Nuggets Rumors

Wizards, Nuggets Agree To Trade Involving Morris, Barton, KCP

11:53am: The two teams are now in an agreement on the trade, reports Wojnarowski (via Twitter).


9:16am: The Wizards and Nuggets are nearing an agreement on a trade that would send point guard Monte Morris and wing Will Barton to Washington in exchange for swingman Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and point guard Ish Smith, sources tell Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link).

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski confirms the terms reported by Charania, adding (via Twitter) that the two teams are in the process of finalizing a deal.

The Wizards, who had previously been linked to Morris, will get a much-needed point guard upgrade in the trade, adding a player who was considered one of the NBA’s best backups before being thrust into a starting role last season as Jamal Murray recovered from ACL surgery.

In his first year as a full-time starter, Morris averaged 12.6 PPG, 4.4 APG, and 3.0 RPG on .484/.395/.869 shooting in 75 games (29.9 MPG). The Nuggets received calls from more than 20 teams about the 27-year-old, per Mike Singer of The Denver Post.

Washington will also acquire Barton, a solid shooter and scorer who has averaged 14.0 PPG, 5.0 RPG, and 3.3 APG with a .362 3PT% in 479 regular season games for the Nuggets since arriving in Denver in 2015.

Wizards head coach Wes Unseld Jr. is very familiar with both players, having previously served as a Nuggets assistant.

The move reduces the likelihood of the Wizards seriously pursuing a point guard like Tyus Jones in free agency or Malcolm Brogdon via trade.

Meanwhile, the Nuggets will add a player they had been targeting since the trade deadline in Caldwell-Pope, according to Singer. Denver views Caldwell-Pope as a two-way upgrade on the wing, values his championship experience with the Lakers, and would be interested in retaining him beyond next season, Singer adds.

Caldwell-Pope, 29, averaged 13.2 PPG and made 39.0% of his three-pointers for the Wizards in 2021/22, while playing his usual strong defense.

As for Smith, he’ll provide depth at point guard for a Nuggets team that should have Murray back this fall and saw Bones Hyland enjoy a breakout season as a rookie. Assuming Smith plays in at least one game for Denver, it’ll be his 13th NBA team, breaking a league record, tweets Matt Williams of ESPN.

As Bobby Marks of ESPN notes (via Twitter), if no more players are added to the four-player deal, the two teams will have to wait until after the July moratorium to make it official, since the Wizards are taking on several million more dollars than they’re sending out, while the Nuggets save a little money on next season’s payroll.

Caldwell-Pope ($14MM) and Smith ($4.73MM) entered the offseason without fully guaranteed salaries for 2022/23, but Caldwell-Pope locked in his guarantee on Tuesday and Smith is on track to receive as well in order to adhere to salary-matching rules and make the deal legal. Non-guaranteed salary doesn’t count in trades for outgoing purposes.

Caldwell-Pope, Smith, and Barton ($14.38MM) will all be on expiring contracts next season and are eligible for unrestricted free agency in 2023. Morris will earn $9.13MM in ’22/23 and $9.8MM in ’23/24 before becoming an unrestricted free agent.

The Nuggets will likely absorb Smith’s incoming contract using part of the $8.2MM trade exception they created in last week’s JaMychal Green trade. That would allow them to create a new larger trade exception, worth at least Morris’ outgoing salary ($9.13MM), per Marks.

Victor Oladipo Reportedly Unlikely To Remain With Heat

Heat guard Victor Oladipo is not expected to remain with the Heat this summer, Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report writes in his latest round-up of rumors from around the NBA.

According to Fischer, the Wizards, Nuggets, and Pistons are among the rival teams believed to have interest in Oladipo, who will be an unrestricted free agent.

The Heat control Oladipo’s Bird rights, so there would be no cap-related roadblocks standing in the way of bringing him back. If he leaves, it could be a signal that the two sides don’t agree on his price point — or either the team or player simply may not have interest in continuing the relationship.

A two-time All-Star, Oladipo has appeared in just 60 regular season games since the start of the 2019/20 season due to a series of injuries related to his quad. He missed most of the ’21/22 campaign while recovering from a surgery, but showed flashes of his old self down the stretch, averaging 12.4 PPG and 3.5 APG on .479/.417/.737 shooting in eight games (21.6 MPG). The former All-Defensive First Teamer also exhibited his old versatility on defense.

