Collin Gillespie

Pacific Notes: T. Jones, Clippers, Podziemski, Gillespie

A report last week from Michael Scotto of HoopsHype indicated that the Clippers had sign-and-trade interest in free agent point guard Tyus Jones.

However, Law Murray of The Athletic (Twitter links here) has heard differently, stating the team was “never” focused on the 28-year-old, and with Kris Dunn coming aboard, L.A. is no longer viewed as even a long-shot destination for Jones. According to Murray, the Clips are not interested in Jones “in any capacity.”

As Murray explains, the Clippers always planned to acquire Dunn, it just took a few weeks to come together. Murray suggests the rumor may have come from Jones’ camp, as he’s still seeking a new contract nearly three weeks into free agency.

Here’s more from the Pacific:

  • In part due to his strong play as a rookie and in part due to his team-friendly contract, which will pay him $3.5MM, $3.7MM and $5.7MM over the next three seasons, Brandin Podziemski holds more value to the Warriors than he would to most other teams, as Anthony Slater of The Athletic writes. “I think I can get (to an All-Star level),” Podziemski has said. “I’m never gonna just settle for being a role player.” Shams Charania of The Athletic recently reported that Podziemski’s potential inclusion in a deal for Lauri Markkanen has been a sticking point in negotiations between Golden State and Utah. According to Slater, Podziemski isn’t off limits in trade talks, but the Warriors place a high value on what he brings to the table, both in the short and long term.
  • Former Nuggets guard Collin Gillespie landed with the Suns on a two-way deal this summer. He views Phoenix as a “really good opportunity” to earn minutes at point guard, he told Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic. “I feel like I’m an elite shooter,” Gillespie said. “I can run the point guard position really well, get guys shots, especially the guys who I’ll be playing with (Kevin Durant, Devin Booker, Bradley Beal). They’re elite scorers. Just find them in spots for them to score and have the best opportunity to help us win.”
  • Gerald Bourguet of PHNX Sports takes an in-depth look at Gillespie’s game, exploring the 25-year-old’s strengths and weaknesses and discussing whether it’s reasonable to expect the former Villanova standout to play rotation minutes in 2024/25.

Suns Sign Collin Gillespie On Two-Way Deal

JULY 2: The signing is official, according to a press release from the Suns.

JULY 1: Collin Gillespie has agreed on a two-way deal with the Suns, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski tweets.

Gillespie played for the Nuggets last season but didn’t receive a qualifying offer this past weekend, making him an unrestricted free agent. The point guard appeared in 24 games with Denver last season but only averaged 9.4 minutes in those appearances.

He also appeared in 12 total regular season and Showcase Cup games with the G League’s Grand Rapids Gold, filling the stat sheets with averages of 20.4 points, 9.3 rebounds, 10.8 assists and 1.8 steals per contest.

After going undrafted in 2022 out of Villanova, Gillespie suffered a lower leg fracture. He still received a two-way contract from Denver that offseason and remained on its roster despite the injury. The Nuggets then retained him on a two-way deal for 2023/24.

Gillespie averaged 15.6 PPG for the Wildcats in his final college season, shooting 41.5% from three-point range.

FA Rumors: KCP, Pacers, Mid-Level Usage, Suns, Gillespie, Bullock

While teams with cap room have been mentioned most frequently as the top suitors for Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Mike Singer of The Denver Post (Twitter link) has continually heard the Pacers mentioned as a team to watch for the veteran swingman.

A previous report suggested that a cap-room club like the Sixers or Magic could make an oversized short-term offer (e.g. two years, $50MM) for Caldwell-Pope, but Singer says he’s heard KCP would prefer a longer-term deal.

As John Hollinger of The Athletic writes, if the Nuggets are willing to negotiate a sign-and-trade deal, a package along the lines of Aaron Nesmith and Jarace Walker might work financially, based on Caldwell-Pope’s projected salary range. However, a sign-and-trade involving Caldwell-Pope would hard-cap the Pacers at the first tax apron and the Nuggets at the second apron, so some financial creativity could be required, especially on Denver’s end.

