Malik Beasley

Five Rookie Scale Options That May Not Be Exercised

Team and player options on veteran contracts must be exercised by the end of June before the new league year begins on July 1, but the same rules don’t apply to team options in rookie scale contracts. First-round picks who signed standard rookie contracts have third- and fourth-year options included in their deals, and those options must be exercised – or declined – seven months early.

The deadline for rookie scale option decisions is October 31, which means that teams have about another month to decide whether to pick up those options for the 2019/20 season.

It’s an unusual structure, one that forces teams to make decisions before seeing how their players will perform on the court that season. Last fall, for instance, the Magic turned down their fourth-year option on Mario Hezonja for 2018/19. Hezonja subsequently enjoyed his best season as a pro, and instead of entering the final year of his rookie contract with Orlando, he was able to hit the open market and secure a larger salary with the Knicks.

Cases like Hezonja’s are rare, however. For the most part, teams will exercise their rookie scale options, particularly third-year options. Third-year options are generally pretty affordable, and decisions are due after a player has been in the NBA for just one season, so clubs are reluctant to give up on their first-round picks that early.

Still, while many of this year’s rookie scale option decisions will be no-brainers, there are at least a small handful of players who aren’t locks to have their options picked up. Here’s a look at five players who fall into that category:

  1. D.J. Wilson, Bucks (third year, $2,961,120): Wilson had some good games in the G League last season, but his overall NBAGL numbers were just okay for a first-round pick, and he only played 72 minutes in 22 NBA games. As noted above, teams often don’t give up this early on first-round picks, and Wilson’s cap charge is affordable enough that it’s probably worth securing him for at least one more year. This isn’t a slam-dunk though.
  2. Malachi Richardson, Raptors (fourth year, $2,581,597): When the Raptors sent Bruno Caboclo to Sacramento in exchange for Richardson at last season’s trade deadline, it reduced their 2017/18 payroll and increased their flexibility to make a move on the buyout market. But it also meant taking on Richardson’s guarantee for 2018/19, while Caboclo’s contract expired. Richardson seems unlikely to have any sort of role this season on a deep, talented Toronto team, and with the club at risk of being in the tax again in 2019/20, I don’t expect the Raps to lock in Richardson for another year.
  3. Guerschon Yabusele (third year, $3,117,240): While the “Dancing Bear” has no shortage of fans in Boston, it’s hard to see how he’ll earn playing time in a frontcourt that features Al Horford, Aron Baynes, Semi Ojeleye, Daniel Theis, and first-rounder Robert Williams — especially if Jayson Tatum and/or Gordon Hayward see significant minutes at the four. Yabusele has promise, but with the Celtics now in the tax, it might make sense to use his roster spot on a minimum-salary player starting in 2019/20.
  4. Malik Beasley, Nuggets (fourth year, $2,731,714): Denver’s lack of reliable backcourt depth bodes well for Beasley, who could parlay a solid Summer League showing into a regular backup role at shooting guard. The Nuggets don’t have serious tax concerns for 2019/20, so exercising Beasley’s modestly-priced option wouldn’t be a major risk. Still, it would be an easier decision if he’d shown more improvement in his sophomore season. Instead, he posted just 3.2 PPG on 41.0% shooting in 62 games in 2017/18.
  5. Justin Patton, Timberwolves (third year, $3,117,240): After missing nearly all of his rookie season due to foot problems, Patton has undergone another foot procedure this month, raising some doubts about his availability for the 2018/19 season. Nonetheless, I expect the Timberwolves will want to give Patton another chance to get healthy before cutting their losses on him, particularly since he may soon be the lone piece remaining from last summer’s trade with the Bulls.

For a full breakdown of this year’s decisions on 2019/20 rookie scale options, click here.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Nuggets Notes: Season Outlook, Barton, Lyles, Beasley

Offensive prowess and chemistry could carry the Nuggets to the playoffs, Jordan Hicks of Basketball Insiders declares in his detailed season preview.  They finished sixth last season in points per game and fifth in assists and that should only improve with the free agent addition of Isaiah Thomas, Hicks continues. They also have a handful of core players who have been together for at least one season and their 0n-court chemistry is a major plus, Hicks adds.

We have more on the Nuggets:

  • Swingman Will Barton should move into the lineup at small forward, the first time he’s had a full-time starting spot, according to Nuggets insider Chris Dempsey. Barton re-signed with the club this summer on four-year, $53MM contract and that spot opened up when Denver traded away Wilson Chandler to the Sixers. Barton will essentially give the Nuggets a three-guard lineup, a look that was highly effective for them a season ago, Dempsey notes.
  • Forward Trey Lyles could be the team’s breakout player this season, Dempsey writes in another profile. Lyles could average 25 or more minutes per game and will be counted on, along with Thomas, to provide scoring punch off the bench, Dempsey continues. Lyles excelled in nearly every offensive action last season, Dempsey notes, providing the best combination of 3-point shooting and post-ups other than Nikola Jokic.
  • Shooting guard Malik Beasley is poised to see an uptick in minutes, Dempsey predicts in still another player profile. Beasley showed defensive tenacity during summer league games and he’s worked diligently on his jump shooting and ball-handling, Dempsey adds. Beasley appeared in 62 games last season but averaged just 9.5 MPG.

