sixers Have Interest In Robert Covington, Other Players

The Sixers are parsing the trade market for reinforcements who can shoot the ball. According to Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer, Philadelphia has expressed interest in several role players, including Malik Beasley, Glenn Robinson III, Davis Bertans, E’Twaun Moore, and Andre Iguodala. O’Connor adds that the team has also inquired on Robert Covington, whom the team dealt away in the Jimmy Butler deal last season.

Most of those names, including Covington, are truly available. The price for Minnesota’s wing is expected to be high and with Philadelphia void of shiny assets, GM Elton Brand will have to get creative if he is going to bring back Sam Hinkie’s former gem.

Zhaire Smith is the young prospect the team is most willing to part with. Rivals teams have more interest in Matisse Thybulle, though Philadelphia is reluctant to deal the No. 20 overall pick. The franchise owns all of its own draft picks starting in the 2021 draft, so the Sixers could attempt to sweeten any deal with a future asset.

Other names on that list could be more obtainable than RoCo. It’ll be tough to pry Bertans from Washington, as the team can envision him as a long-term piece, but Iguodala, Moore, and Robinson are in obvious selling situations. Denver won’t be a seller at the trade deadline, but with a deep rotation and Beasley’s impending restricted free agency, the franchise is smartly assessing the market for the shooting guard.

Here’s more on Philadelphia.

  • O’Connor contends that the Sixers should consider making a bigger move for Chris Paul, swapping either Tobias Harris or Al Horford and additional salary for the 34-year-old point guard. However, the scribe hears that Harris and Horford, each of whom signed long-term deals this offseason, aren’t any more tradeable than CP3.
  • Trading Simmons doesn’t appear likely, in part because it would mean “putting all your superstar eggs in the Embiid basket,” and the big man has had a shaky injury history. O’ Connor wonders if Simmons would be the one the team decides to build around if forced to choose between the two.
  • Big changes will likely come with an early exit in the playoffs, though many around the game believe it would be Brett Brown who takes the fall in that scenario. There were rumblings that former team president Bryan Colangelo was planning to fire Brown and replace him with Villanova coach Jay Wright, but that was before Twittergate. Still, O’Connor hears from multiple sources that Brown didn’t have the best relationship with the locker room last season.

Free Agent Stock Watch 2020: Northwest Division

Every week, Hoops Rumors takes a closer look at players who will be free agents or could become free agents next offseason. We examine if their stock is rising or falling due to performance and other factors. This week, we take a look at players from the Northwest Division:

Malik Beasley, Nuggets, 23, PG (Down) – Signed to a four-year, $7.8MM deal in 2016
Beasley reportedly declined a three-year extension offer worth at least $30MM prior to the season. Oops. Beasley’s playing time has significantly dropped this season and so has his production. He’s averaging 6.9 PPG and just 1.0 APG in 16.0 MPG. Beasley has been a bigger factor on offense recently, reaching double figures in four of the last six appearances, but he never left the bench against Indiana on Thursday. The prime trade candidate probably needs a change of scenery to restore his value. Denver can make him a restricted free agent but that’s an increasingly unlikely scenario.

Noah Vonleh, Timberwolves, 24, PF (Down) – Signed to a one-year, $2MM deal in 2019
Vonleh entices NBA teams with his physique and potential but no one has been able to tap into it. At age 24, the 2014 lottery pick has already played for five teams. The way things are going in Minnesota, he’ll probably be looking for a sixth team to take a chance on him. He’ll get you some rebounds but defenses don’t have to respect him on the offensive end. He hasn’t developed a three-point shot, which is a no-no for a young ‘four man’ these days. Injuries led to increased playing time for Vonleh the past two weeks before he sat out Thursday’ game with a back injury. It’s unlikely he’ll remain in the rotation when the T-Wolves get healthier.

