Torrey Craig

Nuggets Have Serious Interest In Darren Collison

With this season’s trade deadline just a week away, the Nuggets are known to be in the market for a veteran point guard, writes Sam Amick of USA Today. Two sources with knowledge of the situation tell Amick that one guard on Denver’s radar is Darren Collison, who is drawing “serious interest” from the Nuggets.

Collison, 30, has served as the Pacers’ starting point guard this season and has played well, averaging 12.9 PPG and 5.3 APG in 50 games (30.2 MPG). His .497 FG% and .432 3PT% are career highs.

Indiana is currently tied for the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference, with a 29-23 record, so it’d be surprising if the team moves its starting point guard. Amick’s report indicates the Pacers have rebuffed the Nuggets’ trade efforts so far. Still, the team has a little depth at point guard — Cory Joseph has been solid as Collison’s backup and could slide into the starting lineup. Joe Young‘s role could be expanded if necessary, and Victor Oladipo and Lance Stephenson are capable of handling the ball too.

The Nuggets currently have Jamal Murray starting at point guard, with Will Barton spending some time at the one as well; Emmanuel Mudiay has seen his role reduced this season. According to Amick, Denver would like to be able to return Barton to his “super sixth man” role rather than relying on him for point guard duties.

Amick suggests that Kings point guard George Hill, who drew interest from the Nuggets in the offseason, might be another potential Denver target at the deadline. However, Hill’s $20MM cap hit and his guaranteed money beyond this season would be a deterrent. Collison is on a more team-friendly contract, at $10MM this season — only $2MM of his $10MM salary for 2018/19 is guaranteed.

According to Amick, the Nuggets also hope to find a way to clear a 15-man roster spot for two-way player Torrey Craig at some point.

Northwest Notes: Roberson, Aminu, J. Johnson, Craig

The Thunder’s slow start reached a new low tonight with a loss in Orlando, leaving a team expected to be among the NBA’s best after trading for Paul George and Carmelo Anthony with an 8-12 record and a 2-9 mark on the road. Part of the problem, suggests Erik Horne of The Oklahoman, is that Andre Roberson is an awkward fit in the starting lineup.

The starters perform well in the first quarter with a net rating [point differential per 100 possessions] of 23.8, the fourth-best mark in the league. However, their third quarter rating drops to 88.5, worst among the 16 NBA lineups that have played at least 60 minutes as a unit. Roberson is a defensive specialist, but opponents don’t respect his outside shot, especially from 3-point range, where he is hitting just 27%. Horne notes that Jerami Grant and Raymond Felton have logged nearly three times as many fourth quarter minutes as Roberson.

“I don’t necessarily feel like he’s uncomfortable,” coach Billy Donovan said of Roberson. “I do feel, with him getting acclimated to a new team, I just think some of that stuff’s going to take time. I’m not making excuses for our team, just dealing with the reality.”

There’s more from the Northwest Division:

  • The Trail Blazers will welcome forward Al-Farouq Aminu back Thursday night after missing 13 games with a sprained right ankle, relays Casey Holdahl of NBA.com. Portland expected Aminu to return in two to three weeks after he suffered the injury in a November 1 game, but he wound up missing almost the entire month. “It felt good to be back out there with the guys,” Aminu said after today’s practice. “Being able to contribute is always a good thing.”
  • Joe Johnson is making progress with his wrist injury and will be re-evaluated in two weeks, according to a story on the Jazz website. Johnson, who has been diagnosed with tendon instability in his right wrist, had another meeting with a hand specialist Tuesday. The 17-year veteran has played just seven games this season.
  • After three years of playing overseas, Nuggets forward Torrey Craig got his first taste of NBA action Tuesday, writes Christopher Dempsey of NBA.com. The 26-year-old signed a two-way contract over the summer and was called up to Denver this week after averaging 25.7 points per game in the G League. “It wasn’t too many nerves,” he said. “I’ve been playing basketball for a long time. So, I’m well adjusted to the atmosphere, to the game of basketball.”

NBA G League Assignments/Recalls: 10/23/17

NBA G League training camps open today, with the start of the 2017/18 season less than two weeks away. With camps getting underway, NBA teams have begun to assign players to their respective affiliates. However, as we detailed earlier this year, four teams are still lacking affiliates.

The Nuggets are one of those teams without an affiliate for 2017/18, which means their two-way players are headed to two different G League clubs. Denver announced today in a press release that Monte Morris will join the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, the Rockets‘ affiliate, while Torrey Craig will play for the Sioux Falls Skyforce, the Heat‘s affiliate.

Here are today’s G League assignments:

8:00pm:

  • After spending the day in the G League, Isaiah Whitehead has been recalled to the Nets, the team announced this evening in a press release.

5:13pm:

  • The Nuggets have assigned first-round pick Tyler Lydon to the G League too, according to the team. Lydon will head to the Rockets‘ affiliate, the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, along with Morris.
  • While the Rockets are adding a pair of Denver players to their G League squad, they’ll also send a couple players from their own NBA roster to the Vipers, announcing today (via Twitter) that Chinanu Onuaku and Troy Williams are G-League-bound.
  • Despite some minutes becoming available in the Nets‘ backcourt in the wake of Jeremy Lin‘s season-ending injury, second-year guard Isaiah Whitehead hasn’t cracked the rotation. Brooklyn is sending him to the Long Island Nets to get him some playing time, tweets Brian Lewis of The New York Post.
  • The Heat have assigned center A.J. Hammons to the G League, the club announced today in a press release. Head coach Erik Spoelstra said that Hammons is joining the Skyforce to work on his conditioning after he missed time with the flu, tweets Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel.

Nuggets Sign Torrey Craig To Two-Way Contract

JULY 19: The Nuggets have officially signed Craig to a two-way contract, the team announced today in a press release.

JULY 16: The Nuggets and Torrey Craig have agreed to a deal to add the small forward to the team, Orazio Cauchi of Sportando reports. The deal will be a two-way contract, according to Chris Dempsey of the Denver Post (Twitter link).

Players on two-way deals will spend most of their season in the G-League since they cannot spend more than 45 days with an NBA club, as our glossary page on two-way contracts shows.

Craig, who has had an impressive Summer League for Denver’s squad, played abroad over the last several seasons. He earned the NBL Best Defensive Player Award as well as All-NBL Second Team honors while playing for the Brisbane Bullets during the 2016/17 season.

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