Scotto’s Latest: Pelicans, Gordon, Carroll, Nuggets

Before sending Omer Asik to Chicago, the Pelicans explored trading the veteran center to a number of other teams, according to Michael Scotto of The Athletic. League sources tells Scotto that the Hawks and Pelicans recently talked about a deal that would have sent Asik and a first-round pick to Atlanta in exchange for Marco Belinelli and Ersan Ilyasova.

The Mavericks discussed a deal that would have seen them take on both Asik and Alexis Ajinca – along with a first-round pick – in exchange for Wesley Matthews, but Dallas was hesitant to take on two undesirable multiyear contracts, says Scotto.

Additionally, the Pelicans proposed a pair of trades to the Lakers, according to Scotto, who reports that one would have sent Asik and a first-round pick to L.A. for Jordan Clarkson, while the other would have sent Ajinca and a second-round pick to the Lakers for Julius Randle. That second deal could technically still happen, but I can’t imagine it would appeal to the Lakers.

Scotto’s piece for The Athletic is jam-packed with more noteworthy trade rumors, so let’s dive in and round up some highlights…

  • The Magic‘s front office has “left no stone unturned” as the team explores potential trades. Scotto hears that the club has even quietly gauged trade interest in Aaron Gordon, who will be a restricted free agent this summer. I imagine Orlando would require a pretty overwhelming offer to seriously consider moving Gordon.
  • Several teams have expressed interest in Nets forward DeMarre Carroll, according to Scotto, who identifies the Heat as one of those teams.
  • As we heard on Thursday, the Bulls are still very much open for business. Robin Lopez is a trade candidate, but Chicago wants a first-round pick in a deal for the veteran center, per Scotto.
  • Scotto names Malik Beasley, Kenneth Faried, and Emmanuel Mudiay as trade candidates for the Nuggets, noting that the team could be a suitor for Jazz guard Rodney Hood.
  • Hood isn’t the only Jazz guard who could be available at the deadline — Scotto hears that Utah has also explored the trade market for Ricky Rubio.
  • Several teams are monitoring Pistons forward Stanley Johnson. Scotto notes that Johnson was one player the Magic coveted when they discussed deals with Detroit earlier in the season, and adds that the Spurs have interest too.
  • Speaking of the Spurs, they’re one of the teams – as are the division-rival Mavericks – that has expressed interest in Knicks center Willy Hernangomez.
  • The Wizards are keeping an eye on the trade market and buyout market for a backup point guard, writes Scotto.
  • Fourth-year forward Noah Vonleh has been shopped by the Trail Blazers, according to Scotto. In addition to keeping tabs on DeAndre Jordan, Portland is also interested in acquiring a small forward.
  • Executives around the NBA believe that Raptors swingman Norman Powell could be a trade candidate during the offseason due to the emergence of rookie OG Anunoby.

Northwest Notes: McCollum, Wolves, Sefolosha

In a conversation with TNT’s David Aldridge at NBA.com, Trail Blazers guard C.J. McCollum discussed his club’s performance so far, his shoe deal with Li Ning, Jusuf Nurkic‘s impact on the Blazers, and several other topics. Among those topics? Portland’s relatively quiet offseason. While McCollum has confidence in the Blazers’ core group, he acknowledged to Aldridge that he did make an effort to recruit Carmelo Anthony when the All-Star forward was on the trade block.

“I mean, I figured why not? Why not recruit someone you think can help your team?” McCollum said. “I just told him the truth. … I told him one time how he could help [the Trail Blazers], and that was basically the end of it. I felt like when someone’s a free agent and you know them and you’re around them, you need to share how you think they can help you and how you think you can help them. They have the right to make their own decision, and I think he’s happy where he’s at, and I wish him the best except when they play us.”

Here’s more from around the Northwest:

  • After making a series of veteran additions in the offseason, the Timberwolves entered the 2017/18 campaign with the ninth-oldest roster in the NBA. So far, in the view of Jim Souhan of The Star Tribune, that veteran leadership has paid major dividends in Minnesota. Souhan refers to the roster as not only the best in franchise history, but “the most mature.”
  • Speaking of veteran leadership, the Jazz feel like they’re benefiting from the presence of free agent signee Thabo Sefolosha, with coaches and teammates alike referring to the swingman has a strong leader. “Leadership is something that can’t be forced,” head coach Quin Snyder said, per Eric Woodyard of The Deseret News. “I think people have to want to follow you. You have to be able to lead them a direction that’s productive and [Sefolosha’s] experience and intelligence allow him to.”
  • After playing just 165 total minutes in his rookie season, Malik Beasley has been a more regular part of the Nuggets‘ rotation early this season. As Gina Mizell of The Denver Post details, Nuggets head coach Michael Malone likes the confidence and aggressiveness he’s seeing from 2016’s 19th overall pick.

