Troy Daniels

International Notes: Zizic, Nunnally, Daniels, Yabusele, Macon

Former NBA first-round pick Ante Zizic, who signed last summer with Maccabi Tel Aviv, will be returning to the Israeli club for another season, the team confirmed today (via Twitter). The 24-year-old previously spent three seasons in the NBA, all with the Cavaliers, averaging 6.0 PPG and 3.9 RPG in 113 games (13.4 MPG).

Maccabi Tel Aviv also recently announced the signing of an NBA free agent, announcing in a press release that James Nunnally was joining the team on a one-year contract with a second-year option. Nunnally has plenty of EuroLeague experience under his belt, but actually finished the 2020/21 season on an NBA roster, having signed a two-way contract with the Pelicans in April.

Here are a few more updates from the international basketball world:

  • After announcing the signing of Nicolo Melli last week, Olimpia Milano has added another veteran with NBA experience, inking shooting guard Troy Daniels to a contract, per the team. Daniels, who will turn 30 on Thursday, has played 339 NBA games for seven teams, averaging 6.6 PPG with a .395 3PT%. He last played for Denver in 2020.
  • Former NBA first-round pick Guerschon Yabusele, who played in France last season, is headed to Spain for the 2021/22 season. He has signed a one-year contract with Real Madrid, according to a team press release. Yabusele spent two NBA seasons with the Celtics , appearing in 74 games from 2017-19.
  • Panathinaikos BC has officially signed former NBA guard Daryl Macon to a one-year contract with a second-year option, the Greek club stated in a press release. A report last week indicated the move was expected to happen. Macon saw a little NBA action from 2018-20 for Dallas and Miami.

Nicolò Melli, Troy Daniels To Join Olimpia Milano?

Former NBA guard Jerian Grant recently signed a contract with Olimpia Milano, and it doesn’t appear the Italian team is done acquiring players with NBA experience.

According to a pair of reports from Emiliano Carchia of Sportando, Olimpia Milano is also on track to sign veteran power forward Nicolò Melli and is close to reaching a deal with free agent shooting guard Troy Daniels.

Melli, 30, played for Olimpia Milano from 2010-15 and has spent time with a handful of other European clubs since beginning his pro career in 2007. He made his NBA debut in 2019 with the Pelicans and has since appeared in a total of 105 games (15.3 MPG) for New Orleans and Dallas, averaging 5.0 PPG, 2.9 RPG, and 1.2 APG on .392/.316/.745 shooting.

Melli was involved in the March trade that sent J.J. Redick from the Pelicans to the Mavericks and played a part-time role for Dallas down the stretch. However, it seems his NBA career won’t continue, as the 6’9″ Italian sounds poised to return home. Melli is also expected to play for Italy in the Olympics later this month after helping the team earn a spot in last week’s qualifying tournament.

Daniels, meanwhile, has appeared in 339 career regular season NBA games, but didn’t catch on with a team for the 2020/21 season. His last stint in the NBA came in ’19/20, when he averaged 4.3 PPG on .387/.348/.625 shooting in 47 games (11.3 MPG) for the Lakers and Nuggets.

If Daniels finalizes a deal with Olimpia Milano, it’ll be his first time playing overseas, Carchia notes.

Austin Rivers Receiving Interest From Nuggets

The Nuggets have some interest in free agent guard Austin Rivers, league sources tell Mike Singer of The Denver Post. Rivers is one of a handful of available guards being eyed by the Nuggets, according to Singer, who previously identified Troy Daniels and Gerald Green as a couple other veterans on the team’s radar.

Denver focused on upgrading its frontcourt at the trade deadline, acquiring Aaron Gordon from Orlando and JaVale McGee from Cleveland. However, those deals put a dent in the club’s backcourt depth, as Gary Harris and R.J. Hampton were among the outgoing pieces.

Since then, the Nuggets have signed Shaquille Harrison to a two-way contract, but they still have one opening on their 15-man roster and they intend to fill it sooner or later. A 10-day signing is a possibility, per Singer.

As Singer explains, COVID-19 protocols have complicated the process of bringing in players for workouts and auditions, which is slowing down Denver to some extent. Additionally, the Nuggets would like to find a player who could be relied upon down the stretch and in the postseason if needed, but who would be content with not seeing much – or any – playing time on a typical night. It’s unclear if Rivers fits that bill.

