Mason Plumlee

Northwest Notes: Nuggets Draft, Plumlee, Ingles, Beasley

The Nuggets’ front office has focused on the draft during the hiatus and they could prioritize perimeter shooting, Nick Kosmider of The Athletic writes. Vanderbilt’s Aaron Nesmith, Villanova’s Saddiq Bey, Alabama’s Kira Lewis Jr. and Arizona’s Josh Green are among the wings who could be available with Denver’s first-round pick. The Nuggets traded away their pick but own the Rockets’ first-rounder, which currently puts them at No. 21 or 22 overall.

We have more from the Northwest Division:

  • Mason Plumlee is a luxury that the Nuggets may not be able to afford after this season, according to Mike Singer of the Denver Post. The reserve center is a steady contributor due to his rebounding, passing and ability to finish on the break. He was also a featured piece in their defensive lineups but Plumlee will be an unrestricted free agent this offseason and financial constraints may force the club to let him walk.
  • Jazz swingman Joe Ingles plans to return to Australia when he retires but he’s not sure what the future holds when his current contract expires, according to Aaron Falk of the team’s website. “My whole plan was to play out my deal and make a decision after that,” Ingles said. “But if it’s time to go home and put them in school and settle down, that’s obviously my first priority. It’s not whether I want to keep playing. It’s a family deal.” Ingles is signed through the 2021/22 season, including a one-year, $13MM extension he signed last October.
  • Guard Malik Beasley has already made his way into the Timberwolves’ long-term plans, Chris Hine of the Minneapolis Star Tribune writes. Beasley averaged 20.7 PPG in 14 games after he was acquired from the Nuggets. Beasley is noncommittal. “Right now it’s tough to decide for anything,” Beasley said. “We don’t even know if we’re playing or not, so it’s just tough to decide that.” Minnesota, which also holds Beasley’s Bird Rights, only has to extend a $3.9MM qualifying offer to make Beasley a restricted FA.

USA Basketball Announces 44 Finalists For 2020 Olympic Roster

USA Basketball has formally announced a preliminary group of 44 players who are candidates to be part of the program’s roster for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.

The final roster will only consist of 12 players, so most of these finalists won’t actually play for Team USA at the Olympics. Some will likely withdraw from consideration, while others simply won’t make the final cut. However, these players have all expressed interest in being involved in the process.

“This is the first step in USA Basketball identifying the 12 players who will represent the United States as members of the 2020 U.S. Olympic Men’s Basketball Team in Tokyo,” said USA Basketball managing director Jerry Colangelo.

“… Over the course of the remainder of the NBA season we’ll continue to monitor all of the athletes. Selecting the 12-man USA roster will obviously be an extremely challenging and difficult process, and we will again attempt to select the very best team possible to represent our country and who we hope will be successful in our difficult mission of repeating as Olympic champions for a fourth consecutive Olympics.”

Although the U.S. men’s team has won three consecutive Olympic gold medals, the program had a disappointing showing at last year’s World Cup, finishing in seventh place. Team USA will be looking for a bounce-back performance in Tokyo this summer, with many players from that World Cup squad among the 44 finalists announced today.

Here’s the full list of players who are candidates to play for Team USA at the 2020 Olympics:

  1. Bam Adebayo (Heat)
  2. LaMarcus Aldridge (Spurs)
  3. Harrison Barnes (Kings)
  4. Bradley Beal (Wizards)
  5. Devin Booker (Suns)
  6. Malcolm Brogdon (Pacers)
  7. Jaylen Brown (Celtics)
  8. Jimmy Butler (Heat)
  9. Mike Conley (Jazz)
  10. Stephen Curry (Warriors)
  11. Anthony Davis (Lakers)
  12. DeMar DeRozan (Spurs)
  13. Andre Drummond (Cavaliers)
  14. Kevin Durant (Nets)
  15. Paul George (Clippers)
  16. Draymond Green (Warriors)
  17. James Harden (Rockets)
  18. Montrezl Harrell (Clippers)
  19. Joe Harris (Nets)
  20. Tobias Harris (76ers)
  21. Gordon Hayward (Celtics)
  22. Dwight Howard (Lakers)
  23. Brandon Ingram (Pelicans)
  24. Kyrie Irving (Nets)
  25. LeBron James (Lakers)
  26. Kyle Kuzma (Lakers)
  27. Kawhi Leonard (Clippers)
  28. Damian Lillard (Blazers)
  29. Brook Lopez (Bucks)
  30. Kevin Love (Cavaliers)
  31. Kyle Lowry (Raptors)
  32. JaVale McGee (Lakers)
  33. Khris Middleton (Bucks)
  34. Donovan Mitchell (Jazz)
  35. Victor Oladipo (Pacers)
  36. Chris Paul (Thunder)
  37. Mason Plumlee (Nuggets)
  38. Marcus Smart (Celtics)
  39. Jayson Tatum (Celtics)
  40. Klay Thompson (Warriors)
  41. Myles Turner (Pacers)
  42. Kemba Walker (Celtics)
  43. Russell Westbrook (Rockets)
  44. Derrick White (Spurs)

