- It wouldn’t be surprising if Nuggets forward Trey Lyles signs his $3.7MM qualifying offer, Mike Singer of the Denver Post opines. Lyles’ production has fallen off recently and he may not even stay in the playoff rotation, Singer continues. The Nuggets are thin at the power forward spot, which would increase the odds of them extending the qualifying offer and making Lyles a restricted free agent. However, he’s a poor 3-point shooter and will probably have a tough time attracting an offer sheet, Singer adds.
Every week, Hoops Rumors takes a closer look at players who will be free agents or could become free agents next offseason. We examine if their stock is rising or falling due to performance and other factors. This week, we turn our attention to the Northwest Division:
Tyler Lydon, Nuggets, 22, PF (Down) – Signed to a two-year, $3.45MM deal in 2017
Lydon was the 24th overall pick in 2017 and acquired from Utah in a draft-day deal. He didn’t make much of an impression as a rookie, as the Nuggets declined his third-year option in October. Lydon has appeared in 21 games this season, mostly during garbage time. At the G League level, Lydon has averaged 5.3 three-point attempts and made 36.7%. He’s also rebounded well (8.5 in 31.3 MPG). He’ll be seeking a fresh start this summer, most likely with a rebuilding team that can offer him a greater opportunity.
Anthony Tolliver, Timberwolves, 33, PF (Down) – Signed to a one-year, $5.75MM deal in 2018
Tolliver carved out a steady role under former Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy and delivered a career year last season. He averaged 8.9 PPG in 22.2 MPG and shot 43.6% from distance, and when he hit the free agent market, he drew interest from the Clippers, Mavericks, and Sixers as well as the Timberwolves. It hasn’t gone well in Minnesota, as Tolliver completely dropped out of Tom Thibodeau’s rotation in mid-November. He’s seen more action under Ryan Saunders but hasn’t made an impact. He’ll likely have to settle for the veteran’s minimum this summer to stay in the league.
Nerlens Noel, Thunder, 24, PF (Up) – Signed to a two-year, $3.74MM deal in 2018
Noel has a player option worth less than $2MM and it’s likely he’ll decline it and take his chances on the open market. Noel has carved out a steady bench role with the Thunder and provided a defensive presence, along with an occasional scoring outburst. His Defensive Box Plus/Minus rating, according to Basketball-Reference, is an outstanding 5.8. He posted a 22-point, 13-rebound stat line in 22 minutes in a loss to New Orleans on Thursday. Noel, the sixth overall pick in 2013, has revived his career to some extent after a lost season in Dallas.
Al-Farouq Aminu, Trail Blazers, 28, PF (Up) — Signed to a four-year, $30MM deal in 2015
The quintessential glue guy, Aminu never puts up big numbers but he does a little bit of everything for a playoff-bound team in the West. He’s averaging a career-best 7.9 RPG in 29.0 MPG and his defensive versatility makes him indispensable on a team lacking in stoppers. He’s also become a respectable – if not prolific – 3-point shooter (35.8%). It certainly wouldn’t be surprising if Aminu re-signs with Portland but he’ll have several suitors in July and shouldn’t have any trouble getting a multi-year deal.
Royce O’Neale, Jazz, 25, SF (Up)– Signed to a three-year, $3.8MM deal in 2017
O’Neale, undrafted out of Baylor, has been a rotation player all season for Utah. He’s often the the last offensive option on the court but he’s pumped up his production this month. He averaged 13.8 PPG and 4.3 RPG in the last four games prior to the All-Star break. He’s shooting an outstanding 43.9% from long range and advanced defensive metrics are also kind to him (2.2 Defensive Box Plus/Minus). O’Neale’s $1.62MM salary for next season isn’t fully guaranteed until next January but the Jazz might do that a lot sooner and perhaps even negotiate an extension with the swingman.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
Nuggets president of basketball operations Tim Connelly has agreed to a contract extension, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski tweets.
Connelly’s contract could have expired at the end of this season, but he has been in negotiations for several weeks with Nuggets president Josh Kroenke on a new deal, Wojnarowski adds in another tweet.
The team has confirmed the extension in a press release. General manager Arturas Karnisovas and the entire basketball operations staff in Denver have also received extensions, according to the release.