Rivers began the season with the Knicks, averaging 7.3 PPG, 2.2 RPG, and 2.0 APG with a .430/.364/.714 shooting line in 21 games (21.0 MPG). The 28-year-old fell out of the team’s rotation though, and was eventually sent to Oklahoma City at the trade deadline. The Thunder subsequently waived him. While Milwaukee was rumored to be a potential landing spot for Rivers, the Bucks signed Jeff Teague instead and haven’t circled back to Rivers so far.

Nuggets Notes: Frontcourt, Murray, Daniels, Morris

A pair of trades at the deadline have left the Nuggets with a logjam in the frontcourt and not enough playing time to go around, writes Mike Singer of The Denver Post. The team added Aaron Gordon and JaVale McGee to a talented group that already had Nikola Jokic and Michael Porter Jr. seeing heavy minutes.

“That’s my biggest challenge right now,” coach Michael Malone said. “You have Paul Millsap, who’s been a starter here for four years. You have JaVale McGee, who we traded for at the trade deadline, and you have JaMychal Green, who we pursued heavily in free agency. All those guys bring value to our team, but it is truly impossible to play all three.”

Malone indicated he plans to rest Millsap on the second night of back-to-backs, which applies to five of the 20 games the Nuggets have remaining. Singer believes the odd man out could be Green, who signed with the team in November and has a $7.56MM player option for next season.

“They’ve all been very professional, I have to say that,” Malone said. “It’s not easy. I don’t think any of them love the situation, but what trumps everything is this. We’re trying to win a championship. We need all 15 guys in that locker room. It’s about sacrificing and investing in each other if that is truly our goal. The guys have been tremendous with their professionalism. As long I communicate with them, I think they’ll continue to be that way.”

There’s more from Denver:

  • Jamal Murray has missed the past three games with a sore right knee, but Malone isn’t worried that it will be a long-term issue, Singer tweets. Murray is listed as questionable for Sunday’s game with the Celtics.
  • The Nuggets are looking at a pair of NBA veterans to fill the roster spot they opened this week by waiving Gary Clark. Shooting guard Troy Daniels, who signed with Denver last March, is a name that Singer says he has heard floated repeatedly (Twitter link). Daniels, 29, appeared in six games for the Nuggets last season, with five coming at the restart in Orlando. He also saw limited action in six playoff games. Denver is also considering 35-year-old shooting specialist Gerald Green, Singer adds (via Twitter). Green was in training camp with the Rockets in December, but was waived before the season began. He missed all of last season with a broken foot.
  • After a brief stay in the starting lineup, Monte Morris asked Malone if he could return to a reserve role, tweets Chris Dempsey of Altitude Sports. Morris has started 11 of the 40 games he has played this season, but is more comfortable coming off the bench.

Troy Daniels Navigates Through Unprecedented Year In Search Of Next Opportunity

Free agent guard Troy Daniels, a seven-year veteran, has spent every season of his career on an NBA roster since going undrafted in 2013. After signing a summer league deal with Charlotte as a rookie to jump-start his career, he’s since made stops with seven teams — the Rockets, Timberwolves, Hornets (again), Grizzlies, Suns, Lakers, and – most recently – the Nuggets.

Even for Daniels, who’s grown accustomed to adjusting to new circumstances, 2020 has been an unusual year. In addition to stints with both the Lakers and Nuggets, Daniels – like others around the world – has had to navigate the coronavirus pandemic, adapting to the habits of wearing a mask and social distancing while staying ready for his next professional opportunity.

“It’s been a roller coaster ride, to say the least,” Daniels told Hoops Rumors in a phone interview. “A lot of ups and downs throughout the whole year, not just the pandemic. Literally everything. Me leaving the Lakers, heading to Denver; roller coaster ride for sure. 

“Sometimes you just have to roll with the punches. My career has been built on that — being traded twice in one year, people not believing in me coming out of college — I’ve always risen to the top. I think my career’s been built on that, and I think even this year’s a testament to how I could overcome anything.”

Daniels remains an unrestricted free agent, waiting for a call to start his eighth NBA season. He’s known for being an elite shooter, averaging 6.6 points per game on 39.5% shooting from three-point range over the course of 339 career games. Perhaps his best season came in 2017/18, when he averaged 8.9 points and 20.5 minutes in 79 contests with the Suns.

Last season, Daniels signed with the Nuggets in March (a week before the league went on hiatus), playing five games with the club in the Orlando restart and another six in the playoffs.

Before joining Denver, Daniels spent half the season with the eventual champion Lakers, appearing in 41 games for the club. He earned the respect of LeBron James and Anthony Davis during his stay in Los Angeles, consulting both superstars on his decision to eventually leave the team and join the playoff-bound Nuggets.

