Tag:Denver Nuggets
Posted on: November 22, 2011 9:36 am
Edited on: November 22, 2011 9:41 am

Smith resumes play in China after negative MRI

By Matt Moore 

J.R. Smith suffered a potentially significant knee injury Sunday for the Zhejiang Golden Bulls, and subsequently got into a spat with ownership about his pursuit of consultation. But there's good news. NIUBball.net reports that an MRI for Smith was negative and he rejoined the team Tuesday night, putting in 15-6-4 in a win. That's a huge relief for Smith and his agent, as he's an unrestricted free agent whenever the lockout ends and is in line for a sizeable contract offer considering his age and production. This is the money contract for Smith and he's in line to cash in. A knee injury would jeopardize that.  

But all's not all well that ends well, as NIUBBall.com reports that Smith's pursuit of the MRI in Beijing instead of with team doctors has them investigating what disciplinary measures are at their disposal. It's hard to see the team really wanting to take this to the end of its available measures, considering Smith was just pursuing what he felt was best for his health, not violating team rules out of some entertainment option. 

Players who have played in China had warned NBA players before that the culture is significantly different there, and this might be an example of this. We'll have to see how the situation plays out between Smith and his new team.
Posted on: November 21, 2011 10:51 am
Edited on: November 21, 2011 11:00 am

J.R. Smith and Zhejiang in spat after injury

By Matt Moore 

J.R. Smith suffered a knee injury this weekend for the Zhejiang Golden Bulls in China, his first game in the Chinese Basketball Association. But it's after that when things got weird. The Wall Street Journal reports that Smith declined to receive medical attention from the team, despite strict team rules, and instead sought out his own care in Beijing. The team did not like that too much: 
It’s unclear how severe Mr. Smith’s injury is. Zhao Bing, the Golden Bulls’ general manager, said the player repeatedly declined medical treatment from the team and arranged his own treatment in Beijing instead. “We warned him that he’s not allowed to go to Beijing without a proper medical check,” Mr. Zhao said, expressing his displeasure at Mr. Smith’s disobedience. “He just wouldn’t listen.”

Mr. Smith is “an experienced basketball player and a big name in NBA,” Mr. Zhao said. But “I think he should have been aware that CBA is not an easy game to play either.”
via J.R. Smith Limps into Spat as Locked-Out NBAers Get Going in China - China Real Time Report - WSJ.

But wait, it gets better: 
“We would like to improve ourselves through learning from the NBA players,” Zhejiang’s Mr. Zhao said of his star player’s refusal to heed the team’s medical protocols. “That was just the first game of the season. He really didn’t have to behave like this.”

Mr. Zhao posted a warning to Mr. Smith on Sina Weibo on Monday afternoon, saying the player should return to team as soon as possible “or face the consequences.” Mr. Smith responded in English less than an hour later, “My main goal is to get healthy! If you can’t understand that then maybe you should pick another profession!”
via J.R. Smith Limps into Spat as Locked-Out NBAers Get Going in China - China Real Time Report - WSJ.

One game. It took J.R. Smith one game to get into a dispute with his team in China. That is simultaneously the most predictable and incredible thing in the past week. Smith's got a lot to be concerned about, considering he's an unrestricted free agent looking for his biggest contract to date whenever the NBA picks its schedule back up, if it ever picks its schedule back up.

It's also not uncommon for players to pursue their own treatment. Andrew Bynum notoriously has shaken off the Lakers' medical staff through his various knee injuries to seek out advice and treatment on his own. But the Chinese culture has been said by players who have played there to be very different, and this could spark quite a bit of tension between Smith and the club.

Wilson Chandler, meanwhile, scored 43 points for the Zhejiang Lions (there are a lot of Zhejiang teams). Kenyon Martin has yet to play for the Zhejiang Tigers and Aaron Brooks should play his first game shortly. 

But Smith's injury definitely is serving as a warning to players who are not under contract considering playing overseas during the lockout. There are risks along with the rewards. We'll have to see about the severity of the injury and how his conflict with the team plays out.
Posted on: November 20, 2011 7:14 pm
Edited on: November 20, 2011 7:22 pm

J.R. Smith suffers knee injury in China

By Matt Moore 

According to multipe reports, J.R. Smith suffered a knee injury Sunday in China playing for Zhejiang in his Chinese Basketball Association debut. A video posted to YouTube showed Smith limping to the sideline after coming down on the knee and hobbling afterwards. It was a non-contact injury. NIUBBall.com reports that Smith was carried to a hospital-bound ambulance by teammates afterwards. 