Northwest Notes: Whiteside, Nuggets, Towns, Wiggins, Dort

The Trail Blazers will entertain offers for center Hassan Whiteside, a free agent after the season, and The Athletic’s Jason Quick estimates the chances of him being traded at 50/50. Quick also dealt with a few other Blazers-related topics.

Their recent trade with the Kings which involved five players and two second-round picks was a solid one, according to Quick, because the Trail Blazers saved approximately $12MM and upgraded at the wing with Trevor Ariza replacing Kent Bazemore. Portland is unlikely to deal its first-round pick because president of basketball operations Neil Olshey covets draft choices, even if the draft class is considered weak, Quick adds.

We have more from around the Northwest Division:

  • The Nuggets will continue to be without three rotation players when they face the Grizzlies on Tuesday, Harrison Wind of DNVR Sports tweets. Starting point guard Jamal Murray will miss his sixth straight game due to an ankle sprain while power forward Paul Millsap will sit out for the 11th consecutive game due to a knee injury. Backup big man Mason Plumlee will miss his fourth straight game due to a foot ailment.
  • Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins get the blame when things aren’t going well with the Timberwolves but the players around them need to do more, Kent Youngblood of the Minneapolis Star Tribune writes. Guard Shabazz Napier told Youngblood that the role players need to do their jobs better. “This team is so used to KAT and Wigs doing all the work that when it doesn’t happen, we just stand around,’’ Napier said. “That’s how it is. We just gotta find ways to help them guys out. … We all, the role players, have to figure out, how do we help them out better?’’
  • Undrafted rookie guard Luguentz Dort has earned playing time with the Thunder for his defense while showing more of an offensive game, Maddie Lee of The Oklahoman relays. Over the last five games, Dort is averaging 7.2 PPG and 1.8 APG while shooting 5-for-12 on 3-pointers and making seven steals. “You can’t tell me he’s a rookie,” guard Chris Paul said of the two-way player.

Western Notes: Vanderbilt, Burks, Drummond, Howard

Nuggets reserve forwards Jarred Vanderbilt and Vlatko Cancar could be the beneficiaries of Mason Plumlee‘s misfortune, according to Mike Singer of the Denver Post.

Plumlee will be out 2-4 weeks with a foot injury. Vanderbilt, a 2018 second-round pick, had played in 13 G League games and four with the NBA club this season. Cancar had appeared in seven Nuggets games entering Wednesday’s action.

“Just find ways, that’s our biggest challenge right now,” Nuggets coach Michael Malone said of Plumlee’s injury. “Don’t waste an ounce of energy on the guys that can’t play, let’s figure out who can play and go out there, fight and give ourselves a chance.”

We have more Western Conference news:

  • Alec Burks is the Warriors’ most valuable trade chip and the team is likely to make at least one deal before February’s deadline, Monte Poole of NBC Sports Bay Area relays. The versatile wing, who scored 33 points on Monday, is making just $2.32MM this season. Several teams in recent weeks have expressed interest in Burks, according to Poole.
  • Detroit’s Andre Drummond, Sacramento’s Nemanja Bjelica, Cleveland’s Tristan Thompson and Kevin Love and San Antonio’s Jakob Poeltl are potential trade targets for the Mavericks, Callie Caplan of the Dallas Morning News writes. The Mavs are seeking help in the wake of Dwight Powell‘s season-ending injury.
  • In an unusual decision for a player of his age, Dwight Howard has decided to participate in the Slam Dunk Contest during All-Star weekend, according to a league press release. Howard, who has turned into a valuable member of the Lakers’ bench, participated in three previous dunk contests early in his career but hasn’t been in one since 2009.

