Kurt Helin

Danilo Gallinari

Report: Nuggets talked Danilo Gallinari trade with Boston Celtics

14 Comments

Denver is looking to shake up their roster.

Danny Ainge is as active looking at trades as any GM out there.

So it shouldn’t be a shock that the two sides have talked about a trade this summer. Denver would love to ship out Ty Lawson, but Boston isn’t interested in another point guard (they have Marcus Smart and just drafted Terry Rozier). But Danilo Gallinari on the other hand… from Steve Bulpet of the Boston Herald.

Not sure I would get on this happening. Notice the past tense in the tweet.

No doubt Gallinari is on the trade block. A number of teams, including Memphis, have had interest. When healthy he is a dangerous scoring four. After a couple seasons of injuries near the end of this past season Gallinari was starting to look like his old self — he averaged 19 points a game and shot 39.1 percent from three, plus grabbed almost five rebounds a game.

He’s also in the last year of his deal, so he’s not going to burden anyone’s cap space going forward.

Still, this feels more like talk than anything else.

Denver wants to make moves; they just need to find a dance partner. And someone who will give them anything of quality back for Lawson.

Brilliant impression of Russell Westbrook reactions/expressions (VIDEO)

New Orleans Pelicans v Oklahoma City Thunder
5 Comments

That is brilliant.

Russell Westbrook is one of the most entertaining NBA players not only because of his freakish athleiticm and skills, but because the guy plays as emotional a game — he wears it on his sleeve. And he expects everyone around him to be that into it.

Make sure you stick around for the last impression, when he doesn’t get a high five from a guy.

Westbrook did, and he liked it.

Rumor: Sense around league is Kevin Durant likely to stay in Oklahoma City

Miami Heat v Oklahoma City Thunder
50 Comments

LeBron James. Kawhi Leonard. Kevin Love. Marc Gasol. DeAndre Jordan. Draymond Green. Jimmy Butler. Dwyane Wade. Brook Lopez. Goran Dragic. Danny Green.

Every one of those top free agents this summer re-signed with their own team — security and taking the cash on the table were the themes of the summer. Even the restricted guys (Leonard, Green and Butler) didn’t meet with other teams, they were never really on the market. LaMarcus Aldridge was the outlier, bolting Portland to contend in San Antonio.

What does that portend heading into the much-discussed free agent summer of 2016, when the salary cap spikes and every team will be flush with cash?

Don’t bet on Kevin Durant leaving OKC.

Executives around the league expect him to stay put, reports Ken Berger at CBSSports.com.

Most league execs informally polled here at Summer League expect Durant to stay in Oklahoma City when he hits the market next summer. There are only a handful of teams that can legitimately think they’re an option. The Lakers, the Mavs and the Wizards (in Durant’s hometown) are in the mix, for starters. The Knicks? I mean, I guess, in theory.

I will say I’ve heard there is some pressure within Durant’s circle to consider the Knicks, but will they have a roster that he wants to come to?

Oklahoma City has always been the frontrunners, and the owner has signed off on paying the tax this year to show his commitment to winning (that came with matching the Blazers’ Enes Kanter offer). Durant likes the city, the team is a legit title contender, and as we have seen this year the lure of a big market alone is not near enough to draw a superstar.

The NBA season between now and Durant’s decision is a lifetime, and a lot of things could change. But it’s good to be in front of the race now, and Oklahoma City is that.

Report: Mavericks interested in JaVale McGee. How interested is up for debate.

Indiana Pacers v Philadelphia 76ers
5 Comments

Mark Cuban and the Dallas Mavericks are singing the praises of Zaza Pachulia in a “check out my new girlfriend, I am totally over the girl that dumped me” kind of way.

But while Pachulia has some skills, he is not a rim protector. Dallas doesn’t have any impact rim protectors on the roster, and there are not many good ones left on the market.

Which is why the Mavericks seem to be kicking the tires on JaVale McGee. From Marc Stein at ESPN.

Former Nets exec (and everyone’s new Twitter favorite) Bobby Marks lays out the concerns here.

Dallas has those concerns as well and are talking to a lot of teams.

Basically, JaVale is going to have to sign for the minimum (or close to it) and prove not only that he can stay on the court, but that he can stay healthy enough to provide an impact.

