Nuggets

Trey Lyles Joins Altitude Sports Radio to Discuss his Trade to the Nuggets, Nikola Jokić and More
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Trey Lyles envisioned playing for the Nuggets coming out of Kentucky. Two years later, he has his chance.
As Trey Lyles traversed the country in the months leading up to the 2015 NBA draft, there was something that stuck out about his trip to the Rocky Mountains. “When I worked out for the Nuggets, Denver was one of my favorite cities I visited,” Lyles said. “It was a city and a team that I was looking forward to hopefully getting a chance to play for.” Lyles has that chance now after a trade during Thursday’s NBA draft that brought the 6-foot-10 forward to Denver from the Utah Jazz, a deal that included a swap of first-round picks. The Jazz drafted Lyles 12th overall out of Kentucky in 2015, five spots after the Nuggets selected Emmanuel Mudiay. Lyles was among the players the Nuggets were considering heading into that draft. “We had him in the top 10 two years ago,” Nuggets president of basketball operations Tim Connelly said. “He had an excellent rookie year. Last year he wasn’t able to build off that success — in a diminished role to some degree — but I think he can play both frontcourt positions. He’s only 21, the same age as many of the guys who went (in the draft Thursday). He’s big enough to play the five. He’s a high IQ guy, can make shots. He’s able to move the ball and play the way we like to play.” Lyles averaged 6.1 points per game as a rookie with Utah while shooting 44 percent from the floor and 38 percent from 3-point range. He averaged 6.2 points per game last season, but his shooting averages dipped to 36 and 32 percent. His minutes also went down slightly as the Jazz added journeyman forward Boris Diaw. Lyles was said he was initially caught off guard when he got a call from his agent and then Jazz coach Quin Snyder on Thursday telling him he was being traded to Denver. “It’s something you always have to keep in the back of your mind,” Lyles said. “You never know. It’s a business and people are going to do what they think is best for their teams. You can’t be angry about it because there’s 403 jobs in the NBA and you’re one of them. Just being able to go out there and play is a great thing for me, and I just try to have as much fun with it as I can.” Lyles will arrive in Denver next week with a decent familiarity of the roster that extends beyond his matchups with the Nuggets during his two seasons as a Western Conference opponent. He was born in Canada but moved to Indiana when he was 7. He became friendly with Nuggets guard Gary Harris from their interactions on the state’s basketball scene, and Lyles reached out to Harris for information on Denver when he made his pre-draft visit. Lyles also played on the same team in 2012 with Jamal Murray, Emmanuel Mudiay and Nikola Jokic during the Nike Global Challenge, an elite prep basketball tournament for players around the world that was then held in Washington D.C. Lyles has become even more familiar with Murray through Canadian basketball events. He’s also seen enough of Jokic, both as a teammate five years ago and then as opponent, to know he’s eager to play alongside Denver’s pass-by-nature center. Related ArticlesJune 23, 2017 Tim Connelly: Defensive improvement must start internally for the Nuggets June 23, 2017 The biggest winners and losers from the 2017 NBA draft June 22, 2017 PHOTOS: 2017 NBA draft fashion June 22, 2017 Trade talks unable to materialize for Nuggets on draft day June 22, 2017 PHOTOS: Derrick White NBA draft watch party “This past year he was able to step up into a role that allowed him to flourish and people started seeing he was able to do a multitude of things,” Lyles said. “I’m excited to go out there and play with him and catch some of those passes from the angles he’s throwing them at. It’s going to be a great compatibility between us.” Offensive contributions are likely to be a bonus from Lyles, who has shot 34 percent from 3-point range in his 151-game career. To see the floor in what is currently a crowded frontcourt, his biggest contribution will have to come on the defensive end, where the Nuggets struggled last season. Lyles has targeted increasing upper-body strength as one way he can add to his game on both ends, but he believes he has a solid foundation that will help him grow into an impactful defender. “Growing up, I’ve always had coaches who preach defense, (including) Coach (John) Calipari at Kentucky,” Lyles said. “And, of course, with the Jazz. I think personally, for me, being able to be versatile and guard different positions, keep guys in front of me and just compete is the main thing for me. This past summer I’ve spent a lot of time focusing on that. I’m continuing to focus on it through different training exercises to get [...]