Mason Plumlee Out 2-To-4 Weeks With Foot Injury

The Nuggets expect center Mason Plumlee to miss two weeks to a month because of an injured right foot, tweets ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

Plumlee has been diagnosed with a cuboid injury, according to Mike Singer of The Denver Post. He rolled the right foot after landing on a Timberwolves player during the first half of Monday’s game, but later returned to action. He said after the game that he received treatment from the training staff and X-rays didn’t reveal any damage.

“I just came down on someone’s foot,” he said. “X-rays were good.”

It’s the latest in a series of injuries for the Nuggets, who are already without Jamal Murray, Paul Millsap and Gary Harris. It should result in more playing time for Jerami Grant and maybe extra minutes for Michael Porter Jr.

Through 43 games, Plumlee is averaging 7.4 points and 5.6 rebounds in about 17 minutes per night.

Nuggets Notes: Bol, Malone, Rotation, Porter, Craig, Murray

The Nuggets have recalled rookie center Bol Bol from the G League but they’re not burning any of the 45 days he’s allotted to spend in the NBA on his two-way contract, according to Mike Singer of the Denver Post.

Bol is expected to remain with the Nuggets for a couple of weeks but won’t practice or play before being sent back down to the Windy City Bulls. He’ll be listed as out due to “injury management” for his surgically repaired left foot, Singer adds. Bol has averaged 11.5 PPG, 6.5 RPG and 2.3 BPG in less than 17 MPG with Windy City.

We have more on the Nuggets:

  • The league has instituted coach’s challenges this season but like many of the men who patrol the sidelines, Michael Malone likes to save his challenge for crunch time, Eric Spyropoulos of the team’s website notes. “As you see it kind of play out, most coaches like to keep it (the challenge) in their pocket for late game situations. The only time I can see using it early is if you’re trying to protect a great player (from foul trouble),” Malone said.
  • The Nuggets have plenty of depth, which has created a pleasant dilemma for Malone on a game-by-game basis, Nick Kosmider of The Athletic points out. Mason Plumlee, Monte Morris and Jerami Grant have defined reserve roles but Torrey Craig, Juancho Hernangomez, Michael Porter Jr. and Malik Beasley have seen major fluctuations in playing time. “It’s not easy from a player or coach’s standpoint,” Plumlee said. “But I’ll say guys have handled it as well as any team I’ve been on.”
  • Porter has appeared in 10 games, averaging 3.8 PPG in 9.0 MPG, and Malone hopes to expand his role, according to John Hollinger of The Athletic“I have to find ways to play him this year,” Malone said. “This cannot be a wasted year for him.”
  • Craig has lost playing time but he’s not creating any problems in the locker room, Singer relays in a separate story“We all get along, we’re all happy for each other when each other have success,” he said. “I’m not one to sit here and pout when my teammates are doing good. If they’re doing good and we’re winning, I’m happy.”
  • Jamal Murray will play for Team Canada next summer, Michael Grange of Sportsnet Canada reports. Canada will host an Olympic qualifying tournament in Victoria, B.C. in late June, and then head to Tokyo if the team snags one of the six remaining spots in the 12-team Olympic tournament.

Free Agent Stock Watch 2019: 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:

Danilo Gallinari, Thunder, 31, SF (Up) – Signed to a three-year, $64.7MM deal in 2017
Gallinari’s biggest issue has been staying out of the trainer’s room. His 68 regular-season appearances with the Clippers last season was his most since the 2012/13 season. But when he’s healthy, he can fill it up. He’s averaging 19.1 PPG and 5.1 RPG while shooting 41.3 percent from deep. When he gets to the free throw line, he’s money (at least 90 percent since 2016/17). At 31, Gallinari still has a few more good years left and will get a hefty long-term offer next summer.

