Collin Gillespie

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.”

Nuggets, Hunter Tyson Agree To Four-Year Deal

The Nuggets are signing rookie second-round pick Hunter Tyson to a four-year, $7.7MM contract, reports Mike Singer of The Denver Post (Twitter link). The first three seasons are guaranteed, according to Singer, with a fourth-year team option.

As with Jalen Pickett, a fellow rookie second-rounder, the Nuggets are using the new second-round pick exception to complete the signing. That enables them to offer a four-year deal.

Tyson spent five college seasons with Clemson before Denver selected him 37th overall in last month’s draft. The 23-year-old had by far his best season in 2022/23 as a “super senior,” averaging 15.3 points and 9.6 rebounds on .479/.405/.835 shooting in 34 games (34.7 minutes) for the Tigers.

The Nuggets will have 15 players on standard deals once their third draft pick, first-rounder Julian Strawther, signs his rookie scale deal, Singer notes (via Twitter). Collin Gillespie, who missed his entire rookie season following a leg fracture last summer, is expected to return on a two-way deal and play regularly, per Singer. Gillespie is a restricted free agent after he was given a qualifying offer.

Cameron Johnson, Coby White Among Players Receiving QOs

A series of players have been issued qualifying offers by their respective teams, making them restricted free agents, according to RealGM’s official NBA transaction log.

Nets forward Cameron Johnson and Bulls guard Coby White are among the most notable QO recipients within the last couple days. Johnson’s qualifying offer is worth $8,486,620, while White’s is worth $7,744,600.

For many restricted free agents, qualifying offers essentially function as placeholders, giving the team the right of first refusal on the player as long as that QO remains on the table.

It’s also a one-year contract offer that the player is free to accept at any time, which is a more viable route for some RFAs than others — Johnson, for instance, looks like a safe bet to secure a lucrative multiyear deal, so it would be a major surprise if he simply accepted his $8.5MM qualifying offer.

Besides Johnson and White, here are some of the players who have received qualifying offers this week and are now restricted free agents, per RealGM:

The deadline for teams to issue qualifying offers is Thursday, so we’ll likely get many more updates on QOs being extended to players today and tomorrow.

Nuggets Plan To Keep Gillespie Despite Injury

The Nuggets plan to retain rookie Collin Gillespie even though the rookie is expected to miss a chunk of next season due to a leg injury, according to Mike Singer of the Denver Post.

Denver signed the undrafted guard out of Villanova to a two-way contract in early July. Late last month, Gillespie suffered a lower left leg fracture and underwent surgery. He was at his alma mater, helping out with a team practice, when the injury occurred.

Gillespie’s father stated that he expected his son to return to the court “in five or six months.”

The Nuggets intend to support Gillespie, who has become a favorite of coach Michael Malone, throughout his recovery, Singer writes.

He averaged 15.6 PPG for Villanova last 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.

Northwest Notes: Gillespie, Edwards, Thunder, Micic

The lower left leg fracture that Nuggets two-way guard Collin Gillespie underwent surgery on last week occurred while he was at his alma mater of Villanova helping out with a team practice, his father Jim Gillespie told Mike Jensen of The Philadelphia Inquirer.

“He was dribbling up court on fast break and someone in a trail position dove to take the ball away but got his leg,” Jim said in a text message. “Surgery was (Friday) and all the doctors feel he will (make) a full recovery.”

It’s a tough setback for the younger Gillespie, who went undrafted in June but quickly caught on with the Nuggets on a two-way deal that would likely have seen him splitting his time between the NBA and the Grand Rapids Gold, Denver’s G League affiliate. Jim told Jensen that his son will “hopefully (be) back on the floor in five or six months.”

Here’s more from around the Northwest:

  • In an entertaining conversation with Zion Olojede of, Timberwolves guard Anthony Edwards said that one of his goals for his third NBA season is to be an All-Star starter. Edwards also said he felt like the Wolves “handed” the Grizzlies their first-round playoff series this spring. “It was like taking candy from a baby and they took the candy,” Edwards said. “We had every game won, man, and I don’t know what happened.”
  • Unlike the Sixers, who recently announced their plans for a privately funded arena development project, the Thunder will likely be seeking public funds when they begin formally working on a new arena of their own, writes Jenni Carlson of The Oklahoman (subscription required). As Carlson writes, the franchise can use the threat of relocation as leverage to seek money from the city, whereas that approach wouldn’t work in Philadelphia. Carlson estimates that we’re probably still eight to 10 years away from the Paycom Center being replaced.
  • In his latest mailbag for The Oklahoman, Joe Mussatto discusses Theo Maledon‘s tenuous future with the Thunder, whether Darius Bazley or Derrick Favors will still be on the team by season’s end, and Vasilije Micic‘s trade value. Mussatto believes Oklahoma City should be willing to trade Micic’s rights for a single second-round pick, since he gets the sense the EuroLeague star is using the threat of a move to the NBA to earn bigger contracts overseas.

Nuggets’ Collin Gillespie Underwent Surgery For Leg Fracture

Nuggets two-way guard Collin Gillespie suffered a lower left leg fracture earlier this week and underwent surgery Friday night in Philadelphia to repair it, according to a team press release.

Gillespie was signed to a contract during the first week of this month after going undrafted.

He averaged 15.6 points per game for Villanova last 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.

With Gillespie out indefinitely, it’s possible the Nuggets will look for another two-way option. They already have 20 players on their camp roster, according to our latest count.

Nuggets Sign Christian Braun, Peyton Watson, Collin Gillespie

The Nuggets have signed first-round draft picks Christian Braun and Peyton Watson to their rookie contracts, the team announced in a press release. Denver also officially signed undrafted Villanova guard Collin Gillespie to a two-way contract.

Braun, 6″7″, was drafted No. 21 overall last month. He helped Kansas win the NCAA championship this past season, averaging 14.1 points and 6.5 rebounds in 34.4 minutes per game. He also shot 49.5% from the floor and 39% from downtown during those outings. Assuming the usual 120% of the rookie scale, his deal will be for four years and $13.77MM.

Watson, 6’8″, was selected with the final pick of the first round. He played 32 games with UCLA as a freshman last season, ranking second on the team in blocked shots. He’s also only 19 years old. His deal is expected to be worth $11.27MM across four years.

Gillespie agreed to a two-way deal with Denver shortly after the draft. He averaged 15.6 points per game for Villanova last season, shooting 41.5% from three-point range. Gillespie, Braun and Watson are all set to play for the team during summer league this month.