Given the injury questions surrounding Oladipo, he’s unlikely to get significant multiyear offers this offseason, but a raise on last season’s minimum-salary contract looks like a safe bet. Fischer suggests a deal in the neighborhood of the taxpayer mid-level exception ($6.4MM) may be realistic.

The Heat, meanwhile, will also face competition as they try to retain other key free agents like P.J. Tucker and Caleb Martin.

Deandre Ayton, Marvin Bagley III Among Players Receiving QOs

The Suns have issued a qualifying offer to center Deandre Ayton, making him a restricted free agent, reports Keith Smith of Spotrac (Twitter link). Ayton’s qualifying offer is worth $16,422,835.

[RELATED: Hoops Rumors Glossary: Qualifying Offers]

Although there have been consistent whispers about the possibility of Ayton leaving Phoenix in free agency this summer, there was never any doubt that he’d receive a qualifying offer. That QO ensures that he doesn’t become an unrestricted free agent and gives the Suns the opportunity to match any offer sheet he signs with a rival team. Ayton also has the option of signing the one-year, $16.4MM deal if he wants to become an unrestricted free agent in 2023, though that’s considered very unlikely.

Here are a few more updates on qualifying offer decisions from around the NBA:

  • The Pistons have tendered a qualifying offer worth $7,228,448 to big man Marvin Bagley III, making him a restricted free agent, tweets Smith. Multiple reports in recent weeks and months have indicated that re-signing Bagley will be a priority for Detroit this offseason. His cap hold will exceed $28MM, but if the two sides agree to terms quickly once free agency opens, the Pistons will be able to maximize their cap room by reducing that $28MM cap hold to a first-year salary that will come in much lower.
  • The Nets have issued qualifying offers to center Nic Claxton and two-way guard David Duke, per Smith (Twitter link). Claxton’s QO is worth $2,228,276 while Duke’s is for another two-way contract. Both players are now restricted free agents.
  • The Nuggets have extended qualifying offers to forward Vlatko Cancar and two-way swingman Davon Reed, according to Smith (Twitter link). Like Claxton, Cancar has a $2,228,276 qualifying offer. Reed’s is for another two-way contract, though it’s possible he could generate interest from teams interested in giving him a standard roster spot.
  • Wizards forward Anthony Gill received a qualifying offer making him a restricted free agent, according to Smith (Twitter link). Gill’s QO projects to be worth $2,011,516, though that could increase or decrease slightly depending on where the salary cap for 2022/23 ends up.
  • The Warriors have made swingman Quinndary Weatherspoon a restricted free agent by giving him a two-way qualifying offer, reports Smith (Twitter link). Golden State reportedly agreed to a deal with Lester Quinones to fill the team’s other two-way slot.

Northwest Notes: Green, Hart, Timberwolves Draft, Jazz Targets

JaMychal Green was officially traded to the Thunder by the Nuggets on Thursday, but it’s unlikely the forward will ever suit up for Oklahoma City. General manager Sam Presti says they’ll look to trade Green, Brandon Rahbar of the Daily Thunder tweets. Green, 32, is at the stage of his career where he provides greater value to a contender than a rebuilding team. He’s on an $8.2MM expiring contract for 2022/23.

We have more from the Northwest Division:

  • Josh Hart had his $12.96MM contract guaranteed by the Trail Blazers over the weekend. However, it shouldn’t have major implications on Portland’s offseason moves, Bobby Marks of ESPN tweets. The Blazers now have $105MM in guaranteed contracts but they’re over the cap because of the free agent holds on Anfernee Simons and Jusuf Nurkic. They still could have the flexibility to re-sign those two free agents and use the full $10.5MM mid-level exception to pursue outside targets.
  • The Timberwolves prioritized rebounding in the draft and addressed that by making moves to select Auburn’s Walker Kessler, Chris Hine of the Star Tribune writes. Kessler was the Naismith National Defensive Player of the Year. They also wound up with Duke wing Wendell Moore late in the first round and Memphis wing Josh Minott and Italian guard Matteo Spagnolo in the second round. President of basketball operations Tim Connelly isn’t expecting too much out of those rookies. “We don’t want to put too much expectations on their ability to contribute right away,” he told The Athletic’s Jon Krawczynski. “When you have a team that had as much success as we did, it’s hard to put that on your shoulders.”
  • What might the Jazz do with their taxpayer mid-level exception in free agency? Eric Walden of the Salt Lake Tribune lists 25 potential free agent targets — breaking them down into wings, guards and bigs.