Nerlens Noel, Thunder, 25, PF (Up) – Signed to a one-year, $2MM deal in 2019
Seems like Noel has been around for quite awhile but he’s still just 25. He’ll never live up to his draft status (No. 6 pick of 2013) but in shorter bursts, Noel can be quite effective. Noel has been a force off the bench at both ends of the floor, averaging 7.8 PPG, 5.1 RPG, 1.2 APG, 1.4 BPG and 1.1 SPG in 18.7 MPG. He’s even making his free throws this season (79.7%). Noel knows his strengths and finds ways to contribute. He can have a long career in the league as a backup big.

Hassan Whiteside, Trail Blazers, 30, C (Up) – Signed to a four-year, $98.4MM deal in 2016
Going strictly by the numbers, Whiteside is having a bounce-back season after a couple of uneasy years with Miami. During 14 games in December, Whiteside posted a stat line of 16.2 PPG on 63.2% shooting, 15.1 RPG, 1.8 APG and 3.4 BPG in 31.6 MPG. The flip side is that the Blazers have nosedived in the standings with Whiteside as their starting center. As a traditional post man who doesn’t shoot threes, Whiteside will have to take a significant pay cut next season. But his rebounding and shot-blocking prowess can’t be totally ignored.

Jordan Clarkson, Jazz, 27, SG (Up) – Signed to a four-year, $50MM deal in 2016
The NBA went five-plus months without a trade until Utah, seeking more bench scoring, acquired Clarkson from Cleveland for Dante Exum and two second-round picks. Utah is thrilled with the early returns. In his first four games in a Jazz uniform, Clarkson has averaged 15.0 PPG in 23.8 MPG. That lifted Utah to victories over Portland, the Los Angeles Clippers and Detroit. Represented by super agent Rich Paul, Clarkson should draw plenty of interest as teams look to fortify their benches in a weak market.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Charania’s Latest: Holiday, Zion, Nuggets, Knicks

Earlier today, we passed along Shams Charania’s report of Dewayne Dedmon wanting out of Sacramento. The big man hasn’t played in eight of the last 10 games for the Kings and both sides believe that the situation is unsalvagable.

Charania also passed along other tidbits from around the league in his latest piece on The Athletic. Here are the highlights:

  • One of Jrue Holiday‘s priorities is being in a winning situation, a source tells Charania, and that’s not something the Pelicans are currently providing him. Rival teams believe that Holiday is the type of piece who would help lift a team to a new level. The Nuggets and Heat are believed to be possible destinations should David Griffin trade the point guard, Charania notes.
  • Zion Williamson is expected to begin contract drills and practices within the next week or two and the Pelicans want the No. 1 overall pick to continue to get leaner prior to his return. The franchise has focused on refining his eating habits as well. Charania adds the Pelicans “fully anticipate” Williamson playing this season.
  • The Nuggets are open to dealing Juan Hernangomez and Malik Beasley, though both players have high asking prices. Some rival executives expect the team to move both Hernangomez and Beasley, as each restricted free agent is expected to garner a lucrative deal in free agency.
  • The Heat have not closed the door on Dion Waiters playing for the team again. Pat Riley recently met with Waiters and James Johnson, making it clear to each that Miami would like to reintegrate both players into team activities.
  • Rival teams believe Dennis Smith Jr. would prefer a trade from the Knicks and several clubs have inquired about the point guard.
  • We’ve seen several G-League call ups this season and James Palmer Jr., who is playing for the Agua Caliente Clippers, could be next, Charania writes.

NBA Trade Candidate Watch: Northwest Division

Over the course of the 2019/20 NBA season, up until February’s trade deadline, we’re keeping an eye on potential trade candidates from around the NBA, monitoring their value and exploring the likelihood that they’ll be moved. Each of these looks at possible trade candidates focuses on a specific division, as we zero in on three players from that division.

The Northwest Division is primed for a potentially eventful 2020 trade deadline. The Thunder have veterans to shop. The Timberwolves want a point guard. The Nuggets have the pieces to put together a package for an impact player. And the Jazz and Trail Blazers may be looking to shake things up after up-and-down starts.