“It gives me immense pride to announce contract extensions for our entire front office, as our journey to this point has been one of hard work, patience and trust in one another,” Kroenke said in a statement. “When Tim joined us in 2013, he understood the vision that we had for the future of the Nuggets, and through his dedication our program is incredibly well positioned to compete at the highest level for years to come. Building a true championship contender in the NBA is a unique process for each franchise, and our path in Denver hasn’t always been clear. But Tim, Arturas and the rest of our staff continued to work through every challenge we faced along the way, and I hope Nuggets fans are as excited as we are about our future. We firmly believe we can bring an NBA championship to Denver, and are thrilled to continue our pursuit together.”
The Nuggets have emerged as one of the Western Conference’s top teams, mainly due to smart selections in the draft. Denver has drafted All-Star center Nikola Jokic and guards Jamal Murray, Gary Harris and Malik Beasley during Connelly’s regime.
This isn’t the first time Connelly received an extension. He got one from the Nuggets in 2016 when he held the title of GM. Karnisovas held the title of assistant GM at the time.
- Isaiah Thomas made his Nuggets debut, appearing in an NBA game for the first time since last March. Christopher Dempsey of Nuggets.com has a Q&A with Thomas about his long road back from hip surgery, Nick Kosmider of The Athletic relays the point guard’s impressions of his return, and Harrison Wind of BSNDenver.com examines how Thomas impacted the team even when he wasn’t playing.
FEBRUARY 13: Thomas will return to the court and make his Nuggets debut on Wednesday, Wojnarowski confirms (via Twitter).
Thomas, who signed a one-year deal with Denver during the offseason, underwent a hip procedure last year and was only able to suit up for a total of 17 games last season.
The point guard participated in five-on-five drills today and a decision on his status for the Kings’ game is expected to be determined early on Wednesday.
Denver sits just 2.5 games behind the Warriors for the lead in the Western Conference. It’s unclear what kind of role Thomas is expected to play for the remainder of the season, but the club has enough depth in the backcourt to bring him along slowly.
Here are Friday’s assignments and recalls from around the NBA:
- The Nuggets briefly assigned Isaiah Thomas to the G League today before recalling him. We have the full story on that here.
- Jarred Vanderbilt has been assigned to the NBAGL by the Nuggets, according to the official G League transaction log. Denver does not have its own G League affiliate, so Vanderbilt is spending time with the Delaware Blue Coats.
- The Hornets have recalled Dwayne Bacon and Devonte’ Graham from the Greensboro Swarm, according to the team’s website. Bacon has had 10 assignments in the G League this season. Graham has had seven.
- The Warriors have recalled Jacob Evans from their G League affiliate, according to the team’s Twitter feed. Evans has played 16 games with the Santa Cruz Warriors so far this season.
- The Grizzlies have assigned Tyler Dorsey to the Memphis Hustle, per the team’s Twitter feed. The Hawks traded Dorsey to the Grizzlies at the trade deadline.
The NBA confirmed today that 2019’s trade deadline set and matched some records. The 14 trades completed on Thursday were the most made on a deadline day in the last 30 years, and the 19 teams involved in those swaps was tied for the most over that same period.
In total, 34 players were involved in those 14 trades — and that doesn’t even count the eight deals completed during the week leading up to the deadline, as we detailed last night.
Needless to say, there has been plenty of roster upheaval around the NBA, so we’re going to use this space to take a look at all 30 teams’ roster situations to see exactly where they stand. Does your favorite team have a full roster? Or is their roster somehow only two-thirds full? Looking at you, Raptors.
Here’s a breakdown of all 30 clubs’ roster situations at the time of this post’s publication (more moves will be made in the coming days or even hours that won’t be noted here, so keep that in mind):
The Hawks entered the week with 15 players, but had to waive Daniel Hamilton to clear a spot to acquire Jabari Bird. They subsequently traded Tyler Dorsey for Shelvin Mack, then waived both Bird and Mack.
They currently have 13 players on their roster, leaving two open spots. They’ll have two weeks to get back to the league-mandated minimum of 14 players.
After carrying 15 players all season, the Celtics traded Jabari Bird to create an open roster spot. They’ll explore the buyout market for candidates to fill that opening.