Mason Plumlee, Nuggets, 29, C (Up) – Signed to a three-year, $41MM deal in 2017
Plumlee doesn’t stretch defenses like a majority of big men these days but he does enough to stay on the court. He’s the team’s fourth-leading rebounder despite averaging 16.6 MPG. He’s also adept at finding teammates (2.3 APG). Plumlee’s role figures to diminish if 2018 first-round Michael Porter Jr. starts to make a bigger impact but for now, Plumlee has a steady second-unit role on a contender. However, his annual salary will take a big dip next summer.

Jordan Bell, Timberwolves, 24, PF (Down) – Signed to a one-year, $1.62MM deal in 2019
The Timberwolves can make Bell a restricted free agent by extending a $2.0MM qualifying offer in June. Thus far, Bell hasn’t done anything to make them want to keep the former Warriors big man around for another season. He’s been glued to the bench through the first month of this season, playing a total of eight minutes since November 4th. Noah Vonleh and Gorgui Dieng are ahead of him in the rotation off the bench, so Bell’s role won’t expand unless injuries strike.

Kent Bazemore, Trail Blazers, 30, SG (Down) – Signed to a four-year, $70MM deal in 2016
Bazemore was acquired from the Hawks in exchange for another veteran swingman, Evan Turner. The trade has been a lose-lose situation for both teams. Neither has made an impact on their current teams. Bazemore is averaging single digits for the first time since the 2014/15 season despite steady playing time (23.6 MPG). He’s shooting 34.6 percent from the field and his PER is 8.7. That’s not exactly the way Bazemore wanted his walk year to unfold. He’ll be settling for a sizable pay cut next summer.

Jeff Green, Jazz, 33, PF (Down) – Signed to a one-year, $2.56MM deal in 2019
Green is the quintessential journeyman, seemingly popping up on a different team every season. Normally, he puts up solid numbers wherever he lands. That hasn’t the case through the first 14 games this season. Green has been in a shooting slump, making just 33 percent of his attempts. He shot over 47 percent for Cleveland and Washington the past two seasons, so a breakout might be imminent. If not, Green’s rotation spot could be in jeopardy when Ed Davis‘ fractured leg heals.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Northwest Notes: Grant, Conley, Olson, Gasol

Jerami Grant is expected to start the season as the Nuggets’ backup power forward but he’ll also see time at center, Mike Singer of the Denver Post reports. Grant was traded by the Thunder to Denver for a first-round pick.

“I think Jerami Grant can play (center),” Nuggets head coach Michael Malone said. “Jerami’s ability to screen and roll, finish around the basket, catch passes in traffic and make plays from that, he’s really, really good in that regard.”

A small-ball lineup with Grant at center would cut into Mason Plumlee’s minutes in the Nuggets’ frontcourt, Singer notes.

We have more from the Northwest Division:

  • Mike Conley has asserted himself as a team leader in the first week of the Jazz’s camp, Eric Walden of the Salt Lake Tribune writes. Utah is hoping that the longtime Grizzlies point guard will be the player that pushes the franchise to new heights.  Memphis traded Conley to Utah in a multi-player deal. “It’s unusual that you trust a player so quickly, but he’s earned that,” coach Quin Snyder said. “That’s who he is.”
  • The Jazz have named Jim Olson president of the franchise and Larry H. Miller Sports & Entertainment (LHMSE), according to a team press release. Olson, who has been in the organization for 25 years, had been the executive vice president for LHMSE and president of Vivint Smart Home Arena. He’ll oversee the day-to-day business operations of the Jazz.
  • Pau Gasol has embraced a mentoring role with the Trail Blazers, according to an Associated Press report. Gasol, who signed a one-year deal to join Portland, is hopeful to be ready by opening night as he rehabs from foot surgery but he’s asserting himself in camp in other ways. “I hope to add leadership on and off the court, experience and also quality of play,” he said. “I’m excited after a difficult health year, frustrating. I’m excited to just work on my body and be healthy so I can do what I do on the floor and just have fun with the guys and compete, and play as hard as I can.”

World Cup Notes: Exhibition, Australia, Free Agency, Clarkson

Team USA got the test it was hoping for in today’s exhibition matchup with Australia, writes Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press. Playing before more than 51,000 fans in Melbourne, the Americans trailed briefly in the second and third quarters before pulling away for a 102-86 victory.