As we wait to see what these teams have in mind, let’s take a closer look at three more potential trade candidates from around the Northwest:

Malik Beasley, SG
Denver Nuggets
$2.7MM cap hit; RFA in 2020

Beasley enjoyed a breakout season in 2018/19, boosting his scoring average from 3.2 PPG to 11.3 PPG and posting an impressive .474/.402/.848 shooting line as a key member of the Nuggets’ rotation. After failing to come to terms on an extension with the club this fall, he has struggled out of the gate in 2019/20 and is no longer receiving consistent minutes on a deep Denver squad.

For teams in need of outside shooting help, Beasley – who is still making 41.1% of his outside attempts this season – may look like a tantalizing buy-low target. He’ll be a restricted free agent next summer, so any team that wants to keep him beyond this season should have no problem doing so, assuming he doesn’t receive an exorbitant offer sheet next July.

The Nuggets are in a position where it might make sense to consolidate their depth in a trade package if the right impact player is available. Such a deal, which could also open up some additional playing time for promising young forward Michael Porter Jr., may very well involve Beasley.

Danilo Gallinari, F
Oklahoma City Thunder
$22.6MM cap hit; UFA in 2020

Gallinari is one of the NBA’s most obvious trade candidates this winter, and the only reason he wasn’t included in our initial look at the Northwest last month is because the Thunder have an even more obvious trade candidate in Chris Paul.

Moving Gallinari appears more realistic than dealing CP3, since Gallinari’s cap hit isn’t quite as exorbitant and his contract is expiring. The challenge for Oklahoma City will be finding a trade partner in need of a scoring forward that has the contract(s) necessary to salary-match and a first-round pick – or a promising young prospect – to spare.

Portland, with Kent Bazemore‘s and Hassan Whiteside‘s expiring contracts, initially looked like an ideal fit, but the Trail Blazers have been talking as if they’re looking ahead to future seasons rather than just focusing on this one, so Gallinari might not be near the top of their wish list. If that’s the case, we’ll see if OKC can find another team in position to make a deal work.

Dante Exum, G
Utah Jazz
$9.6MM cap hit; $9.6MM guaranteed salary in 2020/21; UFA in 2021

The Jazz have showed remarkable patience with Exum since selecting him fifth overall in the 2014 draft, but the Australian guard doesn’t really seem any closer to being an impact player than he was five years ago. Utah hasn’t given up on him yet, but at this point a change of scenery might be the best thing for the 24-year-old, especially if another team still believes in his upside.

Because his contract has another guaranteed year beyond 2019/20, Exum probably doesn’t have positive trade value, but he’d make a good salary-matching piece if the Jazz try to make a roster upgrade — the only other mid-level type contract on the team’s books belongs to Joe Ingles, who can’t and won’t be traded this season.

I’d expect Exum to finish the season in Utah, but he’s worth keeping an eye on because of his cap hit.

Revisit the rest of our 2019/20 Trade Candidate series right here.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Nuggets Notes: Beasley, Porter Jr., Bol, G League

Malik Beasley hasn’t seen consistent minutes for the Nuggets lately, but head coach Mike Malone insists that the current rotation decisions are not set in stone.

“I think our players understand the importance of staying ready because I’m going to go back to Malik,” Malone said (via Mike Singer of The Denver Post). “Malik could play 25 minutes tomorrow night and help us win the game.

“By no means is anybody written off, we believe in all of our players, but it’s my job when we’re struggling to find something that maybe gives us a better chance.”

Here’s more from Denver:

  • Michael Porter Jr. won’t improve without playing meaningful minutes regularly and Singer (separate piece) examines whether the Nuggets should make a trade to free up playing time for the second-year wing. Beasley and Juan Hernangomez are both restricted free agents this summer, so perhaps trading one of two makes sense.
  • Nick Kosmider of The Athletic breaks down why the Nuggets are taking it slow with Bol Bol, who is on a two-way contract with the club. Denver wants to see Bol play within a system. Through his first 154 minutes in the G League, the rookie center hasn’t had one assist, which is something that seems problematic given Malone’s free-flowing game plan.
  • The Nuggets don’t have a G League team, though they do have an interesting agreement with the Windy City Bulls with regard to their two-way center, Kosmider relays in the same piece. The franchise mandates that Bol receives a certain amount of minutes per game when the big man is with Chicago’s G League squad.

