Mason Plumlee

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.

Trail Blazers GM Talks Plumlee, Nurkic, Trades

The Trail Blazers made a move earlier this week, acquiring Jusuf Nurkic and a 2017 first-round pick from the Nuggets in exchange for Mason Plumlee and a 2018 second-rounder. While many pundits praised the Blazers for the deal, Plumlee’s teammates were sad to see him go, and there are questions about whether Nurkic will have any more of an impact in Portland than he did in Denver.

General manager Neil Olshey spoke to the team’s official website on Monday about the deal, explaining why he was willing to move Plumlee, what he expects from Nurkic, and what else the team might do before February 23.

Let’s round up a few highlights from the Blazers GM…

On the decision to move Plumlee:

“Mason’s impending free agency was certainly a factor. We love Mason, we’re going to miss him around here. We wouldn’t have been in the second round of the playoffs last year without him. But there are certain realities to managing our cap. We felt like we needed to get younger at the center position. We wanted more of a low-post player, someone that can defend size, strength. We found that with Jusuf.”

On the benefits of acquiring Nurkic:

“We felt like in the long run, this will pay longer dividends, having a younger guy on a rookie-scale [contract] to manage our cap with it. He gives us a different look defensively. He’s a big-time rebounder and I think he’ll make the game easier for guys like [Damian Lillard] and [C.J. McCollum] because we’ve got more presence in the paint now defensively.”

On additional trade talks:

“We’re active. … I can’t speak to any specifics. I can tell you that the league is very active right now, but what we’re most excited about is having three picks in this draft. I think we’ve done a very nice job in the draft so far, whether it’s using draft picks to acquire players – like we did with Robin Lopez or Mason Plumlee – or drafting guys like Dame and C.J. and [Allen Crabbe]. So we’re excited about the prospect of that. It’s a big-time draft, it’s got incredible depth. We’ll be excited about it in June, but we now also have those tools for the next 10 days to put into play if a player that’ll impact our win total becomes available.”

On how the Blazers’ loaded salary cap affects their outlook going forward:

“This roster was always going to be a work in progress. We have the benefit of having Paul Allen as an owner. He let us retain all of our players. It wasn’t realistic to think we could manage that cap going forward, but it put us in position to keep as much as possible [and] give ourselves a chance to compete, knowing at some point we’re going to have to make some moves.”

Trail Blazers Trade Mason Plumlee For Jusuf Nurkic

FEBRUARY 13: The Nuggets and Blazers have officially completed their trade, according to a press release from Denver. The Nuggets get Plumlee, a 2018 second-round pick, and cash considerations from Portland in exchange for Nurkic and Memphis’ 2017 first-round pick.

FEBRUARY 12: The Trail Blazers will send Mason Plumlee and a 2018 second-round pick to the Nuggets in exchange for Jusuf Nurkic and a 2017 first-round pick, tweets Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical. The first-rounder will be the Memphis pick that Denver owns.

The deal gives Portland three first-rounders is what is considered to be a strong draft. In addition to their own pick, the Blazers also own Cleveland’s first-rounder.

The trade also eases the luxury tax predicament for Portland, as Plumlee was set to become a restricted free agent this summer, notes Bobby Marks of The Vertical (Twitter link). The team wasn’t able to work out an extension with Plumlee before the October deadline. Portland still has about $130MM in guaranteed contracts for next season (Twitter link).

Plumlee was in the middle of his second season with the Blazers after two years in Brooklyn. He appeared in 54 games, all as a starter, and was averaging 11.1 points, 8.0 rebounds and 4.0 assists per night.

Nurkic, a third-year big man, began the year as a starter but was moved to the bench after a twin towers approach with Nikola Jokic was deemed a failure. He played in 45 games, starting 29, and was averaging 8.0 points and 5.8 rebounds per contest. Denver exercised his team option for 2017/18 in October.

Western Notes: Williams, LaVine, Plumlee, Afflalo

Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle did not hesitate to insert veteran point guard Deron Williams into the starting lineup despite the emergence of rookie  Yogi Ferrell, Tim MacMahon of ESPN.com reports. Carlisle called Williams “a better player” than Ferrell, adding that Williams was “playing at close to All-Star caliber” before a toe injury sidelined him for eight games, MacMahon adds. Williams played 16 minutes in a blowout victory over the Magic on Saturday night, contributed seven points, four assists and three steals. Ferrell, who earned a two-year contract while filling in for Williams, played 32 minutes off the bench with Williams on a minutes restriction.

