Kurt Helin

Danilo Gallinari

Danilo Gallinari confirms he is in extension talks with Nuggets

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We knew the Nuggets had interest in trying to extend the contract of scoring forward Danilo Gallinari but was the interest mutual?

Apparently so. At the Italian national team media day, Gallinari confirmed that he and his agent are talking contract extension with the Nuggets, reports Sportando.

Gallinari is finally healthy after some rough times following a botched surgery and is entering the final year of his contract, worth $11.5 million.

Gallinari averaged 12.4 points a game and shot 35.5 percent from three last season. He is a versatile scorer who also has some handles and can get a few boards. He had a PER of 16.4, a little above the league average. He would be someone coach Mike Malone could lean on to provide points on the court (something that may be a challenge for Denver at times).

In theory, the Nuggets could offer up to three years and $40 million, but an option to keep an eye on is a two-year extension, maybe in the financial range he is right now. The advantage to the two-year deal for the Nuggets is that they can trade him right away (that three-year deal means for six months he stays). We know the Nuggets have already explored some trade talks about Gallinari as they look to reshape their roster and franchise. Him not being a free agent after this season makes him a more attractive trade piece.

The issue for Gallinari is to balance the security of what the Nuggets are offering now — he has had injury problems in the past — versus trying to cash in when the salary cap spikes next summer and he can be a free agent. It likely comes down to how many dollars the Nuggets are putting on the table.

Chris Paul on DeAndre Jordan: “He’s like my big little brother. We talk a lot more than people realize”

Denver Nuggets v Los Angeles Clippers
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By the time the Clippers get to training camp, they are going to be spinning how they all sat around before games last season and sang “Kumbayah.” Problems? What problems.

Chris Paul and a number of other Clippers were at the NBA Players’ Awards — the new awards voted on by the players, broadcast on BET Tuesday at 8 p.m. — and before the ceremony he was asked about the wild off-season with the Clippers and the reported issues he had with DeAndre Jordan.

He did everything but sing Kumbayah. From a video posted by Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe.

“DeAndre, he’s like my big little brother. We talk a lot more than people realize. It doesn’t matter, the only thing that matters is we brought in Paul (Pierce), who I’m probably the happiest about because of his championship pedigree, being that voice in our locker room. We brought in Lance (Stephenson), Wes Johnson, brought Austin (Rivers) back, Josh Smith. Big summer for us.”

It was no doubt a big summer for the Clippers and GM Doc Rivers, who made his job as coach a lot easier by adding real depth to the roster.

Paul Pierce was there too and talked about clearing the air for the Clippers at Jordan’s house in Houston.

“I wasn’t there last year with that team, so I kind of sat in and voiced what I thought but I was on the outside looking in,” Pierce said. “I think guys cleared the air if there was any tension, but I think a lot of the media made it more than it was.”

Pierce is coming home to Los Angeles to finish his career, and he answered that question for one of the first of roughly 12 million times he will be asked about it this season.

“It’s a dream come true to be able to come home, finally,” Pierce said. “I grew up a Laker fan but playing on all the Boston Celtic teams . . . there’s no way I could go there — so this was the next best choice. And it’s always been a dream to play in front of my family and friends.”

 

Suns’ Devin Booker, Pelicans’ Bryce Dejean-Jones put on a scoring show in Vegas (VIDEO)

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In Sumer League, Devin Booker has looked like a guy the Suns can use come the regular season. He’s scored 16.2 a game and shooting 37 percent from three. There are things to work on for sure, but Booker may well get some run from coach Jeff Hornacek.

He and the Pelicans’ Bryce Dejean-Jones — who has averaged 12.8 points a game and shot 50 percent from three — put on a scoring exhibition Sunday night in Las Vegas. Dejean-Jones finished with 25, but Booker finished with 31 and the Suns got the victory.

Phoenix will take on San Antonio for the Summer League title Monday night (9 p.m. ET on NBA TV).

Report: Joel Embiid rebroke the navicular bone in his right foot. Ugh.