Smith is an unrestricted free agent whenever the NBA resumes its offseason/preseason, and a significant injury could severely hamper his chances at his most lucrative contract offer to date. Smith is considered one of the best available shooting guards in the free agent market, and an injury could hurt his offers. Smith signed with Zhejiang even after a CBA rule was implemented to prevent teams in the CBA from offering contracts with an NBA opt-out, however NIUBBall.com has reported in the past that the most likely scenario involves teams simply releasing players for whatever guise they want, "chemistry," "personal reasons," etc., in a handshake deal should the NBA resume play. 

We'll update you with Smith's official diagnosis if and when it becomes available. 

(HT: SBNation)
Posted on: October 25, 2011 11:39 am

Ty Lawson is not enjoying his European stay

By Matt Moore

It started innocently enough. Ty Lawson is whiling away the hours, conferin' with the flowers in Lithuania during the NBA lockout with a team called BC Zalgiris. But Lawson started tweeting on Tuesday that things aren't going swimmingly with the club.
I coulda sat home and played NBA 2k12 and got the same thing accomplished that we did in practice smh
via Ty Lawson (tylawson3) on Twitter

OK, well, that's not a very nice thing to say about your coach/team, but no big deal. Except Lithuanian fans on Twitter didn't take too kindly to it. And things got personal. Quickly. Especially after Lawson said:
A lot of wack things happening
via Twitter / @TyLawson3: A lot of wack things happe ...

And then after a response from a particularly abusive fan of the team, saying he is "complaining:"
@pranas_balsys I would slap the shyt outta u if I seen u in person... I play hard every game
via Twitter / @TyLawson3: @pranas_balsys I would sla ...

Well, now. That's not very nice on either side's part. 

Lawson then said he had "said what he had to say" and that he was done... but then the tweets kept a comin' from both sides.
funny thing.... i see all these lithuanian ppl starting to follow me..here comes the hate tweets.... in 3...2..1 lol..
via Twitter / @TyLawson3: funny thing.... i see all ...

And then it got worse. The replies to Lawson took on a decidedly racist turn. Which is always fun. And predictable. And sad.
this ridiculous... didnt kno racism still existed... might have to pack my bags
via Twitter / @TyLawson3: this ridiculous... didnt k ...

Ha, just kidding, he says!
lol..i aint gonna pack my bags.. life in a another country is crazy as u can tell... im a tough dude..aint gonna run away from a situation
via Twitter / @TyLawson3: lol..i aint gonna pack my ....

And finally, possibly my favorite tweet in all the world:
they call me chico baby.... if u gonna be racist dont forget about my mexican side
via Twitter / @TyLawson3: they call me chico baby... ...

Now that, friends, is how you troll the fanbase of your own team. 

Lawson's facing abusive fans, but he would be facing abusive fans anywhere, including Denver, if he or the team struggled. One of the problems is that the players who are overseas aren't really committed to it. They know they're only there till the lockout ends. This isn't a career move, it's a part-time gig. That affects your outlook and the level of hassle you're willing to deal with. Like everything else with the lockout, it's complicated. 

(via IAmAGm.com)
Posted on: October 25, 2011 9:39 am

Kenneth Faried invites Enes Kanter to go quietly

By Matt Moore

Kentucky held an exhibition last night called the Big Blue All-Stars vs. The Villains featuring a number of college stars. As you'd expect, a high number of NBA players showed up, including Jodie Meeks who dropped 42 points. $50,000 was raised for the V Foundation, which is awesome. You know what's almost as awesome? 




Sorry, got a little excited there. No NBA has me a little... off. 

Check out this quote from Kanter post-game:
"I couldn't play in high school," he said. "I couldn't play in college. Now, I can't play in the NBA. I'm really frustrated."
via Curses, Christian Laettner wins again as Villains beat ex-Cats | Homepage | Kentucky.com.

Apparently Kanter can't play when Faried is around, either. Boom. It'll be exciting to see how Faried's intensity and athleticism can help guard the rim for the Nuggets when the NBA returns. You know, in 2014. 
Posted on: October 6, 2011 5:11 pm
Edited on: October 6, 2011 5:37 pm

Manager steals millions; gets 3 years in jail

Posted by Ben Golliversteve-francis-nyk

Infinitely wise advice from the rapper Nas: "Watch them [people] that be close to you."