Here are a few more free agency rumors and notes from around the NBA:

  • Within his latest round-up of rumors, Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports says not many teams around the NBA are expected to use the full mid-level exception to sign a player, since it can now be used as a de facto trade exception, so there’s some value in retaining a portion of it. Of course, even last season, before the mid-level could be used to accommodate trades, only one team used the entire amount on a single player (Toronto on Dennis Schröder).
  • The Suns have been linked to a ton of potential minimum-salary point guards, according to Fischer, who names Kyle Lowry and Monte Morris as two of the players viewed as possible targets for Phoenix. There has even been some chatter about the possibility of a reunion with Chris Paul if he’s waived by Golden State, Fischer adds.
  • After being made an unrestricted free agent by Denver, guard Collin Gillespie is expected to receive interest from the Hawks, Hornets, Suns, and Timberwolves, sources tell Fischer. Gillespie may have to accept a two-way contract and compete for a standard roster spot, Fischer adds. Darren Wolfson of 5 Eyewitness News and SKOR North (Twitter link) confirms Minnesota’s interest in Gillespie but says the team doesn’t seem likely to land him.
  • Veteran wing Reggie Bullock is unlikely to re-sign with the Rockets, sources tell Kelly Iko of The Athletic (Twitter link). According to Iko, multiple teams have interest in Bullock, who figures to be a minimum-salary target.

QO Updates: Heat, Magic, Quinones, Lundy, Williams, Nuggets

The Heat have issued qualifying offers to two of their three two-way players, announcing in a press release that they’ve made forward Cole Swider and guard Alondes Williams restricted free agents. Miami’s other two-way player, forward Jamal Cain, isn’t mentioned in the announcement, with Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald tweeting that Cain isn’t expected to receive a qualifying offer.

Because Cain has finished each of the past two seasons on a two-way contract with the Heat, his qualifying offer would have been a one-year, minimum-salary contract with a small partial guarantee, whereas the QOs for Swider and Williams will be for one-year, two-way deals.

According to Chiang, the expectation is that Cain won’t be back with the Heat next season. Not getting a QO means he’ll be an unrestricted free agent this summer.

We have more qualifying offer news from around the NBA:

  • It appears that guard Trevelin Queen will be the only Magic two-way player to receive a qualifying offer this offseason. Orlando put out a press release (via Twitter) confirming that Queen has been given a QO, making him a restricted free agent. However, swingman Kevon Harris won’t get a QO and Admiral Schofield – who also wasn’t mentioned in the Magic’s announcement – has signed to play in France next season. Harris and Schofield both would’ve been eligible for minimum-salary qualifying offers, while Queen’s QO is for another two-way contract.
  • The Warriors aren’t tendering a qualifying offer to guard Lester Quinones, per Michael Scotto of HoopsHype (Twitter link). Quinones will become an unrestricted free agent after averaging 4.4 points per game on .397/.364/.690 shooting in 37 appearances off the bench for Golden State.
  • The Hawks have made a qualifying offer to guard Seth Lundy, tweets Scotto. Lundy, who was on a two-way contract this past season, had a strong year in the G League, averaging 20.4 points per game and making 40.0% of his three-point attempts in 25 regular season and Showcase Cup contests for the College Park Skyhawks. His qualifying offer is the equivalent of another two-way deal.
  • The Rockets are issuing a two-way qualifying offer to shooting guard Jeenathan Williams, according to Scotto (Twitter link). Williams appeared in 22 games for Houston and 10 for the Rio Grande Valley Vipers in the G League in 2023/24.
  • Nuggets two-way players Collin Gillespie and Braxton Key aren’t expected to get qualifying offers from the team, so they’ll become unrestricted free agents when the new league year begins, sources tell Vinny Benedetto of The Denver Gazette (Twitter link).

NBA G League Announces Up Next Participants

A pool of 28 players has been selected for the NBA G League’s Up Next Game at All-Star Weekend in Indianapolis, the NBAGL announced in a press release.

According to the release, the event features “four teams of seven players competing in two semifinal games. The winner of each semifinal will face off in a Championship game.

“The teams will be made up of 28 NBA G League players, including 10 selected by a fan vote. The remaining 18 players will be selected by the NBA G League and will include eight members of NBA G League Ignite and at least one member of the Indiana Mad Ants, the G League affiliate of the All-Star hosting Indiana Pacers. Each team will be coached by a head coach from the NBA G League.”

Players marked with an asterisk (*) are on two-way contracts.

Fan vote:

Former Kentucky guard Hagans received the most votes.

NBAGL selections:

G League Ignite:

They aren’t currently on NBA teams, but it’s worth noting that Labissiere and Bazley are ineligible for two-way deals because they each hold four years of NBA experience. Weatherspoon (three years), Hagans (one) and Williams (one) also hold at least some NBA experience.

And-Ones: Nwaba, G. Robinson, Gillespie, Call-Ups

Former NBA wing David Nwaba is signing with the London Lions of the British Basketball League, sources tell Donatas Urbonas of (Twitter link).