Both the Lakers and Nuggets — who competed against each other in the Western Conference Finals — had deep backcourts. As a result, Daniels didn’t receive significant playing time from either club, but the opportunity to compete for a title was too good to pass up for the former VCU standout.

With the 2020/21 regular season around the corner, Daniels is one of several veteran players still available on the open market. The 29-year-old told Hoops Rumors he feels he can help a team seeking a “great locker room guy” who can provide stability and floor-spacing in the backcourt.

“I shoot the ball at very high level, at the highest level in the sport,” Daniels said. “And also [I’m] just a guy that’s not getting into too much trouble or anything like that. I’m not going to challenge the front office decisions or anything of that nature. I’m just a guy that comes in, gets his work in, helps the young guys out and I’m out of there. Really your ultimate vet, a pro’s pro. I’ve been doing that my whole career and even in college. I feel like I’ve built my career on being a pro’s pro.”

Daniels’ on- and off-court contributions have made an impression on his peers around the league. This past weekend, Jamal Crawford — one of the NBA’s most highly-regarded veterans — posted a message in response to a video of Daniels working out: “One of the best shooters in the NBA period. Great attitude, worker, team guy. True vet!”

Daniels also spent a significant amount of time improving his body this offseason, working to eat healthier, tracking his calories and maintaining a disciplined training routine.

My focus [this year] has been on being in a lot better shape than usual,” he said. “In previous training camps, I’m usually in shape, but I’m not in true game-shape. It’s especially hard to get in that game-shape. You can’t be in game-shape unless you’re actually playing the games, but I wanted to be over and above for this year.”

While getting into world-class physical shape has been a priority, Daniels has made an effort not to take the mental side of things – both on the court and off – for granted, and is focused on keeping a positive mindset as he prepares for his next opportunity.

“You could go to a gym and do all of that work, but if your mind’s not right or your head’s not in the right space, then [your production] will never be to the extent that you want it to be,” Daniels explained. “And, you know, meditating, taking at least an hour to have a quiet room, making sure you’re in the right space, being positive about things even if you don’t want to be — that gets me through the day. That gets me through the year across the board for everything.

“My mindset is what helps me shoot at a high level. I have to go into every game knowing that I might not play this game. But if my number gets called, I’m gonna make sure I’m ready and my mind is right, or I’m cheering my teammates on. Those types of things get you in the space needed to perform at a high level.”

Through each of the highs and lows in his career, plus any uncertainty that’s come with it, one thing has never changed in Daniels’ approach to success: staying prepared.

“It’s very, very important to stay ready,” he said. “Even if you’re in the league right now, that should be your job. There are only a handful of superstars in the NBA. The rest are guys that are role players. So you have to always be ready to go when your number’s called, even if you’re playing 15 minutes, 20 minutes or whatever the coach asks you to do. That’s something that I’ve personally built my career on: always being ready. I’ve never had the luxury to know where I want to play, but I’ve always had that luxury in my mind to say, ‘Hey, when I do get out there, I’m gonna be ready’. That’s just how I train.”

You’d be hard-pressed to find someone who questions Daniels’ passion, focus or commitment. Despite his immediate future being unclear, one thing is for certain: when the call does eventually come his way, it’s safe to say he’ll be ready.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Western Notes: Wiggins, Nurkic, Daniels, Davis

Warriors coach Steve Kerr sought input from Tom Thibodeau after the team acquired Andrew Wiggins back in February, Marc Berman details in a story for the New York Post.

Thibodeau, who coached Wiggins in Minnesota from 2016-19, gave Kerr advice on how to maximize Wiggins’ game and playstyle. Golden State traded for Wiggins in a deal that shipped away D’Angelo Russell, acquiring a wing they hope can succeed alongside Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green.

“We had just traded for Andrew Wiggins and he was really helpful,’’ Kerr said. “I had a long conversation with [Thibodeau] about Andrew. He gave me some good advice on ways to connect with Andrew, how much he enjoyed coaching him and why. We’ve gotten to know each other over the years. [Thibodeau has] been very helpful to us.”

The Timberwolves fired Thibodeau in January of 2019 after he reportedly failed to connect with a number of his players. Wiggins didn’t appear to be one of these players, however, as Kerr explained. It’s a vital reason why Kerr was elated to hear Thibodeau’s advice, along with how he’s a proven, veteran NBA coach.

“He showed some X’s and O’s and went over some actions they ran for [Wiggins],” Kerr said. “Some of the things they were trying to do. The thing with Tom is he’s a workaholic, loves the X’s and O’s, loves breaking down film and takes great joy in it. Our staff values his opinion.’’