Northwest Notes: Nuggets, Beasley, Thunder

The new Nuggets frontcourt has gotten off to a slow start this season but that doesn’t mean Nikola Jokic and Paul Millsap won’t figure it out eventually. As Buddy Grizzard of Basketball Insiders writes in a feature exploring the duo’s production thus far, the club is committed to building something special.

It initially seemed inevitable that Jokic’s passing abilities would make Millsap’s life easier scoring in the post. A boost in efficiency down low, however, hasn’t yet materialized.

Over the course of his first 10 games with the Nuggets, Millsap has averaged 15.2 points and 6.7 rebounds per contest. That’s down from his last year averages of 17.1 and 7.7, respectively, with the Hawks.

There’s more from the Northwest Division:

  • The Trail Blazers will host the Thunder in a Sunday tilt, the first appearance either Carmelo Anthony and Paul George will make in Portland this season. As Mike Richman of The Oregonian writes, the franchise actively pursued both over the course of the summer, to no avail.
  • The Nuggets are starting to incorporate sophomore Malik Beasley into their rotation. Dennis Chambers of Basketball Insiders spoke with the 20-year-old about vying for a consistent role.
  • The Thunder have struggled in the clutch, Erik Horne of The Oklahoman writes, thanks in no small part to the 6.3 rebounds per game the club allows its opponents to pull down in the final five minutes. That mark sits dead last in the league and the club is 29th in opponent’s field-goal percentage during that stretch, too.

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.

Nuggets Notes: Booth, Beasley, Sponsor

Earlier today, the Nuggets agreed to terms with Calvin Booth, making the former decade-long NBA veteran the team’s assistant general manager, according to

Booth played for seven teams during his 10-year NBA career, which included a stint with the Wizards while current Nuggets president of basketball operations Tim Connelly worked there, Krawczynski notes. It has been a season of turnover in the Denver front office as several notable hirings, promotions, and departures transpired.

Owner Josh Kroenke promoted Arturas Karnisovas to general manager and Connelly to president in mid-June; the Magic lured Pete D’Alessandro out of Denver; and the Pelicans hired assistant coach Chris Finch away to serve in the same capacity.

The Nuggets are a young team with a bright future and the clear direction has been to set up for the future with solid talent and an incumbent front office staff.

Below are additional tidbits surrounding the Nuggets:

  • The Nuggets announced a three-year partnership with Western Union to feature the company’s logo on the team’s uniform, Nick Kosmider of the Denver Post writes. With the deal, Western Union becomes the 11th company to be featured on an NBA team’s uniform. Per Kosmider’s report, the Nuggets also said another major announcement is coming next week, which could be related to Nike’s new deal with the league.
  • Nuggets guard Malik Beasley joined The Hoops Hype Podcast with Alex Kennedy to discuss his career, summer league play, the team’s offseason moves and more.

NBA D-League Assignments/Recalls: 4/2/17

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

  • The Rockets have recalled Isaiah Taylor and Troy Williams from their affiliate in Rio Grande Valley, the team tweeted. Neither has appeared in a game yet for Houston, but Williams will be used as a starter tonight, according to Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle (Twitter link).
  • The Nuggets have recalled Malik Beasley from Sioux Falls, the team announced on its website. The rookie guard, who has played 16 games for the Skyforce, will be available for tonight’s contest at Miami.
  • The Cavs recalled Larry Sanders from the Canton Charge, the team announced on its official website (link). Sanders, who has averaged eight rebounds with six points in the D-League, will presumably be available for tonight’s match-up with the Pacers. The former Buck has gone scoreless in two NBA appearances in 2016/17.

NBA D-League Assignments/Recalls: 3/22/17

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

  • The Nuggets have assigned Malik Beasley to their D-League affiliate, the Sioux Falls Skyforce, according to a team press release. This will be Beasley’s sixth assignment this season.
  • The Bulls have recalled Cameron Payne from the Windy City Bulls, according to a team press release. Payne played for Chicago’s D-League affiliate on Tuesday, scoring 22 points in 25 minutes.
  • The Raptors have recalled Pascal Siakam from their D-League affiliate, the Raptors 905, according to the team’s Twitter feed. Siakam is one of several 2016 first-rounders whom have been sent to the D-League this season, as Luke Adams of Hoops Rumors details.
  • The Cavaliers have assigned Kay Felder to the Canton Charge, according to the team’s website. Felder has appeared in nine games for Cleveland’s D-League affiliate, scoring 30.4 points per game.
  • The Warriors have assigned Kevon Looney to the Santa Cruz Warriors, according to the team’s website. Looney has appeared in three games for the Warriors’ D-League affiliate this season.

NBA D-League Assignments/Recalls 3/13/17

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

  • The Nuggets recalled Malik Beasley from the Siux Falls Skyforce, the team announced on its official website (link). Beasley’s most recent NBA action came against Golden State on February 13, going scoreless through seven minutes.
  • The Raptors recalled Bruno Caboclo from Raptors 905, the team announced via Twitter (link). Caboclo has averaged 9.9 points over 31 games in the D-League this season.
  • The Clippers recalled Brice Johnson from the Salt Lake City Stars, the team announced via Twitter (link). Johnson, who has been sidelined with a herniated disk in his back for much of the season, has averaged nine points over three games in the D-League.