Trade Rumors: Nuggets, Thunder, Turner, More

Within his early breakdown of the 2019/20 trade market, Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today notes that the Nuggets may make young role players like Malik Beasley and Juan Hernangomez available, especially if they can include them in a package that nets them an impact player.

Zillgitt also wonders if Thunder point guard Chris Paul would consider waiving his 2021/22 player option, since eliminating that final year from his contract would make him a far more appealing trade chip to teams looking to retain long-term flexibility. Of course, waiving that option would cost Paul a guaranteed $44MM salary for ’21/22, and there’s no guarantee he’d recoup more than a fraction of that amount on a new deal. So that scenario looks like a bit of a long shot for now.

Here are a few more stories focusing on the NBA’s in-season trade market:

  • Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report spoke to a handful of current and former NBA executives to evaluate teams’ needs and players’ value in advance of the February trade deadline. One former general manager thinks it may take more time for teams to become sellers, since sub-.500 teams hold playoff spots in each conference. “I don’t think any of these teams [outside of the top eight] are scared,” the former GM said. “It’s going to take longer for teams to lose confidence that they have a chance to fight for eighth. … We’ll see more separation [in the standings] closer to February.”
  • According to Pincus, several executives believe the Pacers will eventually seriously consider trading Myles Turner, since he’s not considered a great long-term fit alongside Domantas Sabonis. Turner was viewed as the more valuable asset last season, but Sabonis has been better so far this year.
  • Sean Deveney of Heavy.com identifies several newly trade-eligible players who are worth keeping an eye on as February’s deadline nears, including Warriors guard D’Angelo Russell, Bulls forward Thaddeus Young, and several Knicks veterans. We singled out many of the same trade candidates on Monday in our own look at players whose trade restrictions lifted on December 15.
  • John Hollinger of The Athletic explores five questions that could shape this season’s trade deadline, such as just how serious the Nuggets and Mavericks are about their short-term chances to contend.

Charania’s Latest: Beasley, Rockets, Hawks, OKC, IT

Multiple teams have had “due diligence” conversations with the Nuggets about guard Malik Beasley, league sources tell Shams Charania of The Athletic. Beasley, who will be a restricted free agent in 2020, had extension talks with Denver earlier this year, but the two sides couldn’t reach an agreement.

As Charania explains, the Nuggets often receive trade inquiries on their wings, given their depth at that spot, but haven’t gained any traction on potential deals. Beasley had a breakout season in 2018/19, but has been in and out of Denver’s rotation so far this season. If the team isn’t confident about its chances of locking him up next summer, he could become a trade candidate as the season progresses.

Here’s more from Charania:

  • The Rockets, who are likely to target wings on the trade market, are open to surrendering future assets for immediate help, according to Charania.
  • There has been frustration within the Hawks‘ organization about the team’s struggles this season, with Trae Young having reportedly expressed those frustrations in an “emotional” locker room scene recently, per Charania. Multiple sources tell The Athletic that a high-ranking Hawks official was recently seen telling Young that the club would be getting him some help on the roster soon.
  • Rival teams have been surprised by the Thunder‘s apparent willingness to absorb salary and longer-term contracts in potential trades, says Charania. Oklahoma City is slightly above the luxury tax line, so it wouldn’t be surprising if the club looks to reduce its team salary a little, but it seems OKC is willing to accommodate salary dumps too. That could mean, for instance, taking back a bad multiyear deal or two in exchange for an expiring contract like Danilo Gallinari‘s.
  • Wizards point guard Isaiah Thomas is expected to miss at least another week due to his calf injury, sources tell Charania.
  • While many players will become trade-eligible next Sunday (December 15), the trade market is expected to take some time to develop, according to Charania. “There are still too many teams that think they have a playoff chance,” one team executive told The Athletic, “before the true buyers and sellers emerge.”