“What is apparent is he and Andrew had a great relationship and Andrew said that as well. I know Andrew told me he really enjoyed playing for him and appreciated his commitment. When a coach knows his stuff and gets along with his players, he’s got a great chance to succeed. I think Tom’s got a great shot.’

Here are some other notes from the Western Conference:

  • The Blazers are rallying around Jusuf Nurkic as his grandmother battles COVID-19, Jason Quick of The Athletic writes. Nurkic learned the news last week and immediately urged his grandmother to visit a hospital. “I think people don’t realize that s— is real out there, man,” Nurkic said. “We’ve been fortunate to be here and in a safe environment, being tested every day, but please … take care of yourself. Wear your damn mask … if you are outside, by yourself, do what you got to do. But if you are inside … protect people.”
  • Nuggets guard Troy Daniels discussed his time with the Lakers, his path to Denver and more in an interview with Mike Singer of the Denver Post. Daniels was waived by the Lakers on March 1 and signed with the Nuggets four days later. “Early in my years, my agent used to tell me, he said it’s always good to be wanted,” Daniels said. “It’s good to feel wanted, and I want to be where I’m wanted.”
  • The Lakers could benefit from keeping Anthony Davis active by ensuring that he gets plenty of shots, Anthony Slater of The Athletic writes. Davis scored just 14 points in the team’s loss against Toronto on Saturday, shooting just 2-of-7 from the field. However, he believes he made the right decisions based on how the Raptors were guarding him. “We didn’t shoot the ball extremely well tonight at all from the field or from 3, which kind of let them continue with their game plan of doubling me,” Davis said. “I think if we had made a couple of shots, then they would’ve definitely changed a little bit.” 

Nuggets Notes: Campus, Bol, Vonleh, Daniels

The Nuggets have yet to relay to reporters exactly how many of their players are in Orlando, according to Kendra Andrews of The Athletic (Twitter link). Bench guard Troy Daniels indicated today that between eight and ten players are currently available to the team in the Disney World campus. Thus, there may be at least seven players who have yet to join the club.

Per reporting from Monday, Gary Harris, Michael Porter Jr., and Torrey Craig number among the absent players. To the relief of all Nuggets fans, Denver superstar Nikola Jokic, who tested positive for the coronavirus while in Serbia, has already rejoined the team in Orlando for the NBA’s season restart.

There are more notes from Denver:

  • Due to the aforementioned shorthanded Nuggets roster, 7’2″ rookie center Bol Bol, who has yet to log any time with Denver this season, may make his season debut during the NBA restart, according to Mike Singer of the Denver Post. Bol noted to reporters that he has been playing out of position during team practices due to the absences. “With not so many people, you can get placed anywhere,” Bol said. “There were some times, like today, I was playing at the three.”
  • Nuggets big man Noah Vonleh has new representation, says Singer (Twitter link). Vonleh will now be represented in all negotiations, marketing and publicity by Tandem Sports/You First Sports. Vonleh, a free agent this fall, was traded to Denver from the Timberwolves midseason, and has played sparingly (4.3 MPG) in four games for his new club.
  • New Nuggets sharpshooting guard Troy Daniels, inked to Denver just six days ahead of the league’s coronavirus-related pause, has enjoyed his tenure with the team in Orlando, according to Eric Spyropoulos of “It’s been a rollercoaster ride for me and this is an unprecedented time, so it’s tough to get used to it,” Daniels said. “But the guys have been great, coaches are great and everything’s been smooth for me.” The journeyman three-point specialist, who started the 2019/20 season with the Lakers, will be a deep-bench option on a loaded roster.

Northwest Notes: Weaver, McCollum, Daniels, Jazz

Thunder VP of basketball operations Troy Weaver turned down an interview during the second round of Chicago’s search for a new head of basketball operations because he considered it a “token offer,” tweets Marc J. Spears of the Undefeated. Someone in the Bulls organization told Weaver that Arturas Karnisovas was likely to be hired to fill the role, and he didn’t want to go through the process with little chance to get the job, Spears adds.

That contradicts a report from earlier this week suggesting that Oklahoma City declined permission for Chicago to talk to Weaver, who is African American. The Bulls came under criticism this week for seemingly not including any black candidates in their front office search.

There’s more from the Northwest Division:

  • Like many NBA players, Trail Blazers guard CJ McCollum is trying to find ways to stay ready for a resumption of the season even though he doesn’t have access to a basketball court, writes Casey Holdahl of “I’m still working out so I’m holding out hope that we’re going to be able to come back at some point. Honestly, I have no idea, I think it’s a coin flip,” McCollum said. “… I’m continuing to put my head down and work as if we’re returning here shortly. I think that’s how you have to approach a situation like this. There’s 24 hours in a day, plenty of time for me to still get some work in, work on other sectors and things I’m interested in.”
  • Troy Daniels didn’t get an opportunity to establish himself with the Nuggets before the hiatus began, notes Arash Markazi of The Los Angeles Times. Daniels was waived by the Lakers on March 2 after agreeing to a buyout, then signed with Denver on March 5, which was six days before the season was suspended. He got into one game and played just one minute during his time with the Nuggets. “We were playing when we found out (about the shutdown) so I didn’t know if we were going to stop but we kept going, and as soon as it was over everyone was talking about it in the locker room,” Daniels said. “We were supposed to go to San Antonio that night but we went back to Denver. That’s when I knew it was serious.”
  • Andy Bailey of Bleacher Report suggests five potential trades if the Jazz can’t resolve the reported rift between Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert. Bailey sees the Knicks, Mavericks and Bulls as possible destinations for Gobert, while the Thunder and Nuggets may be able to swing a deal for Mitchell.

Northwest Notes: Conley, Grant, Reid, Daniels

Jazz guard Mike Conley has finally regained his health and is reminding everyone just how talented he is, Aaron Falk of writes.

Conley recorded 25 points, five assists and three steals in a road victory over the Celtics on Friday, demonstrating his value at the point guard position.

“It’s just funny how people work,” teammate Donovan Mitchell said of Conley, as relayed by Falk. “Y’all can continue to hate and say what y’all want. I see it. I know he does, too. But that’s Mike Conley. He’s a Hall-of-Famer, one of the best to play at his position.”

Utah acquired Conley from Memphis last July in exchange for Kyle Korver, Jae Crowder, Grayson Allen, the draft rights to Darius Bazley and a protected first-round pick, solidifying its backcourt by pairing him and Mitchell together.

Conley had a slow start to the 2019/20 season, but the 32-year-old has increased his production in recent weeks as the team gears up for a playoff push. In total, he has averaged 13.9 points, 4.3 assists and 0.8 steals in 28.4 minutes per contest.

“There’s way less thinking,” Conley said of his team’s recent surge. “I’m just playing the game. After playing together for a while now, I’m feeling in charge, knowing how you can put guys in position to be successful and make plays, knowing what times in the game that I can be aggressive.”

There’s more out of the Northwest Division today:

  • Nuggets forward Jerami Grant is fitting in seamlessly with the team, Mike Singer of the Denver Post writes. “We’ll see how it goes in the offseason,” said Grant, who holds a $9.3MM player option for next season. “It’s definitely all situational, but I’m definitely comfortable here. I love my teammates, love the coaches, everything.”
  • The Timberwolves are rallying around rookie big man Naz Reid as he continues his impressive play, Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic writes. “Naz is great,” teammate James Johnson said. “Right now he’s not focused on one aspect of the game, he’s doing so many things that stats won’t ever show or that fans won’t ever see. The locker room feels it. Real basketball fans feel it. I’m sure you guys feel it. He keeps doing that, his job’s going to get more and more and his responsibilities are going to be more and more and he’s going to be ready for it.”
  • Eric Spyropoulos of examines what Troy Daniels could bring to the Nuggets, with Denver signing the 28-year-old to a contract this past week. Daniels, known as a valuable three-point threat during his NBA career, is expected to provide depth off the bench as the Nuggets gear up for a postseason run.

Nuggets Sign Troy Daniels

MARCH 5: The Nuggets have officially signed Daniels, the team announced today in a press release.

MARCH 4: Denver is finalizing a deal with former Lakers guard Troy Daniels, tweets ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

Daniels was waived by L.A. on Sunday night after he and his agent, Mark Bartelstein, worked out a deal with the team. He cleared waivers earlier today. Daniels is a career 39.7% shooter from 3-point range and will give the Nuggets another deep threat off the bench. He will be eligible for the playoffs because he was waived by the March 1 deadline.

Denver was able to sign Daniels with the money it saved when Jordan McRae was claimed by the Pistons, notes Bobby Marks of ESPN (Twitter link). Daniels will make $481K over the rest of the season and the Nuggets will have a $385K cap hit. That salary is in addition to the $2MM he receives from the Lakers.

Daniels averaged 4.2 PPG in 41 games with the Lakers after signing a minimum-salary contract last summer. Denver will be his seventh team in a seven-year career.