In other news around the Western Conference:

  • Timberwolves shooting guard Zach LaVine will undergo surgery to reconstruct the torn ACL in his left knee on Tuesday, according to a league press release. Lavine, who suffered the season-ending injury driving to the basket against the Pistons on Friday, February 3rd, was averaging 18.9 PPG and 3.0 APG. Brandon Rush and Shabazz Muhammad have shared the shooting guard spot since LaVine was sidelined.
  • The Nuggets got the better of the pending trade with the Blazers, Ben Golliver of SI.com opines. While it’s unlikely that the pairing of Nikola Jokic and Mason Plumlee would work defensively, it gives Denver coach Michael Malone the ability to establish a clear offensive identity across his rotations if Plumlee is used in a backup role, Golliver continues. The Blazers were smart to get something now for Plumlee, who will become a restricted free agent, before he became too expensive to keep but the return of Jusuf Nurkic and a first-rounder the Grizzlies owed the Nuggets was modest, Golliver adds.
  • Kings guard Arron Afflalo is getting some minutes at point guard due to injuries, Jason Jones of the Sacramento Bee writes. Afflalo has not played the point since high school but is unfazed by the situation, Jones adds. “It’s not really that much different; it’s just making sure the team gets into a play, into a set,” Afflalo told Jones. “I’m pretty familiar with the sets, and a lot of our spots are interchangeable.”

Northwest Notes: Aldrich, Westbrook, Plumlee, Hood

Cole Aldrich, who signed a three-year, $22MM deal with the Wolves over the summer, was brought in to be a veteran mentor to the younger guys on the team and he’s enjoying his role, as he tells Michael Rand of The StarTribune. “Well, with [Jordan Hill], myself, [Brandon Rush] and we had John Lucas earlier in the year, it’s fun to have those guys and the young guys,” Aldrich said. “The teams we were on last year, we were all on older teams, playoff teams. Being able to bring our experience from those teams to a younger group of guys has been a lot of fun.”

More from around the Northwest…

  • Several of Mason Plumlee‘s teammates had adverse reactions to Sunday’s trade, Casey Holdahl of NBA.com reports. “I mean, the business sucks man,” Damian Lillard said. “You wish you could get a team together and put pieces together and you can keep it together. You wish you had the power to keep it together regardless of anything. It happens this way sometimes.” Plumlee, who was dealt to the Nuggets in exchange for Jusuf Nurkic, had become an “adept playmaker” under coach Terry Stotts. “He’s [Plumlee] just a glue guy that you want on your team,” C.J. McCollum said. “He’s a guy who does things the right way, never complains and he’s getting better. He put together a nice string of 20, 25 games to where he’s getting double-doubles, making his free throws, finishing in the lane. And he’s a good guy. That’s what matters the most, he’s a good guy.”
  • Kevin Durant continues to get the best of Russell Westbrook, Connor Letourneau of the San Francisco Chronicle writes. KD is averaging 37.7 points against OKC this season, a span in which the Warriors have gone 3-0. Despite the loss, Westbrook appeared to enjoy the home crowd’s mental warfare against Durant. “Honestly, I used to get booed in all arenas,” Westbrook said. “So, you know, the tables have turned a little bit.”
  • Chris Haynes of ESPN was critical of Westbrook’s demeanor in Saturday’s rivalry game, writing: “That miniature exchange exemplified Durant’s frustration in playing alongside Westbrook for those eight years with the Thunder. It was always, “I’m coming. I’m coming.” Meanwhile, the team wasn’t going anywhere.” Whereas Westbrook pursued lofty stats, Haynes writes, Durant always prioritized winning.
  • Rodney Hood, who has been out of action since February 1 due to a right knee injury, is expected to return after the All-Star break, the Jazz announced on its official website. Hood has averaged 13.7 points with 3.6 rebounds through 40 games in 2016/17.

Nuggets Notes: Plumlee, Okafor, Draft Picks

Earlier today, Denver agreed to trade for Mason Plumlee, who will be a restricted free agent after the season. The team will retain Plumlee’s rights in restricted free agency this summer and that was a major draw for the Nuggets, as Chris Dempsey of The Denver Post relays (Twitter links). The Nuggets will have the right to match any offer sheet Plumlee signs during the offseason, but Dempsey expects them to re-sign him without having to go that route.