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Blake Griffin opts out, becomes free agent
Blake Griffin has decided to test free agency, telling the Los Angeles Clippers that he is opting out of the final year of his contract. A person with direct knowledge of Griffin’s plans confirmed the decision to The Associated Press on Friday, speaking on condition of anonymity because neither the five-time All-Star nor the Clippers have publicly announced the move. The move was expected, and gives Griffin the chance to either pursue a deal elsewhere — or, of course, re-sign with the Clippers for more years. The Clippers have had six consecutive successful regular seasons — winning at least 60 percent of their games each year, something only San Antonio has done in that same span — but never cracked the code of finding success in the playoffs. The Clippers never made it out of the second round in any of those six seasons, and lost in the first round each of the last two years. And now with Griffin, along with LA guards Chris Paul and J.J. Redick all potentially on the move as free agents, as well as speculation that DeAndre Jordan could be a trade possibility, next season’s Clippers could have a decidedly different look. Griffin has spent his entire career with the Clippers, averaging 21.5 points and 9.4 rebounds on 52 percent shooting in seven seasons. He was due to make $21.4 million next season. Griffin joins a free-agent class that will also have Utah’s Gordon Hayward, Toronto’s Kyle Lowry and Heat guard Dion Waiters as some of the fellow headliners. Golden State stars Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant technically will be free agents as well, but are expected to return to the champion Warriors. Dwyane Wade could have been a free agent as well, but told the Chicago Bulls he is exercising his $23.8 million option for next season. Griffin was the No. 1 overall pick by the Clippers in the 2009 draft. He missed the entire 2009-10 season with a left knee injury, and a variety of injuries have seen him miss 83 games in the last three regular seasons alone. Griffin also got hurt in Game 3 of the Clippers’ first-round matchup against Utah this season and never returned. The Clippers lost that series in seven games, dropping the deciding game at home. [...]
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Nuggets Acquire Trey Lyles and Tyler Lydon from Utah in Draft-Night Trade
The Denver Nuggets have received Trey Lyles and the rights to Tyler Lydon from the Utah Jazz in exchange for the rights to Donovan Mitche [...]
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PHOTOS: 2017 NBA draft fashion
A look at some of the spiffy fashion of the 2017 NBA draft prospects Thursday, June 22, 2017. Related ArticlesJune 22, 2017 Trade talks unable to materialize for Nuggets on draft day June 22, 2017 PHOTOS: Derrick White NBA draft watch party June 22, 2017 Inside the exhilarating draft party of Colorado guard Derrick White, who the Spurs selected with pick No. 29 June 22, 2017 Kiszla: Instead of getting Jimmy Butler, the Nuggets got kicked in the teeth during NBA draft June 22, 2017 Nuggets miss out on trade deal during NBA draft, drop back to draft Syracuse forward Tyler Lydon [...]
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2017 Draft Profile: Jordan Bell
Class: JuniorHt: 6-foot-9Wt: 227 pounds [...]
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Josh Kroenke Sits Down with Nuggets Insider Christopher Dempsey to Discuss State of Nuggets Team and More
Josh Kroenke, Nuggets president and governor, is bullish on his team’s future. [...]
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Who can the Nuggets pick up with the 49 and 51st picks in the NBA draft?
