Tag: Denver Nuggets

Brooklyn Nets v Houston Rockets

Nuggets waive Pablo Prigioni


Apparently, Denver couldn’t flip Pablo Prigioni.

The Nuggets acquired the point guard in the Ty Lawson trade, but they didn’t really want him. They just needed Prigioni’s contract to facilitate the deal.

Nuggets release:

Prigioni was waived by Denver following the trade

The Nuggets will owe Prigioni just $440,00 of his $1,734,572 salary if he clears waivers.

But it’s not a lock Prigioni clears waivers. That price isn’t bad for a third point guard, and Prigioni is better than most third point guards. The 38-year-old doesn’t have any upside remaining, but that shouldn’t matter to teams ready to win now – a few of whom have cap room or trade exceptions that could fit Prigioni’s salary.

One example: The Nets, who bought out Deron Williams and traded Steve Blake. Jarrett Jack is line to start at point guard, and Shane Larkin offers decent potential behind him. Prigioni is more dependable – and likely better than anyone Brooklyn could get with the minimum-salary exception it has available. The Nets have a couple trade exceptions that could fit Prigioni’s contract.

Ty Lawson allows final season of contract to become unguaranteed, puts $13,213,482 on the line

Los Angeles Lakers v Denver Nuggets

Ty Lawson really wanted out of Denver.

The point guard, as a condition of his trade from the Nuggets to the Rockets, agreed to alter his contract.

Previously, he was owed $12,404,495 this season and $13,213,482 next season – both years guaranteed.

Zach Lowe of Grantland:

Trading for Lawson, who’s been arrested twice for DUI in the last six months, was already a risk worth taking for the Rockets. This news makes it an even better bet than previously thought.

If Lawson struggles this season – on or off the court – Houston can just waive him before the 2016-17 season begins with no cap hit.

It’s unclear whether Lawson got a guarantee date for that season. If he didn’t, the Rockets could use his contract as a major trade chip next summer if he’s not worth the money on the court. The Cavaliers are shopping Brendan Haywood’s deal the same way this summer, though such a contract has more value now before the salary cap shoots up. (Update: Lawson has a June guarantee date, according to Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders.)

More immediately, Lawson is betting on himself in a major way – and it might work.

I think his personal and professional issues are related. Lawson clearly hasn’t been happy with the Nuggets, and although that doesn’t excuse his actions, it might explain them. People are more likely to stay on the straight and narrow when the straight and narrow offers a fulfilling existence.

Simply, I think Lawson is more likely to stay sober when that means a spot on a high-end team than he was willing to stay sober for a spot on a lottery squad.

More than $13 million will only increase Lawson’s motivation.

This isn’t a silver bullet to getting Lawson healthy, but it gives him more incentive not to drink. He clearly sees the upside, too. He had to agree to reduce the protected compensation in his contract.

Lawson has talked about leaving Denver, avoiding legal troubles, being a good NBA citizen.

He just put his money where his mouth is.

Report: Emmanuel Mudiay happy to have avoided Knicks triangle in draft

Miami Heat v Denver Nuggets

The triangle offense (at least as Phil Jackson runs it) does not require a strong, traditional, ball-in-his-hands point guard. Guys who are high IQ players and knock-down shooters can thrive in that role — Steve Kerr, Derek Fisher, etc. — but players like Gary Payton chaffed in the system.

Denver’s Emmanuel Mudiay has been one of the breakout stars of Summer League. He’s a pass-first point guard who has shown an ability to get into the lane and then find open players. He’s already got an NBA body and knows how to use that physicality. Most importantly, he plays under control and the game doesn’t move too fast for him — he looks like an NBA veteran out there.

Before the draft there was a lot of talk about Mudiay being Phil Jackson’s choice for the Knicks at the No. 4 pick, then they would plug him into the triangle. Mudiay is happy that is not the case, according to Marc Berman of the New York Post.

Nuggets rookie point guard Emmanuel Mudiay told confidants after the draft he was, in retrospect, happy the Knicks passed on him at No. 4, as he was unsure he would have been a good fit for the triangle. Despite public comments to the contrary that he felt team president Phil Jackson could “make me a star,’’ Mudiay said he felt he was a better match in a more freewheeling Denver offense, according to sources.

This shouldn’t be a huge shock. Point guards like freedom and the ball in their hands and that is what Denver intentionally gave Mudiay at Summer League.

“The first thing you see is he is a true point guard…” Denver Nuggets Summer League coach Micah Nori told PBT. “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…. We’ve put the ball in his hands and given him a lot of freedom, and there’s good reason for that.”

What’s more, with the trade of Ty Lawson to Houston, Denver is going to give Mudiay the ball and a lot of freedom come the regular season, too. That will mean some hard lessons (and plenty of losses) in Denver, but Mudiay will grow quickly from it.

Knicks fans should be happy, however, with what Jackson chose to do in the draft.

Big man Kristaps Porzingis impressed — he looked like he can be just as talented and impactful as Karl-Anthony Towns and Jahlil Okafor in a few years. Porzingis is a project and he needs to put on weight to start, but you can see a smooth, high IQ game. He can score or pass to carve up a defense, plus he has shooting range out to the arc but can play inside as well.

Plus, the Knicks drafted Jerian Grant out of Notre Dame, and he has been one of the great surprises out of Summer League, a fantastic passer and floor general. He can step in this season and play some point for the Knicks in the triangle.

“We really enjoy having his playmaking out there, his vision, his comfort level with handling the basketball,” Knicks head coach Derek Fisher said of Grant’s performance in Las Vegas. “That’s one of the things that really excited us when we drafted him at the number we did (No. 19, a trade with the Wizards) because of that ability. To play the guard in our system, both guards need to be able to make plays, and Jerian gives us a little versatility that way, where he and Langston (Galloway) can play together, he can play with Jose (Calderon), a lot of different combinations we can put out there.”


Danilo Gallinari confirms he is in extension talks with Nuggets

Danilo Gallinari

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.

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

Denver Nuggets v Portland Trail Blazers

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.


• 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’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).