Here’s more from the Northwest:

  • The Nuggets are no longer in talks with the Sixers for Jahlil Okafor, Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer reports. Denver was one of four teams reportedly in talks with Philadelphia for the big man.
  • The Nuggets will receive a 2018 second-round pick from the Blazers as part of the Plumlee deal. Mark Porcaro (Twitter link) notes that the Blazers have already given the Kings the right to swap second-rounders with them in that draft, which means Denver is likely to receive the lesser of the two picks.
  • Dempsey (Twitter link) believes that Plumlee has the ability to play the power forward spot next to Nikola Jokic and he can envision the Nuggets using that combination. Plumlee has expanded his game this year, as I wrote in a recent edition of Fantasy Hoops.

Northwest Notes: Thibodeau, Lucas, Oladipo, Blazers

Managing expectations is one of the challenges Tom Thibodeau faces in his first year as coach of the Timberwolves, writes Jerry Zgoda of The Star Tribune. Many observers thought Minnesota was poised to become playoff contender with a proven coach joining forces with young stars Karl-Anthony Towns, Andrew Wiggins and Zach LaVine. But the Wolves have started slow, winning just seven of their first 25 games, and Thibodeau keeps reminding them to ignore outside influences. “Those are all projections,” he said. “Sometimes they’re high and sometimes they’re low. The thing is not to get wrapped up in that and to understand where you are and the improvement you have to make. Also, every year is different. Teams change. Personnel changes on every team and you have to understand what goes into winning.”

There’s more from the Northwest Division:

  • Veteran Wolves guard John Lucas III is squaring off against his father tonight for the first time in his NBA career, notes Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle. Lucas III earned a roster spot in Minnesota in the preseason, while the elder Lucas serves as head of player development for the Rockets.“It’s good to see him being back doing the thing he loves to do, being around the game. He’s enjoying it. I like seeing him back out there, passing on his knowledge,” Lucas III said.
  • The Thunder’s only plan regarding Victor Oladipo‘s injury is to re-evaluate him every day, according to Brett Dawson of The Oklahoman. Oladipo hasn’t played since suffering a wrist sprain Sunday, and no timetable has been set for his return“I think a lot of times people want to know when he’s gonna be back, and to be honest with you, we don’t know,” said coach Billy Donovan. “I’m not saying he’s gonna be out for months. I’m not saying weeks or days. But I think what happens is, if you say, ‘He’s gonna be back this day’ and he’s not, people start to draw conclusions.”
  • The Trail Blazers need to turn some of their frontcourt surplus into a swingman who can play defense or a big man who can score, writes Josh Martin of Bleacher Report. He mentions Mason Plumlee, Ed Davis, Noah Vonleh and Meyers Leonard as possible trade candidates.

Extension Rumors: Plumlee, Hardaway, Zeller

Trail Blazers big man Mason Plumlee doesn’t expect to get a new deal done today, per Joe Freeman of The Oregonian (Twitter link). “Unless I go to my phone and my agent has something unexpected for me, there’s not going to be an extension,” Plumlee said. Agent Mark Bartelstein said earlier today that there was “no news” on the Plumlee front, Freeman notes (via Twitter). Still, the 26-year-old would like to remain in Portland long-term (Twitter link via Freeman).

Here are a few more updates and rumors on extension talks around the NBA, with tonight’s deadline looming…

Latest On Extension Negotiations

The Thunder is negotiating extensions with representatives for Steven Adams and Victor Oladipo, Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical reports (on Twitter). Discussions are in the $100MM range for Adams, and the $80MM range for Oladipo. Our own Luke Adams examined the extension candidacy of Adams recently, while Arthur Hill looked at Oladipo’s situation.

[RELATED: Players eligible for rookie-scale extensions]

There’s more extension chatter as the October 31st deadline draws near:

Mason Plumlee Extension With Blazers Unlikely

The odds are against center Mason Plumlee reaching a rookie scale extension agreement with the Trail Blazers before Monday’s deadline, tweets Jason Quick of CSNNW. If no deal is reached, Plumlee will become a restricted free agent next summer, which Quick says wouldn’t be a surprise.

Plumlee is beginning his second year with Portland and his fourth in the NBA. He is making $2,328,530 this season.

Plumlee started all 82 games for the Blazers in 2015/16 after coming to the team in a deal with the Nets. He averaged 9.1 points, 7.7 rebounds and 2.8 assists in a little more than 25 minutes per game.

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