Those words should have been heeded by a number of Washington, D.C. area professional athletes who were taken for a million-dollar ride by their crooked sports manager. 

The Washington Examiner reports that a D.C. manager who worked for multiple NBA players and a prominent heavyweight boxer copped to misusing and pilfering millions of dollars generated by his clients.
Nathan A. Peake, 41, of Silver Spring, admitted in federal court in the District that he didn't file tax returns from 2000 through 2007 and diverted about $5.8 million in management and agent fees from his business to personal accounts.

He also admitted to misappropriating proceeds from a $3.5 million line of commercial credit that one of his athlete clients guaranteed and paid off.

"Nathan Peake's efforts at tax evasion were much less successful than the careers of the professional athletes he managed," said U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen Jr. "Today's sentence sends the unmistakable message that everyone -- especially those bringing in millions in income -- must pay their fair share."
There's nothing quite like a good lawyer zing. Or a bad lawyer zing for that matter.

Among Peake's clients, the paper reports, were Denver Nuggets point guard Ty Lawson and former NBA All-Star Steve Francis.

Francis raked in more than $103 million in salary during a 9-year NBA career playing for the Houston Rockets, Orlando Magic, and New York Knicks. Most recently, he played professionally in China.

Lawson is still on his rookie deal with the Nuggets and has career NBA earnings of less than $3 million. Back in August, he signed to play professionally in Lithuania. 

Hat tip: @NZbeFree
Posted on: September 24, 2011 2:36 pm
Edited on: September 24, 2011 2:36 pm

First up for each team in a post-lockout world

Posted by Royce Young

So the lockout could be ending soon, depending on who you're listening to. Maybe it extends into the season, but if it doesn't and a deal gets settled in the next few weeks, we're going to have one heck of a free agency period. Really, no matter when it's settled, we're going to have one wild free agency period.

(Unless we were to miss all of 2011-12 and you combined this class with next year's group. Now that would be something.)

If you thought the summer of 2010 was a frenzy, try cramming it all into a two-week period. Maybe I'm just thinking of how horrible it'll be for me. Regardless, you can be sure that all 30 teams have a pre-written itinerary on what they want to accomplish once the lockout is lifted. They have been planning, plotting and preparing to target the players they want or finish up a few final transactions on the roster.

But what's the first order of business for everybody? What's the priority, the thing that each team wants to get done right away? Here's a stab at each team's top job.

Atlanta Hawks: It really appears that the Hawks are ready and willing to let Jamal Crawford walk, but there's still a decision to made whether or not they want to compete for him in the free agent market. He was a key part of the team that made a somewhat surprising run to the Eastern Semifinals and re-signing him could be a priority. Problem is, they don't really have the funds for it.

Boston Celtics: What happens with Jeff Green? The Celtics have already tendered him a qualifying offer, but someone surely will extend him an offer sheet. The Celtics have issues at center still and Glen Davis is unrestricted, but figuring out Jeff Green's situation is probably weighing heaviest on Danny Ainge's mind.

Charlotte Bobcats: The Bobcats made a big splash in the draft, but if that's going to matter, they've got to get Bismack Biyombo on the team. His buyout could still be a major issue and though he says he'll be on the team when training camp starts, that's definitely up in the air.

Chicago Bulls: Wing scorer. Say it with me, wing scorer. Derrick Rose needs help (and an extension) in a big time way and it's up to Gar Foreman and company to find that help. Jamal Crawford maybe? Caron Butler? J.R. Smith if he wasn't in China? Someone has to give Rose a little offensive help and that's the top priority for the Bulls.

Cleveland Cavaliers: First thing? Putting Baron Davis on the scales to make sure he doesn't weigh 300 pounds. After that, there isn't a whole lot to be done in Cleveland. The club's rebuilding around their two lottery picks and you don't want to crowd the roster in a way that stunts their development.

Dallas Mavericks: The defending champs have a whole lot on their plate once the lockout ends. Caron Butler's contract is up. So is J.J. Barea's. So is DeShawn Stevenson's. So is Brian Cardinal's (just kidding -- well it is up, but you know what I mean). But the first order of business for Mark Cuban is to get Tyson Chandler re-signed. Not just that though, but to get him re-signed to a number that makes sense for the make-up of the roster.