If he’s willing to play for the veteran minimum, a few teams will give him a shot. Dallas could be at the front of the list.

Most impressive rookie so far in Las Vegas Summer League? Emmanuel Mudiay.

Sacramento Kings v Denver Nuggets
20 Comments

LAS VEGAS — Point guards at Summer League have the power of the ball in their hands. Combine that with them trying to impress someone to give them a job (ideally with an NBA team, for most it will be overseas) and you get one thing: Shots. Good shots, bad shots, but lots of shots. Guards are trying to impress scouts/GMs with their scoring. They want an eye-catching stat line.

Emmanuel Mudiay has stood out against that backdrop.

“The first thing you see is he is a true point guard…” Denver Nuggets Summer League coach Micah Nori said. “Guys are going to love to play with him, they are going to continue to run for him because he is a pass-first point guard….

“And I see him being able to lead. With his ability to pass and his unselfishness, guys are going to want to follow him.”

The Nuggets have followed Mudiay to a 2-0 start at Summer League, and he’s been the most impressive rookie so far in getting there.

The 19-year-old from the Democratic Republic of the Congo who slid down the draft board to No. 7 has looked like an impressive NBA talent so far under the bright lights of Las Vegas.

“We’ve put the ball in his hands and given him a lot of freedom, and there’s good reason for that,” Nori said.

Mudiay has a flair to his game — he pushes the pace, and he’s fond of behind-the-back and jump passes (a little too fond of the latter). He’s got a great change of pace dribble and has shown some real explosion to the rim. More importantly, he recognizes the defense and attacks its weaknesses. Through two games, he has averaged 15 points and eight assists a game. He’s shooting just 40 percent overall (and 11 percent from three) but knows when to attack and get buckets.

“I haven’t been happy with the way I’ve been shooting, and I’ve been putting in the work and I’m going to keep shooting, but at the same time I am comfortable,” Mudiay said of his play so far at Summer League. “I like getting my teammates involved.”

What has most impressed with Mudiay is the maturity of his game. He has a controlled aggression.

He’s looks like a guy who played against men in China, not college boys. There is no panic under pressure; the game is not moving too fast for him. At one point late in the first half Sunday the Kings threw a hard double-team at him, and he calmly controlled his dribble, pulled the defenders out on the floor, and then hit the open man for a clean look at the rim.

“I feel like playing overseas professionally, that really helped me,” Mudiay said of the patience in his game. “Coming from high school to pro ball, in high school I was rushing everything. Straight out to China I was rushing everything. But I’ve got to let the game come to me.”

“When things are chaotic he remains calm, he’s very comfortable with his abilities, and he’s able to make pretty much any pass at any time, which is big time,” Nori said. “And I think the one thing about Emmanuel that allows him to do that is his skill level with his ball handling. And the other thing is he’s a big kid, a big strong kid. Some guys, when they get pressure, turn their back to the floor, the one thing he’s able to do is be facing forward, facing that rim, and that’s why he can make any pass at any time. He finds guys that are open and hits them on time and on target.”

Mudiay already knows how to use his NBA-ready physique to create space — he drives into defenders, puts them back on their heals, then pulls up looking for the pass or shot. He hits first, he doesn’t wait for the defense to hit him. Is that something else he learned in China?

“I got that from my brothers,” Mudiay said with a laugh. “Just playing with them all the time they used to try to bully me, and I’d try to bully them back. I was so little that just stuck with me. So when I play older, more physical guys, taller guys, even stronger guys, I try to hit them first so they know the next play I’m coming in.”

Nobody should read too much into two NBA Summer League games — two Vegas games matter about as much as presidential race polling right now, we’re nowhere near when it gets real. The list of NBA Summer League MVPs is littered with “who’s that?” This is not the NBA. How all of this translates to games in November or even February is a question still to be answered. And how he will ultimately compare to D’Angelo Russell (who has shown strong moments but is more shoot first) or Kristaps Porzingis will not be answered for years.

But quality NBA players tend to stand out in the chaos of Summer League — and Mudiay stands out.

He’s not your typical Summer League point guard. And that could be excellent news for the Denver Nuggets.