On April 9, Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook destroyed the hopes of Denver Nuggets fans. His 36-foot, game-winning jumper at the buzzer at the Pepsi Center eliminated the Nuggets from the playoffs — for the fourth consecutive season. While all eyes will be on the 13th pick in Thursday’s NBA draft for a player who could help get Denver over the hump, the Nuggets also have the 49th and 51st picks. Productive players can be found in the second round. Think Boston Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas, the last pick in the 2011 draft. Veterans Marc Gasol (2007, 48th pick) and Paul Millsap (2006, 47th pick) are all-stars. Golden State’s Draymond Green (2012, 35th pick) was snagged in the second round. Not to mention the Nuggets’ Nikola Jokic — touted the future of the franchise — was taken 41st overall in 2014. Here are five players that the Nuggets should keep their eyes peeled for late in the draft: Jordan Bell Charlie Riedel, The Associated PressOregon forward Jordan Bell (1) dunks against Kansas during the second half of the Midwest Regional final of the NCAA men’s college basketball tournament, Saturday, March 25, 2017, in Kansas City, Mo. Related ArticlesJune 21, 2017 What the Denver Nuggets could do in the 2017 NBA draft June 21, 2017 Nuggets president Josh Kroenke says team in “much stronger position” heading into pivotal summer June 20, 2017 Kiszla: Trading for Jimmy Butler would be bigger get for Nuggets than hiring Chauncey Billups June 20, 2017 NBA beat writers across the country participated in a mock draft. Here are the results. June 20, 2017 Arturas Karnisovas brings wealth of unique basketball knowledge to Nuggets’ GM role 6-foot-9, 225 pounds School: Oregon Position: Power forward Stats: 11.0 points, 8.7 rebounds, 1.8 assists Bell is projected to be off the board by the early second round, but if he is available, there is no reason why the Nuggets should think twice about picking him up. He fits an immediate need for Denver with his interior defense. Bell was the 2017 Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year, averaging 3.1 blocks and 1.8 steals per 40 minutes. His high motor and physicality makes up for his lack of size and he figures to be able to guard from the 3-5 at the NBA level. Johnathan Motley David Purdy, Getty ImagesJohnathan Motley (5) of the Baylor Bears battles for a rebound with Solomon Young (33) of the Iowa State Cyclones in the second half of play at Hilton Coliseum on Feb. 25, 2017 in Ames, Iowa. 6-10, 230 pounds School: Baylor Position: Power forward/center Stats: 17.2 points, 9.9 rebounds, 2.2 assists Motley would give the Nuggets another rebounder around the rim and defensive versatility in the middle. With a 7-4 wingspan, the Baylor product has the potential to be a strong shot-blocking presence at the next level (Averaged 1.1 blocks for the Bears last season). Nigel Williams-Goss Ronald Martinez, Getty ImagesNigel Williams-Goss #5 of the Gonzaga Bulldogs handles the ball against the South Carolina Gamecocks during the 2017 NCAA Men’s Final Four Semifinal at University of Phoenix Stadium on April 1, 2017 in Glendale, Arizona. 6-3, 195 pounds School: Gonzaga Position: Point guard Stats: 16.8 points, 6.0 rebounds, 4.7 assists The Nuggets already have a lot of young guards. But they don’t have one with the pass-first mindset that Williams-Goss possesses. With Jameer Nelson creeping up in age and Emmanuel Mudiay looking to regain footing in his third season, the 2017 WCC Player of the Year is an insurance policy at the backup point guard position. Williams-Goss is a proven winner, having lead Gonzaga to its first NCAA title game last season. Cameron Oliver Stacy Revere, Getty ImagesCameron Oliver #0 of the Nevada Wolf Pack attempts a shot in the first half against the Iowa State Cyclones during the first round of the 2017 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament at BMO Harris Bradley Center on March 16, 2017 in Milwaukee, Wis. 6-8, 225 pounds School: Nevada Position: Power forward Stats: 16.0 points, 8.7 rebounds, 1.8 assists Oliver has two-way potential and could be contributor, should Danilo Gallinari leave the Mile High City in free agency. He averaged 3.4 blocks per 40 minutes at Nevada. Matt Jones Kevin C. Cox, Getty ImagesMatt Jones of the Duke Blue Devils reacts after forcing a turnover in the second half against the Troy Trojans during the first round of the 2017 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament at Bon Secours Wellness Arena on March 17, 2017 in Greenville, S.C. 6-5, 204 pounds School: Duke Position: Shooting guard Stats: 7.0 points, 2.8 rebounds, 1.9 assists A 3-point specialist, Jones would be a nice fit in the Nuggets’ free-flowing offensive scheme. The Blue Devil also makes sense from a defensive standpoint as he was an ACC all-defensive selection last year. [...]
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Dempsey's Deliveries: Building Around Nikola Jokić, Draft and Free Agency Outlook
Nuggets Insider Christopher Dempsey answers fan questions from the mailbag in his weekly series. [...]
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Kiszla: Trading for Jimmy Butler would be bigger get for Nuggets than hiring Chauncey Billups
The Nuggets don’t need to hire Chauncey Billups to win a championship. But it’s time for president of basketball operations Tim Connelly to stop talking about being aggressive in the trade market and go get Chicago Bulls star Jimmy Butler or New York Knicks big man Kristaps Porzingis. You interested in patiently waiting until 2020 for the Nuggets to be more than dust bunnies for Kevin Durant to mop off the floor? Me, neither. While disgruntled Indiana star Paul George informed the Nuggets months ago his next move would be to the beaches of Los Angeles rather than the mountains of Colorado, Butler is definitely on the trade block and Porzingis might be, depending on the mood of zen master Phil Jackson when he brushes his teeth on any given morning. Do the Nuggets have the resources to obtain Butler or Porzingis in a trade? Here are two deals, humbly proposed. Connelly can pick the one he likes best, and doesn’t even have to give me credit. All I ask is his silent and eternal gratitude. Trade A: Denver sends Wilson Chandler, Will Barton and Emmanuel Mudiay to Chicago in return for Butler, a three-time all star who averaged 23.9 points last season and has two years remaining on his contract before he can opt out in 2019. Are the Celtics or Cavaliers offering Chicago a better deal? If so, maybe the Nuggets could consider substituting Jamal Murray for Mudiay in their offer. Trade B: Denver sends Jamal Murray and Juan Hernangomez in return for Porzingis, the 7-foot-3 “Unicorn” who could join forces with Nikola “Big Honey” Jokic to make the Nuggets a matchup nightmare for nearly every team in the league. As much as I like Murray, I’m not sure he and Hernangomez would be enough to tempt the Knicks. It might require Denver to up the ante with a No. 1 draft pick. If Connelly can’t compete with Boston and Cleveland in the bidding for Butler, then maybe the talent on the Nuggets’ roster isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. If the Nuggets can’t get the best of crazy uncle Phil in trade discussions with the Knicks, then maybe I overestimated how well franchise president Josh Kroenke learned the art of the deal from his billionaire father. As the Nuggets’ brass finalized their plans for the 13th overall pick in the NBA draft, Arturas Karnisovas stood on the practice court at the Pepsi Center earlier this week and succinctly explained his mission, now that he has been promoted to general manager. “You have to start showing results,” Karnisovas said. Amen, brother. Building slowly on the modest success of last year’s 40-42 record and biding time until the Warriors get tired of ruling the NBA might be a solid basketball strategy for the Nuggets. But it’s not going to put fannies in the seats in Denver, dead last in league attendance. The rise of a super team in the NBA has turned the most chaotic week on the league calendar into a feeding frenzy, with star players and GMs alike looking for some way to put up a fight against the Warriors. The draft always makes cellphones burn hot with trade chatter. Now is the time for Denver to strike, or forever hold its peace, as one of the franchise’s long-ballyhooed trade chips, Danilo Gallinari, decides whether he wants to leave town as a free agent. When Billups goes to work for LeBron James, don’t come crying to me. Although I’ve pushed long and loudly for Denver to hire Billups as Mr. Big Shot in the front office, my understanding is the Nuggets have shown interest but never seriously considered giving him a truly serious job. Billups wants to be the architect of a champion, not a Walmart greeter at the Pepsi Center. From all indications, the Cavaliers have a higher opinion than his hometown does of Billups, as good at motivating people as identifying the factors that make a winner. Related ArticlesJune 17, 2017 Kiszla: Why Nolan Arenado believes Rockies can be “most dangerous team in the major leagues” June 17, 2017 Kickin’ it with Kiz: Will Chris Paul be the NBA free agent to erase Denver’s reputation as a fly-over city? June 16, 2017 Kiszla: Only one word to describe these Rockies and this baseball-crazy town: Un-funky-believable June 15, 2017 Kiszla: If the Rockies are legit playoff contenders, Nolan Arenado must be legit MVP candidate June 13, 2017 Kiszla: Broncos giving Paxton Lynch ample time, every chance to beat out Trevor Siemian as the starting QB Connelly freely admits the Nuggets make regular projections, looking at how many years down the line there might be a real opportunity for them to compete for an NBA championship. How long will the window of dominance by Warriors be open? “It was a big reopening for Golden State when K.D. re-signed,” Connelly said. So why wait? Go get Butler, one of [...]
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Hawks send center Dwight Howard to Hornets
ATLANTA — A person familiar with the situation says the Charlotte Hornets have reached an agreement to acquire center Dwight Howard from the Atlanta Hawks. The Hawks are sending Howard and the No. 31 overall pick in Thursday’s NBA draft to Charlotte for center Miles Plumlee, shooting guard Marco Belinelli and the 41st pick, the person told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Tuesday because the trade is not yet official. Howard will be playing for his third team in three seasons following a disappointing homecoming in Atlanta. Howard signed a three-year, $70.5 million deal with Atlanta and then sat out the fourth quarter in two of six playoff games in the Hawks’ first-round loss to Washington. ___ AP Sports Writer Jon Krawcynski in Minneapolis and AP Sports Writer Steve Reed in Charlotte contributed to this report. [...]