Kellan Grady To Sign Exhibit 10 Contract With Nuggets

Undrafted Kentucky guard Kellan Grady is signing an Exhibit 10 contract with the Nuggets, according to Kyle Tucker of The Athletic (Twitter link).

Grady spent his first four college seasons at Davidson and was the team’s primary offensive weapon across those four years, averaging 17.4 PPG with a .366 3PT% in 115 games. He transferred to Kentucky for his “super-senior” year in 2021/22 and averaged 11.4 PPG with a .415 3PT% in his 34 games (32.9 MPG) as a Wildcat.

An Exhibit 10 contract is a non-guaranteed minimum salary contract that makes the player eligible for a bonus worth up to $50K if he’s waived before the regular season begins and then joins his team’s G League affiliate. It can also be converted into a two-way deal before the season.

The Nuggets have now reportedly reached Exhibit 10 agreements with two undrafted free agents: Grady and Adonis Arms. Those signings can become official after the NBA’s new league year begins on Friday.

Free Agent Rumors: Brunson, Tucker, LaVine, Sexton, Campazzo

Marc Stein isn’t certain whether the Mavericks or the Knicks will end up signing Jalen Brunson this offseason, but he hints in his latest Substack article that it would be a surprise if the point guard ends up anywhere else.

After being identified earlier this year as possible suitors for Brunson, the Pistons and Pacers are no longer being mentioned as potential destinations, Stein writes. Both teams used lottery picks to draft guards last Thursday, with Detroit selecting Jaden Ivey and Indiana nabbing Bennedict Mathurin.

Elsewhere on the free agency front, Stein provides an update on P.J. Tucker after reporting last week that the Sixers are considered the biggest threat to sign the forward away from the Heat. According to Stein, numerous rival teams are saying “with even more conviction now than they did last week” that they believe Tucker will end up in Philadelphia on a three-year, $30MM deal.

After adding De’Anthony Melton, the Sixers project to be a taxpayer and would likely have to shed a little salary in order to give Tucker $30MM over three years. Using the full mid-level exception or acquiring him via sign-and-trade are the only ways Philadelphia could realistically offer a $10MM annual salary — either approach would hard-cap team salary at the tax apron.

Here are more free agency rumors from across the NBA:

  • K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago writes that all signs still point toward the Bulls being prepared to offer Zach LaVine a five-year, maximum-salary contract when free agency opens this week, with LaVine likely to accept.
  • The Wizards have some interest in Collin Sexton but are probably in the market for a more traditional point guard in free agency, Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com reports in a subscriber-exclusive story. Fedor believes the Cavaliers remain in the driver’s seat to re-sign Sexton, especially given that some of his potential suitors – including Detroit – drafted guards last Thursday.
  • After indicating an openness to returning overseas, Nuggets free agent guard Facundo Campazzo clarified that his goal is to remain in the NBA. He tweeted out a statement in Spanish that translates to English as follows: My priority one, two, and three is to continue in the NBA. For now, I don’t have in mind to return to Europe. It is obvious that at some point it will happen, but not now. I have it very clear: I want to try again, in whatever franchise it is, but to try again.
  • In an Insider-only story for ESPN.com, Bobby Marks takes an in-depth look at which teams project to have cap room, which will be taxpayers, and which fall somewhere in between.

Nuggets Notes: Braun, Free Agency, Booth, Campazzo

The Nuggets opted to draft champion Kansas shooting guard Christian Braun with the No. 21 selection due to his cumulative abilities, writes Mike Singer of the Denver Post.

“I comment to myself, ‘Man, that was a nice play, but what is he?’” Denver general manager Calvin Booth said of assessing Braun’s fit at the next level. The 6’7″ swingman, who played both forward spots with the Jayhawks, projects as a helpful contributor on both sides of the ball.

In an interesting wrinkle, Singer notes that Booth was concerned Braun might be selected by former Denver front office executives Arturas Karnisovas, selecting for the Bulls at No. 18, or Tim Connelly, who was slated to pick at No. 19 for the Timberwolves before trading down.

“CB playing with (Nikola) Jokic, what a good cutter CB is,” Braun’s college head coach Bill Self said. “You stop and think about, I don’t know if CB could play with a better big man than that dude because he’s such a good cutter and mover without the ball, and (Jokic is) such a great passer.”

During his final collegiate season, Braun was a key member of the team’s 2022 title-winning squad, being named to the NCAA All-Region Team and the All-Big 12 Second Team. Across 40 games, including 39 starts, he averaged 14.1 PPG, 6.5 RPG, 2.8 APG, 1.0 SPG and 0.8 BPG in 34.4 MPG. He posted solid shooting marks of .495/.386/.733.

There’s more out of Denver:

  • Booth indicated following the 2022 draft that while Denver is excited about its three draft picks (Braun, Peyton Watson and Ismael Kamagate), the team has more work to do this offseason. The Nuggets intend to sign quality defenders in free agency to bolster the roster on that end of the floor, per Harrison Wind of DNVR Sports (Twitter link).
  • When it comes to making additions to the club in free agency this week, Booth has been given the green light by Nuggets ownership to use the club’s taxpayer mid-level exception, per Mike Singer of the Denver Post (Twitter link). That exception currently projects to be worth $6.4MM this summer.
  • Nuggets second-year reserve point guard Facundo Campazzo has indicated that he is open to moving on from the NBA as he enters free agency this summer, according to an interview with Pablo Brunetto of TN Sports (h/t to Johnny Askounis of Eurohoops). That said, the 5’10” vet seems likely to take stock of his stateside options first. Personally, it would be naive to be obsessed with staying in the NBA,” Campazzo said. “Maybe I don’t get any offers. (Former team) Real Madrid has always been like a second home for me, but I must wait. That is my only choice right now.” During the 2021/22 season, the 31-year-old averaged 5.1 PPG on 36.1% field goal shooting, plus 3.4 APG, 1.8 RPG and 1.0 SPG in 65 contests.

Nuggets Adding Adonis Arms On Exhibit 10 Deal

Texas Tech combo guard Adonis Arms will sign with the Nuggets, tweets Keith Smith of Spotrac. It will be an Exhibit 10 contract, according to Harrison Wind of DNVR Sports (Twitter link).

Arms, 23, played five seasons of college basketball, but only one for the Red Raiders. The 6’6″ guard was an honorable mention All-Big 12 selection after averaging 8.6 points, 4.4 rebounds and 2.8 assists in 37 games.

An Exhibit 10 deal is a one-year, minimum-salary contract that counts toward a team’s 20-man offseason roster limit, but doesn’t count against the cap unless the player makes the regular season roster. Although it’s not guaranteed, a player on an Exhibit 10 contract can earn a bonus of up to $50K if he’s waived and then joins his team’s G League affiliate. An Exhibit 10 contract can also be converted into a two-way deal before the start of the regular season.

Pistons’ Procida, Cavs’ Diop Among Draftees Expected To Be Stashed Overseas

Italian wing Gabriele Procida, who was drafted 36th overall on Thursday night after spending last season with Fortitudo Bologna, is expected to be stashed overseas by the Pistons, reports James L. Edwards III of The Athletic (Twitter link).

While Procida is the highest of this year’s draft picks reported to be a likely draft-and-stash prospect, he’s hardly the only one. Here are a few more updates on 2022’s draft-and-stash candidates:

  • After using the No. 39 pick to draft him on Thursday, the Cavaliers intend to keep 20-year-old center Khalifa Diop overseas for the 2022/23 season, writes Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com. The Senegalese big man won the EuroCup Rising Star award playing for Gran Canaria in Spain this past season.
  • The Nuggets plan to stash center Ismael Kamagate in Europe next season, a source tells Harrison Wind of DNVR Sports (Twitter link). The No. 46 pick on Thursday, Kamagate had an All-Star season playing for Paris in 2021/22.
  • Italian shooting guard Matteo Spagnolo, drafted at No. 50 by the Timberwolves, will likely remain overseas next season, per president of basketball operations Tim Connelly (Twitter link via Dane Moore). Spagnolo is still just 19 years old.
  • Crotian forward/center Karlo Matkovic, selected 52nd overall by the Pelicans, is expected to join New Orleans’ Summer League roster but will continue playing in Europe for another year or two, general manager Trajan Langdon told reporters, including Andrew Lopez of ESPN (Twitter link).
  • Wizards president of basketball operations Tommy Sheppard said after the draft that No. 54 pick Yannick Nzosa will be a “stash guy” in the Spanish League next season, according to Ava Wallace of The Washington Post (Twitter link).

Nuggets Signing Collin Gillespie To Two-Way Deal

Villanova guard Collin Gillespie will sign a two-way contract with the Nuggets, tweets ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

Gillespie is a fifth-year senior who spent his entire college career with the Wildcats. He averaged 15.6 points, 3.8 rebounds and 3.2 assists this season.

The 22-year-old, who was named MVP of this year’s Big East Tournament, is 11th on ESPN’s ranking of undrafted players.