Miami Heat v Philadelphia 76ers
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I’m not a doctor, but this sounds like trouble.

The Sixers drafted Joel Embiid at No. 3 a year ago despite foot a foot injury, one which led to a surgery that put two screws in his navicular bone. That bone is on the inside of the foot near the top and helps connect the ankle bone to the rest of the foot. The Sixers were patient with Embiid’s recovery, not pushing him to return.

Then this summer he re-injured his foot. The Philadelphia Inquirer now reports he rebroke the same bone.

Of course, there is the impending surgery on Joel Embiid’s right foot, which should be any day. Sources have confirmed to the Daily News that the navicular bone in his right foot was rebroken.

Ugh.

Again, I’m no doctor but a bone breaking that has a couple screws in it already is not good news.

Embiid is again expected to miss the entire NBA season recovering. It’s fair to start wondering if this is all career threatening.

 

Why the Ty Lawson trade is win-win for Houston, Denver

Denver Nuggets v Portland Trail Blazers
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As fans and analysts, the natural inclination with any trade is to pick a winner. In our minds, someone needs to come out on top. But in negotiations (and that’s what a trade is), one of the first rules is to give the other guy something they want to make sure they believe they have won. Both sides need to feel like they’ve gotten better.

That’s what we have with the Denver Nuggets trading Ty Lawson to the Houston Rockets — both sides got what they wanted. It’s not perfect, but both teams think they are better for this move.

Here’s why it works for both teams.

HOUSTON ROCKETS

• They got the best player in the deal, Lawson is far superior to anyone else in this trade and bumps the Rockets potentially up with the Thunder/Spurs/Warriors/Clippers as contenders in the West.

• Houston didn’t give up any guys who were part of their playoff rotation or likely were part of their long-term plans — yes the move is a gamble but they didn’t give up much if it doesn’t pan out. It’s low risk for Houston.

• Also former NBA coach John Lucas is in Houston, and he’s a guy a lot of NBA players battling addiction issues turn to for help. The Rockets reportedly have reached out to him.

• This makes James Harden happy; he’s wanted a more offensive-minded guard next to him to relieve some of the playmaking pressure the beard faces. Lawsons’ quickness will help.

• Whether or not Lawson starts, the Rockets’ bench just got deeper.

• That said, I think this is an upgrade for the Rockets but not the massive one that some on Twitter claimed. There are two reasons holding me back. One is Lawson has personal issues to work out — he’s in a California alcohol rehab facility now and faces two DUIs from this year (he’s had three DUIs overall and there reportedly are other incidents). He will face a suspension of some length from the league. Lawson was a mess in Denver, showing up late to practice, not being motivated, and being the opposite of a leader. Lawson’s supporters say that in a new setting and given responsibilities on a contender he will get right and play well. I hope so, for his sake, but he has frustrated every NBA coach he ever had.

• My second Lawson to Houston concern is on the court — playing Lawson and Harden together would be a defensive liability. To me, it makes more sense to continue to start Patrick Beverley still and bring Lawson off the bench, just to make sure they still get stops. Coach Kevin McHale has some versatility and options in his backcourt to experiment with now, but the Lawson/Harden pairing may present problems.

DENVER NUGGETS

• Denver’s primary goal this summer is a locker room culture change and moving Lawson was a key part of that plan — they see it as addition by subtraction. Even with the non-rotation players they got back, Denver wanted to make this move to keep Lawson away from their young, developing players. Expect a few more moves to follow as Denver reshapes its roster to something coach Mike Malone can work with.

• After that second 2015 DUI, getting a first rounder for Lawson — even one that has some healthy protections and likely lands in the 20s — is an accomplishment.

• Denver also cleared out a lot of cap space, giving them real flexibility going into next summer.

• Welcome to the Emmanuel Mudiay era in Denver. That’s a very good thing, he will be in the mix for Rookie of the Year and grow from there.

• Nick Johnson has shown some potential, and Kostas Papanikoloau is the kind of shot creator Denver needs now. Those guys may develop into something for the Nuggets (if they keep Papanikoloau, his deal is not guaranteed).