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University of Colorado's Derrick White Headlines Nuggets Final Pre-Draft Workout
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Paul George plans to leave Indiana, and where he lands could reshape the NBA
Sunday afternoon, the worst-kept secret in the NBA was broadcast to the masses: Indiana Pacers star Paul George, one of the league’s best two-way players, plans to play out the final year of his contract and enter free agency next summer — with the intent of heading back to his native southern California to play for the Los Angeles Lakers. But while George’s wishes were widely known, the fact that his agent, Aaron Mintz of Creative Artists Agency, was willing to tell the Pacers exactly what his client plans to do sets up the dominoes that will impact everything this summer. And it’s made George the grand prize for every team to pursue over the coming months. It was already expected to be a busy summer, one that began this weekend when the Boston Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers agreed to a trade for the No. 1 pick in Thursday’s draft, an offseason filled with more uncertainty and intrigue than any in years. While Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry are all but certain to remain with the Golden State Warriors once they hit free agency on July 1, and Chris Paul is likely to do the same with the Los Angeles Clippers (despite rumors to the contrary), all-stars such as Utah Jazz forward Gordon Hayward, Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin and Toronto Raptors guard Kyle Lowry all could potentially change teams — and change the balance of power in both conferences if they choose. Those players are talented, to be sure, but none of them possess the same upside as George, who is not only the youngest of them (a couple months younger than Hayward) but also the best defensive player. In a league where wings who score efficiently and defend are at a premium, George’s value is immense. That’s why there will be a rush of teams angling to secure his services, even if there’s just one year remaining on his contract. For all of George’s bluster about his desire to go only to the Lakers, teams with aspirations of a deep playoff run will hope that, after a year in their system, he’ll want to stay. And the Lakers are all but certain to stink next season (assuming they don’t get George this summer), and the idea of leaving a contending team to play for a struggling one will be harder for George to stomach than his current situation — leaving a middling team with no clear path to the top of the East. So, over the next few weeks, expect George’s name to come up constantly. Pacers President of Basketball Operations Kevin Pritchard — who only came into the job earlier this offseason, after Larry Bird decided to step down — will face a difficult set of negotiations, given his lack of leverage due to George’s contract status and stated desire to go to Los Angeles. But that won’t stop Pritchard’s phone from ringing off the hook. Plenty of teams are going to be after the all-star forward, beginning with the defending Eastern Conference champion Cleveland Cavaliers. Rumors had already been percolating that the Cavaliers were going to make a run at George (a friend of LeBron James) this offseason, and George would be a perfect fit for a team trying to gear up to take another swipe at the Warriors next spring. Cleveland also has the best present-day asset any team is going to give up to get George in Kevin Love, who would be an outstanding fit next to young center Myles Turner in Indiana’s frontcourt. The Celtics should also be in the mix. Boston now has eight first-round picks in the next three drafts after making the deal with Philadelphia, which is expected to be approved Monday, and have no one even close to George’s overall talent level. With so many assets available to them, the Celtics seem like an obvious fit whether or not they can get someone such as Hayward or Griffin as a free agent this summer. Related ArticlesJune 19, 2017 Chauncey Billups may take over Cavaliers with GM David Griffin set to depart June 19, 2017 76ers get No. 1 pick from Celtics, chance to draft Markelle Fultz June 19, 2017 Former CU star Derrick White will realize dream during Thursday’s NBA draft June 18, 2017 Paul George reportedly tells Pacers he wants to leave next summer, hopes to join Lakers June 18, 2017 76ers, Celtics agree on trade for No. 1 pick, per AP source And, of course, expect the Lakers to get in on the action. It’s hard to see any scenario in which Los Angeles would give up the No. 2 pick in this year’s draft, nor should it. But it’s still unclear exactly how the Lakers will operate under the new stewardship of Magic Johnson and General Manager Rob Pelinka. It must also be noted that owner Jeanie Buss’s stated desire is to have an all-star on the roster for next season’s All-Star Game in Los Angeles. It’s been a long time since the Lakers have been abl [...]
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