Denver Nuggets: Despite the lockout, the Nuggets have kind of been gutted. J.R. Smith, Kenyon Martin and Wilson Chandler are in China until at least March. Danilo Gallinari signed in Italy but has an NBA out. But all of that doesn't matter near as much as getting Nene re-signed. Without Nene, it doesn't matter. With Nene, there's still something worth building around.

Detroit Pistons: The Pistons are kind of trying to quietly usher out the old and bring in some new. Tayshaun Prince is a free agent, but I don't think they care. What'll be most interesting is how they handle Rodney Stuckey. The Pistons drafted Brandon Knight in June with Stuckey already their point guard. Do they want Knight to take over? Do they want to play them together? Share the role? Sorting out Stuckey's future is definitely what Joe Dumars has to do first.

Golden State Warriors: The Warriors could be players in free agency, but really, it's about deciding once and for all if Monta Ellis and Stephen Curry really are the backcourt tandem of the future for the team. If there's a time to move on, it's now when both of their values are still high. The Warriors flirted with dealing Ellis last season but it didn't happen. They're probably planning on revisiting that.

Houston Rockets: First order of business: Properly sending off Yao with a jersey retirement ceremony. After that, the Rockets are fairly settled, though you know Daryl Morey is just itching to pick up a phone and start transacting once the lockout's over.

Indiana Pacers: The Pacers have a number of expiring deals and aren't likely looking to re-sign them (maybe Josh McRoberts, maybe Jeff Foster). Larry Bird has been hunting more pieces to add to his mediocre roster for a while and you can be sure the Pacers are going to target some of the bigger free agent names in this class.

Los Angeles Clippers: Eric Gordon is ready for an extension, but the Clippers better be ready to match any offer DeAndre Jordan gets. You might not think that's a big deal, but forget Chris Kaman. The future of the Clips frontcourt is Blake Griffin and Jordan. You seven-footer from Texas A&M finally started figuring himself out a little last season and he's not far off from becoming a major defensive impact player.

Los Angeles Lakers: Shannon Brown's unrestricted, but he's really not that much of an impact player to be that concerned with. The Lakers might have to focus on how to re-structure the roster to suit a new CBA that could greatly cut into their total salary. Will they have to move Lamar Odom? Metta World Peace? But first things first: Giving Kobe and Mike Brown a proper introduction and letting them figure out the direction of the offense.

Memphis Grizzlies: Marc Gasol. That's it for Memphis. It'd be nice to get Shane Battier back, but it's all about Gasol.

Miami Heat: It's kind of been overlooked, but Pat Riley and the Heat have a busy couple weeks waiting on them. Mike Bibby, Jamaal Magloire, Juwan Howard, Erick Dampier and James Jones are all unrestricted and Mario Chalmers is restricted. It's decision time for the Heat. Do they start restocking with veteran talent or look to get younger and develop?

Milwaukee Bucks: That first practice in Milwaukee is something Scott Skiles has probably been thinking about for a while. "Brandon, this is Stephen. Stephen, this is Brandon." The Bucks have some new talent as Stephen Jackson joins Brandon Jennings, but how will they get along?

Minnesota Timberwolves: Here's what David Kahn's to-do list looks like: 1) Hug Ricky. 2) Hug Darko. 3) Overpay a questionable free agent at a position you already have three guys. What it should look like: 1) Convince Kevin Love somehow to sign an extension. 2) Get rid of Michael Beasley and let Derrick Williams have the starting small forward spot all to himself. 3) Tell Rick Adelman to do his thing.

New Jersey Nets: Kris Humphies is an important piece of business but his re-signing goes hand in hand with the larger thing: Proving to Deron Williams that this is a place he wants to re-sign. The Nets have to take advantage right away of showing Williams they're serious about winning. And you do that by getting him some immediate help.

New Orleans Hornets: It's all about David West for the Hornets. Yes, he suffered a major knee injury last season. But he chose to become an unrestricted free agent and a team like the Nets is likely to come calling quickly. Can the Hornets hang on to Chris Paul's buddy?

New York Knicks: The Knicks have a little bit coming off the books but really they need to try and resist the urge to do something drastic in this free agency period. Which they will because of the big names coming up in 2012. Still, they want to field a solid team for this season -- and Mike D'Antoni needs them too -- so adding a quality veteran to help on the inside would be good.