After going undrafted out of Cal Poly in 2016, Nwaba caught on with his hometown Lakers. He also suited up for the Bulls, Cavaliers, Nets and Rockets from 2016-22, last playing for Houston in 2021/22.

The six-year veteran appeared in 237 regular season games during his NBA career, averaging 6.8 points and 3.7 rebounds in 19.3 minutes per game. Known for his strong frame, athleticism and defense, Nwaba has spent most of the past two seasons playing for Detroit’s G League affiliate, the Motor City Cruise.

The 30-year-old will be heading to Europe for the first time in his career.

Here are a few more odds and ends from around the basketball world:

  • Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports recently spoke to Glenn Robinson III about his NBA comeback attempt after stepping away from basketball for two years. The former second-round pick has been playing with the G League’s Wisconsin Herd (Milwaukee’s affiliate) this season, averaging 8.5 points, 4.8 rebounds and 1.3 steals while shooting 39.1% from three in 12 Showcase Cup games (23.6 minutes). Robinson holds seven years of NBA experience and has been mentoring his young teammates, according to Fischer.
  • Nuggets guard Collin Gillespie, who is on a two-way deal, was named the NBA G League’s Player of the Month for December, per Harrison Wind of DNVR Sports (Twitter link). According to Wind, Gillespie averaged 21.7 points, 9.5 rebounds and 11.8 assists in six games last month for the Grand Rapids Gold (Denver’s affiliate). The former Villanova Wildcat missed all of last season with a lower left leg fracture.
  • Keith Smith of Spotrac takes a look at some NBAGL players who could be candidates for call-ups to the NBA, with Mac McClung, Jason Preston, Ethan Thompson, Darius Bazley and Trey Jemison among the players mentioned.

Jamal Murray Sidelined By Hamstring Strain

The Nuggets will go without their backcourt star for an indefinite period.

Coach Michael Malone revealed on Monday that Jamal Murray will be sidelined for multiple games due to a right hamstring strain, according to Bennett Durando of the Denver Post.

“We’ll kind of continue to talk to our doctors, but his injury is not a one- or two-game injury,” Malone said prior to Denver’s game against New Orleans. “That’s what I do know. This will be something that will be longer than we would like.

“… You have to have the big picture in mind and make sure we’re putting him in position to get healthy before he comes back. Because this is an injury that, if you keep having recurring hamstring injuries or soft tissue injuries, they can linger and become even worse. And that’s the one thing we do not want to happen.”

Murray suffered the strain during the second quarter of Saturday’s game against Chicago.

Without him, the Nuggets will rely on veteran Reggie Jackson, who had been serving as the team’s sixth man. Two-way player Collin Gillespie and rookie second-round draft pick Jalen Pickett could see more action at the point, while shooting guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope may have more ball-handling responsibilities.

Rookie guard Julian Strawther will also see his minutes uptick. He had 21 points in 19 minutes in Denver’s victory over the Pelicans.

Of course, Denver also has the top passing big man in the game in Nikola Jokic.

Northwest Notes: Jackson, Nuggets, Towns, Edwards

Nuggets point guard Jamal Murray sustained a right hamstring strain on Saturday and has been ruled out for Monday’s contest against New Orleans. Harrison Wind of DNVR Sports expects Murray to miss a couple weeks, noting that the Nuggets are often cautious when it comes to managing injuries.

Murray being sidelined means Reggie Jackson, who had been the primary backup, will likely take over as starter. As Wind writes, Collin Gillespie and Jalen Pickett could be in line for minutes at point guard behind Jackson, with Gillespie getting the nod on Saturday.

Here’s more from the Northwest:

  • After winning their first championship in 2022/23, the 6-1 Nuggets once again lead the Western Conference and head coach Michael Malone says they aren’t resting on their laurels, according to Tony Jones of The Athletic. “I think we’re playing a very effective brand of basketball,” Malone said. “Our defense has been pretty good. Our offense, besides turning the ball over too much, has been very good. I’m always looking for improvement, so I think we can be playing so much better on both ends of the floor. But there has been no championship hangover from our guys coming into this season. There has been no thought that we can just turn it on because we’re the defending champs, and the guys deserve a lot of credit for that. They have understood the responsibility that comes along with winning a championship. And for most nights of the year, they have come out with that proper mindset and approach.”
  • The Timberwolves have the league’s best defense early on in 2023/24, but their offense looked sluggish until Saturday’s dismantling of the Jazz, writes Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic. Karl-Anthony Towns, who had been in a shooting slump, finished with a season-high 25 points (on 7-of-14 from the field and 9-of-10 from the line), while Anthony Edwards had his most efficient scoring night as well (31 points on 13-of-19 shooting). Having both former No. 1 overall picks playing well at the same time may be the biggest key to unlocking Minnesota’s offensive upside, Krawczynski notes. “They’re both hard-wired scorers,” head coach Chris Finch said. “When they see it go in a couple of times, they want to see it go in 10 times in a row. That can be a good thing, but it also can be something you gotta watch. Tonight it felt good.”
  • Edwards admits his “selfish” play has been a detriment at times for the Timberwolves‘ offense, and he’s working on impacting the game beyond just scoring, per Chris Hine of The Star Tribune. “Starting with myself, just can’t come out being selfish, worrying about however many points I wanna score,” Edwards said. “I think that’s the main thing with me. I be worried so much about scoring and how many points I got and how many points I’m tryin’ to get instead of just worrying about the little things — rebounding, boxing out, getting back on [defense]. … I think if I come out with the mentality of not worrying about points, we’ll be all right.”

Nuggets Re-Sign Collin Gillespie On Two-Way Deal

The Nuggets have retained Collin Gillespie on a two-way deal, according to the NBA’s transactions log.

Gillespie suffered a lower left leg fracture last summer but still received a two-way contract and remained on Denver’s roster despite the injury. The Nuggets extended him a qualifying offer last month, making him a restricted free agent.

An undrafted guard out of Villanova, Gillespie averaged 15.6 PPG for the Wildcats in his final college season, shooting 41.5% from three-point range. Gillespie averaged 11.3 PPG, 5.3 RPG, 4.3 APG and 1.5 SPG in four Summer League contests last year before sustaining the injury.

He saw action in four Summer League games this month, averaging 7.8 points, 4.2 rebounds, 4.6 assists and 2.4 steals in 29.7 minutes per game.

With Gillespie back in the fold, the Nuggets have filled their three two-way spots. Forward Braxton Key and center Jay Huff will reportedly take the other two spots, though those transactions aren’t yet official.

Northwest Notes: Lillard, Rupert, Reid, Gillespie

In an effort to steer Damian Lillard to the Heat, agent Aaron Goodwin has been contacting other teams and warning them not to pursue a trade with the Trail Blazers, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowksi. Several executives around the league told Wojnarowski that Goodwin is claiming Lillard won’t be happy if he gets dealt anywhere but Miami.

General managers have insisted to Woj that the tactic is fairly common and won’t impact their interest in a potential Lillard deal. He remains under contract, and the opinion throughout the league is that he’ll play equally well no matter where he winds up.

The two-year, maximum-salary extension that Lillard received last summer makes it more difficult for Portland to find value in return for its star guard, Wojnarowski adds. Although Lillard is under contract through 2026/27, his salary for that season will be more than $63MM, which a lot of teams don’t want to take onto their cap.

Some progress toward a Lillard deal could be made this week as executives gather for the Las Vegas Summer League, but Wojnarowski doesn’t expect a quick resolution. He suggests it may take most of the summer for Portland to find an acceptable offer and that Miami’s best chance could be for the process to drag on so long that other teams in the market for Lillard drop out of the bidding.

There’s more from the Northwest Division:

  • Rayan Rupert‘s new contract with the Trail Blazers is fully guaranteed for two seasons and carries a team option for the third year, tweets Michael Scotto of HoopsHype. The New Zealand Breakers star was selected with the 43rd overall pick.
  • The Spurs or Cavaliers might have offered him more, but Naz Reid was happy to bypass free agency in favor of a three-year extension with the Timberwolves, per Chris Hine of The Star Tribune. Reid was hoping to remain in Minnesota after spending his first four NBA seasons there. “I started my career here. I wanted to continue my career here,” Reid said. “I’ve gotten better each and every year here as well, so it only made sense. I didn’t want to go anywhere else and continue my journey, as far as I’ve gone. I’ve felt all my teammates and coaches and everybody has been great to me.”
  • Collin Gillespie is eager to show the Nuggets what he can do after suffering a lower left leg fracture last summer, writes Ryan McFadden of The Denver Post. Gillespie received a two-way contract and remained on Denver’s roster even though he wasn’t able to play. “When I got injured, I was like ‘Man, this is not good,’” he said. “But it just tells you about the organization (and) what kind of people they are. It’s a special organization. I was extremely grateful that they stuck with me.”