The Nets entered the week with 14 players on standard contracts and one (Mitch Creek) on a 10-day deal. Creek’s contract was terminated a few days early to make room for Greg Monroe, who was waived after being acquired from Toronto.
Brooklyn now has 14 players under contract and could opt to re-add Creek (albeit on a full-season contract), sign another player, or leave that spot empty for now.
The Hornets had a quiet week and continue to carry 14 players, leaving one open roster spot.
Subsequently, Cleveland flipped Stauskas and Baldwin to Houston in exchange for Marquese Chriss and Brandon Knight, with Alec Burks heading to Sacramento in that three-team deal. The 3-for-2 move left the Cavs with 14 players and an open roster spot.
They’re currently at 15 players, but will be releasing Randolph very soon to create an open roster spot.
The Nuggets didn’t make any moves this week and continue to carry a full 15-man roster.
Golden State Warriors
The Warriors didn’t make any moves this week and still have 14 players under contract, leaving an opening for potential buyout targets.
11:05am: Thomas won’t actually spend any time in the G League, according to Nick Kosmider of The Athletic (Twitter link). The Nuggets are in Philadelphia and had intended to get Thomas some practice time with the Delaware Blue Coats, but he’ll remain with the NBA club for now due to a “lack of healthy bodies,” tweets T.J. McBride of Mile High Sports.
10:23am: Nuggets point guard Isaiah Thomas appears to be moving closer to getting back on the court, as Shams Charania of The Athletic reports (via Twitter) that Denver has sent Thomas to the G League for a rehab assignment.
The Nuggets don’t have a G League club of their own, so they’ll have to assign Thomas to another NBA team’s affiliate. Adam Johnson of 2 Ways & 10 Days (Twitter link) hears that Thomas has joined the Delaware Blue Coats, Philadelphia’s G League squad. In fact, the 30-year-old has already been assigned and recalled, tweets Johnson.
Thomas, who signed a one-year, minimum-salary contract with the Nuggets last summer, has spent the season recovering from hip surgery. A recent report suggested that Denver was optimistic the veteran guard would return before the All-Star break, though head coach Michael Malone stressed that there was no set timeline for Thomas’ return.
A brief rehab assignment in the G League, where teams practice more frequently, has become common for veterans recovering from injuries. The Nets, for instance, assigned Caris LeVert to their NBAGL affiliate earlier this week in advance of his impending return. In Thomas’ case, given his eight years of NBA experience, he would have had to approve the assignment.
While Thomas’ return appears close, it will be interesting to see how he slots into Denver’s rotation. Monte Morris and Malik Beasley have enjoyed breakout years for the Nuggets, which may limit the minutes available to Thomas in a backcourt that also features Jamal Murray and Gary Harris.
The Hornets are still “pushing hard” for a taker for Frank Kaminsky and there are indications that teams are interested, tweets Marc Stein of The New York Times. The fourth-year center will be a restricted free agent this summer and doesn’t appear to be in Charlotte’s long-range plans.
The ninth selection in the 2015 draft, Kaminsky has only appeared in 24 games under new coach James Borrego and is averaging 5.5/2.5/1.1 in about 11 minutes per night. He has fallen completely out of the rotation over the past two months, playing just 41 minutes in Charlotte’s last 23 games.
There’s more to pass along as the deadline gets closer:
- The Nuggets have expressed interest in acquiring Noah Vonleh from the Knicks, tweets Ian Begley of ESPN. Vonleh has been productive in New York since signing a minimum contract, averaging 8.6 points and 8.5 rebounds per night, mostly as a starter. He will be a free agent this summer. Denver has a pair of trade exceptions that Vonleh would fit into and is about $7MM under the luxury tax.
- While Enes Kanter probably won’t be traded today, he’s expected to reach the buyout market, and rival executives believe the Celtics will be among the teams with interest in him, sources tell Begley (Twitter link).
- Elsewhere on the buyout market front, Marc Stein of The New York Times (Twitter link) adds the Pacers to the list of clubs that will have interest in Wesley Matthews if and when he’s bought out.
- The Rockets, another team with potential interest in Matthews, still intend to be active on the buyout market after sneaking under the luxury tax threshold today, a source tells Tim MacMahon of ESPN.com (Twitter link).
Arthur Hill contributed to this post.
Here are Wednesday’s assignments and recalls from the G League: