Nuggets Rumors

Michael Porter Jr. Making Good Progress

  • We haven’t heard much this season about Nuggets rookie Michael Porter Jr., who continues to recover from back surgery. However, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst hears that Porter is “looking impressive” and says Denver has been surprised with how well Porter has been shooting from beyond the arc.

Nuggets Sign Nick Young

The Nuggets have added some scoring punch to their roster, announcing today (via Twitter) that they’ve signed veteran swingman Nick Young to a contract. Brandon Goodwin has been waived in a corresponding move, according to the full press release from the club.

Having previously been granted a hardship exception to sign a 16th player due to their injury woes, the Nuggets used that exception on Goodwin, but will now slot Young in as their 16th man. The NBA can give a team a hardship exception, which allows for an extra roster spot, when that team has at least four players who have missed three or more games and are expected to miss at least two more weeks.

In Denver’s case, Will Barton, Isaiah Thomas, Michael Porter, and Jarred Vanderbilt have all been on the shelf for most or all of the season, but the club’s injury issues don’t stop there. Gary Harris is now expected to miss multiple weeks, while Paul Millsap suffered a broken toe and will likely sidelined for the foreseeable future as well.

Down six players, the Nuggets will add some veteran help by signing Young, who had yet to find an NBA home for the 2018/19 season after winning a title with the Warriors in the spring. An 11-year veteran, Young has averaged 11.4 PPG on .418/.376/.836 shooting in 716 career regular season games. In Golden State last season, the 33-year-old posted 7.3 PPG in 80 games (17.4 MPG).

Young will receive a non-guaranteed, minimum-salary contract, according to ESPN’s Bobby Marks, who notes (via Twitter) that it will count against the cap for about $1.04MM. Once the Nuggets starts getting healthier, they will lose access to their exception and will have to either trade or release Young or another player to get back down to 15 players.

As for Goodwin, he’ll count for $66,319 against Denver’s cap for his 14 days of service.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Nuggets’ Gary Harris To Miss 3-4 Weeks

The banged-up Nuggets will be without guard Gary Harris for three-to-four weeks as he rehabs from a right hip hip injury, per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link). Denver announced that Harris would be evaluated week-to-week for the injury.

Harris suffered the injury against the Raptors on Monday and was considered day-to-day as he missed the Nuggets’ games on Wednesday and Friday.

“He’s out,” coach Mike Malone said earlier this week. “Just a hip injury, and he’ll continue to get some treatment and see where it’s at and how long he’s gonna be out. But as of right now, he’s just day-to-day.”

Harris, 24, is a key piece in the Nuggets’ core group, averaging 16.6 PPG, 3.2 RPG and 1.2 SPG this season. This is the latest in a series of injuries for the Nuggets, who currently occupy first place in the Western Conference with a 17-8 record, percentage points ahead of the Warriors.

Paul Millsap suffered a broken toe on Friday and he will be re-evaluated when the team returns to Denver. Will Barton will be evaluated on a week-to-week basis moving forward as he rehabs from right hip and core muscle surgery. Isaiah Thomas (hip) and 2018 first-round pick Michael Porter Jr. (back) have yet to play this season.

Nuggets’ Paul Millsap Suffers Broken Toe

11:08am: Millsap has suffered a right big toe fracture, the Nuggets announced in a press release on Saturday. Updates on his status will be provided when appropriate.

9:24am: Nuggets forward Paul Millsap suffered a broken toe on his right foot and will be re-evaluated once the team returns to Denver, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports (Twitter link). Millsap sustained the injury on Friday in Charlotte as the Nuggets lost to the Hornets.

Denver head coach Michael Malone said he heard Millsap suffered a cut on his foot whereas teammate Monte Morris said he heard the injury was a broken toe, per Mike Singer of The Denver Post.

Millsap, 33, is in the midst of a productive season for Denver, averaging 13.6 PPG, 7.0 RPG and 2.0 APG through 25 contests. His .495% field goal percentage is his highest since the 2010/11 season.

The Nuggets signed the veteran to a three-year. $90 million deal in the summer of 2017. Millsap underwent surgery for a torn ligament in his left wrist last November and missed 44 games in 2017/18. Losing Millsap for another extended stretch would be a tough break for a Nuggets team currently percentage points ahead of the Warriors for first place in the Western Conference.

Harris Considered Day-To-Day; Medical Update On Barton

Nuggets guard Gary Harris is considered day-to-day with a right hip injury sustained Monday when the team played Toronto, according to Mike Singer of the Denver Post. Harris didn’t play in Wednesday’s game against Orlando, and has already been ruled out for Friday’s game in Charlotte.

Harris is a key piece in the Nuggets’ core group, averaging 16.6 points, 3.2 rebounds and 1.2 steals per game this season. Malone said he’ll take it game-by-game to determine who should start in Harris’ place for the time being.

  • Will Barton will be evaluated on a week-to-week basis moving forward, the Nuggets announced on Thursday. Barton continues to progress in his rehabilitation from right hip and core muscle surgery.

Northwest Notes: Thomas, Plumlee, Rose, Wolves

Isaiah Thomas hasn’t played since signing with the Nuggets over the summer, but he is having a huge impact on the team, writes Mike Singer of The Denver Post. Thomas has become a mentor to younger players and a vocal leader on an otherwise quiet team.

“To have his voice in our locker room, to help some of these younger guys out, it takes a lot of load off myself,” said Paul Millsap, the only other player on Denver’s roster older than 30.

Thomas expects to return soon from a lingering hip injury and hopes to re-establish himself after a nightmarish 2017/18 season that began with a trade out of Boston, where had become a fan favorite and an MVP candidate. He missed his first two months in Cleveland, then took the blame for the team’s defensive and chemistry problems when he did start playing. The Cavaliers shipped him to the Lakers, who elected not to re-sign him when the season ended.

“For my wife and my family, it’s definitely been difficult,” Thomas said. “At the end of the day, I’m human. I’ve been three places in less than one year, so it’s like, I’m tired of moving.”

There’s more from the Northwest Division:

  • Mason Plumlee‘s teammate’s consider him the NBA’s “most underrated player,” Singer relays in a separate story. Although his stats aren’t impressive, Plumlee leads the Nuggets in field goal percentage, takes the toughest assignments on defense and is an important part of a bench unit that is tied for the second-highest plus-minus rating in the league. Coach Michael Malone believes Plumlee should be considered as a Sixth Man of the Year candidate, even though the award usually goes to big scorers.
  • Timberwolves guard Derrick Rose also wants to be considered for the Sixth Man award, according to Chris Pine of The Star Tribune. The former MVP has settled into a reserve role since coming to Minnesota and is averaging 19.3 points per game while shooting a career high .494 from 3-point territory. “I would like winning Sixth Man of the Year,” Rose said. “I don’t think that’s anything bad to say or a bad goal with me coming off the bench. I want to be the best bench player.”
  • Adding Robert Covington and Dario Saric in the Jimmy Butler trade has turned the Timberwolves into a much better rebounding team, Pine notes in the same story. Since the deal, Minnesota has upped its defensive rebounding percentage from 67% to 73%.

Nuggets Have Look Of Dangerous Team This Season

  • The Nuggets have a look of a dangerous team this season, Mike Singer of The Denver Post writes. Denver has a 14-7 record just six weeks into the 2017/18 season, playing solid basketball on both ends of the floor. The team has yet to play with Isaiah Thomas, who was signed to a free-agent contract last summer. “It’s one of the deepest and youngest teams that I’ve ever had, and that’s what I like about our team,” coach Mike Malone said.

Nuggets Granted Hardship Exception, Sign Brandon Goodwin

The Nuggets have been granted an injury hardship exception and have used their newly-available 16th roster spot to sign undrafted rookie guard Brandon Goodwin to a contract, the team announced today in a press release. Details of the deal weren’t revealed, but it figures to be a non-guaranteed pact.

Goodwin, who began his college career at UCF before transferring to Florida Gulf Coast, was named the Atlantic Sun Conference’s Player of the Year in 2017/18. For the season, the 6’2″ point guard averaged 18.6 PPG, 5.5 RPG, and 4.8 APG to go along with a .470/.275/.750 shooting line.

Goodwin joined the Grizzlies for training camp in the fall, but didn’t earn a spot on the club’s regular season roster, having been waived a few days before opening night. He opted to join the Grizzlies’ G League affiliate, the Memphis Hustle, and played well in nine games for the squad, averaging 23.4 PPG, 5.3 RPG, and 4.0 APG in 33.7 minutes per contest.

The NBA can grant a team a hardship exception when that team has at least four players who have missed three or more games and are expected to miss at least a couple more weeks. That hardship exception allows the club to add one extra player to its 15-man roster, increasing the limit to 16. In Denver’s case, Will Barton, Isaiah Thomas, Michael Porter, and Jarred Vanderbilt have all been on the shelf for most or all of the season.

Once one of the Nuggets’ four injured players is ready to return, the team will have to waive Goodwin or another player to get back down to the 15-man limit.

LeBron James “Didn’t Give Much Thought” To Nuggets’ Pursuit

The Nuggets wanted a meeting with LeBron James during the offseason when the four-time MVP was a free agent, but they were unsuccessful in their pursuit. Team president Josh Kroenke did get the chance to discuss the potential pairing with James over the phone during the offseason.

“[Kroenke] discussed [coming to the Nuggets] a couple times to me,” James said during shootaround before the Lakers/Nuggets tilt. “Also he sent those throwback jerseys, I think they’re wearing them tonight. The white ones? With the mountains, I believe, that’s on it. Said, ‘You’d look good in one of these.’”

James and Kroenke have been friends for years, though it wasn’t enough to make James consider moving to Denver.

“We’ve been on vacation, things of that nature — we have a great friendship,” James said. “But I didn’t give it much thought.”

Free Agent Stock Watch 2019: Northwest Division

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:

Isaiah Thomas, Nuggets, 29, PG (Down) – Signed to a one-year, $2MM deal in 2018
Thomas hoped to revive his career as a high-scoring sixth man for one of the league’s up-and-coming teams. Instead, Thomas has yet to make his Denver debut. Thomas continues to struggle with hip issues and there’s no timetable for his return. Just a couple of years removed from being a candidate for the league’s Most Valuable Player award, Thomas has a cloudy future. It’s more likely he’ll be forced into early retirement than ever approaching his former level of excellence and that would be a shame.

Derrick Rose, Timberwolves, 30, PG (Up) – Signed to a one-year, $2.39MM deal in 2018
Seriously, did anyone think Rose would have another 25-point outing in his career, let alone twice as many points? Rose’s 50-point explosion against Utah on Halloween was a shocker and he’s remained a steady offensive threat since that blast from the past. He’s averaging 22.0 PPG and 4.0 APG over his last eight games. Once thought to be on the verge of retirement, Rose clearly still has a lot left in the tank. He’ll be getting a substantial raise in the open market if he keeps this up.

Abdel Nader, Thunder, 25, SF (Down) – Signed to a three-year, $4.16MM deal in 2017
The Celtics were about to cut Nader loose this summer until the Thunder came calling with a trade offer. The 2016 second-round pick has a non-guaranteed contract and he hasn’t done anything to convince Oklahoma City to keep him around after this season. Nader hasn’t been able to break into the wing rotation, playing a total of just 15 minutes. Nader will probably be looking for another fresh start in July.

Seth Curry, Trail Blazers, 28, PG (Down) — Signed to a one-year, $2.795MM deal in 2018
Curry left Dallas with the hope of reestablishing his value after missing all of last season with stress fracture in his lower left leg. It hasn’t started off the way Curry envisioned. He wasn’t effective in a backup role (6.09 PER) before missing the last four games with a knee injury. There’s still hope for Curry to turn things around and fill the role that Shabazz Napier played last season. The way it’s going now, he’ll be scrounging for another one-year deal next summer.

Ricky Rubio, Jazz, 28, PG (Down) – Signed to a four-year, $55MM deal in 2015
The Jazz have been one of the league’s most disappointing teams during the first quarter of the season. The team’s starting point guard is partly to blame. Rubio, who is making nearly $15MM in his walk year, is shooting 37.3% from the field and over the last six games he’s averaging four assists while making 2.5 turnovers per game. Rubio needed to adjust his game when the team drafted dynamic creator Donovan Mitchell and right now, their backcourt pairing still seems a bit awkward. It’ll interesting to see if the Jazz look to move Rubio before the trade deadline to shake things up.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.