“One of our big mantras has been ‘composure and poise,’” coach Gregg Popovich said. “Things are going to go the other way in some games. And the way you respond to that is really the measure of how you’re going to do.”

Popovich put together a challenging exhibition schedule to test his team before World Cup play officially starts at the end of the month. After facing second-ranked Spain last week, Team USA is playing a pair of games against Australia, then taking on Canada.

There’s more World Cup news to pass along:

  • Before the game, Popovich told reporters he sees Australia as a legitimate threat for the gold medal, per an Associated Press story. The Boomers feature several NBA players and have a core that has been together for a long time. “They are one of the teams that can win the whole thing, without a doubt,” Popovich said. “I’m not saying that because I’m here. It’s just a fact. They’ve been close for several years, and they are hungry. They are talented. They have the toughness and physicality to go with it. I think they are one of the top contenders.”
  • International play has frequently set up future free agent moves, notes Douglas Farmer of Basketball Insiders. He singles out Jayson Tatum and Donovan Mitchell as two players who could work well together, although both are expected to sign rookie scale extensions with their current teams, so that partnership may not be formed until 2027. Among 2020 free agents, Mason Plumlee and Joe Harris are both role players who could be valuable in the right situation. Farmer expects the four Celtics on the World Cup team to talk to Plumlee about coming to Boston, while Khris Middleton and Brook Lopez may sell Harris on the Bucks.
  • Cavaliers guard Jordan Clarkson won’t be part of the Philippines team, relays Emiliano Carchia of Sportando. The nation included Clarkson’s name on the 19-man pool it submitted to FIBA just in case he was declared eligible, but head coach Yeng Guiao announced Wednesday that the team is moving on without him.

Team USA Updates: Millsap, Plumlee, Harrell, Select Team

USA Basketball has issued a press release announcing a series of updates relating to the team it’s putting together for the 2019 World Cup in China, as well as the training camp that will take place in August before that event. Here are the highlights of that announcement:

More withdrawals:

Nuggets big man Paul Millsap has joined the ever-growing list of players from Team USA’s initial 20-man roster who have decided not to participate in this year’s World Cup. As expected, Cavaliers power forward Kevin Love has also withdrawn from Team USA’s 2019 roster.

Millsap and Love join Bradley Beal, Anthony Davis, Eric Gordon, James Harden, Tobias Harris, Damian Lillard, and CJ McCollum among the original invitees who have removed their names from World Cup consideration.

New invitees:

Team USA confirmed that Thaddeus Young, Marcus Smart, Julius Randle, and Jaylen Brown will join the training camp roster for next month, as previous reports indicated.

In addition to those four players, two big men will join the roster as well, with Clippers center Montrezl Harrell and Nuggets center Mason Plumlee have received invitations from USA Basketball. Assuming the remaining 11 players from the original 20-man roster remain committed, that would bring the roster back up to 17.

[UPDATE: Harrell may turn down his invitation]

Those 11 other players are Harrison Barnes, Andre Drummond, Kyle Kuzma, Brook Lopez, Kyle Lowry, Khris Middleton, Donovan Mitchell, Jayson Tatum, P.J. Tucker, Myles Turner, and Kemba Walker.

Select Team:

For the first time, USA Basketball confirmed the players who will make up the Select Team at next month’s training camp in Las Vegas. The members of the 13-man Select Team will practice and scrimmage with Team USA’s training camp invitees, and will be coached by Jeff Van Gundy.

It’s possible that a player could be elevated from the Select Team to the primary roster and eventually find his way onto the 12-man squad that will play in China, but that’s probably a long shot.

The 13 players who will play for the Select Team are as follows:

  1. Jarrett Allen (Nets)
  2. Marvin Bagley III (Kings)
  3. Mikal Bridges (Suns)
  4. Jalen Brunson (Mavericks)
  5. John Collins (Hawks)
  6. Pat Connaughton (Bucks)
  7. De’Aaron Fox (Kings)
  8. Joe Harris (Nets)
  9. Jonathan Isaac (Magic)
  10. Mitchell Robinson (Knicks)
  11. Landry Shamet (Clippers)
  12. Derrick White (Spurs)
  13. Trae Young (Hawks)

Team USA’s training camp will take place during the week of August 5, while the World Cup itself is scheduled to run from August 31 to September 15.