Oklahoma City Thunder: The young Thunder roster is pretty much entirely set up. But Sam Presti has something to do right away once the lockout ends -- get Russell Westbrook his extension. Presti brought Kevin Durant his at midnight last July to make sure there was no doubt about locking up his superstar. Presti better be stalking Westbrook's house on the whim he lockout ends so he can extend the same treatment to his other star.

Orlando Magic: First order of business for Otis Smith and the Magic? Resume begging Dwight Howard to stay. One way to show it would be to get him some help, but Smith sort of laid those cards on the table last year in the Gilbert Arenas/Hedo Turkoglu trade. So it's back to convincing Howard there's a plan for the future and that it'll get better.

Philadelphia 76ers: Someone is ready and willing to give Thaddeus Young a serious offer, so the Sixers better be ready to match anything and everything.

Phoenix Suns: Steve Nash's trade value will be highest at the beginning of the season, so it's up to Lance Blanks and Robert Sarver to figure out if they're ready to move on. Aaron Brooks is a restricted free agent so if the Suns lock him up by matching an offer sheet, that'll be an indication that the Suns are preparing for life without Nash.

Portland Trail Blazers: The Blazers are in love with Nicolas Batum, so extending him could be the first order of business, but really, the Blazers need to find a new general manager first. And whoever that guy is needs to decide that if for the off chance someone gives Greg Oden an offer, if he's willing to match. Oden already has an $8.8 qualifying offer, which is huge, so once Oden signs that, he'll likely be signing with the Blazers for another year.

Sacramento Kings: The Jimmer-Tyreke backcourt is going to be an interesting experiment, but Marcus Thornton is quietly one of the more intriguing free agents out there. The Bulls are likely looking at him long and hard right now. He's restricted, so the Kings could keep him, but the question is, with Tyreke moving off the ball for good and Jimmer handling the point, is it worth paying Thornton to just have him come off the bench?

San Antonio Spurs: Um, I guess just resume the typical day-to-day of the Spurs. Gregg Popovich is the longest tenured coach with a team and R.C. Buford probably isn't looking to go do anything drastic in this market. The Spurs are definitely aging, but there's not a lot to be done about that right now.

Toronto Raptors: Assuming the Raptors actually have Jonas Valanciunas for next season, Dwane Casey and company have to figure out if he's ready to cover for Andrea Bargnani on the inside. Can those two really play together and handle enough rebounding and defensive duties? The Raptors are in a place where they have to wait and see with some young players and aren't likely targeting any big names in the open market.

Utah Jazz: Most likely, Andrei Kirilenko won't be re-signing with the Jazz. So Kevin O'Connor will have to make a choice when the lockout's over: Does he try and restock a roster that can maybe squeak out the eight-seed, or does he commit to rebuilding around Enes Kanter, Derrick Favors and others and just let them play it out? The Jazz would love to get some wing scoring help, so O'Connor will probably at least look that direction, but we'll have to see how serious he is.

Washington Wizards: It's not an earth-shattering decision, but Nick Young is a restricted free agent. And with his scoring ability, someone is ready to pay him. Do the Wizards want to keep him? Do they want to look elsewhere and maybe target say, Marcus Thornton? Or do they just let Young walk and see what Jordan Crawford's got?
Posted on: September 15, 2011 3:44 pm

Gallinari in serious talks with Italian club?

Posted by Royce Young

According to La Gazzetta dello Sport as well as Sportando via HoopsHype, Danilo Gallinari is in "serious talks" with Italian club Olimpia Milano. The hangup? Getting Gallinari's Denver contract insured.

As of a few weeks ago, Gallinari and his family refuted reports that he was in negotiations with the team.

He said, "I am not having any (contract) talk with them. I want to think just to the National Team without any distraction. I will think about my future after Eurobasket in Lithuania."

Well, Italy has been eliminated and so I guess he can start thinking about it. Or he is. Whatever.

Unlike the other two Nuggets that signed to play in China -- Wilson Chandler and J.R. Smith -- Gallinari isn't a free agent. He's under contract with the team through this season and is a restricted free agent in 2012. So any deal he might sign would require an NBA opt-out clause, which I'm sure wouldn't be a problem.

The insurance is though. Much like it was with Andrew Bogut, to insure an NBA contract a team needs something like $500,000 which would most likely require a sponsor or donor to step up and provide it.
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