Aaron Gordon has been at the center of trade rumors for what feels like years now, and the Orlando Magic star is finally on the move.
The Magic have traded Gordon to the Denver Nuggets, according to multiple reports. Gary Harris, RJ Hampton and a first-round pick are headed to Orlando in the deal.
Gordon had been frustrated with the Magic and explained earlier this week why he wanted to be traded. It became obvious that Orlando was going to give him his wish after All-Star Nikola Vucevic and Evan Fournier were also traded earlier on Thursday.
Gordon, 25, was the fourth overall pick by the Magic in the 2014 NBA Draft. He is averaging 14.6 points and 6.6 rebounds per game this season.
The Nuggets entered Thursday with a record of 26-18 and in fifth place in the Western Conference. They also acquired veteran center JaVale McGee at the deadline, so they seem intent on trying to contend this season.
The Denver Nuggets committed a major blunder at the end of their loss to the Washington Wizards on Thursday night, and Jamal Murray took responsibility for his role in the mental lapse.
The Nuggets were trailing 112-110 with about five seconds remaining and had a 3-on-1 fast break opportunity. Rather than cut to the basket for what probably would have been an easy game-tying lineup, Facundo Campazzo and Michael Porter Jr. stopped at the three-point line. Murray kicked the ball to Campazzo, who missed the shot. You can see the video here.
Murray wasn’t as at fault for the play as Campazzo and Porter, but he held himself accountable on Twitter after the game.
“My fault Nuggets nation.. on to the next one.. STICK WITH US!!” he wrote.
Murray even shared an angle of how bad the play was:
Porter Jr. admitted he could have cut to the basket, but he defended the mentality of wanting to hit the game-winning shot.
“I looked at the play afterwards. One of us could’ve easily cut. Honestly, I could’ve cut and got a dunk,” Porter said, via Mike Singer of the Denver Post. “But we were just thinking, one of us is going to get a three. If the shot goes in, no one’s talking about it.”
Nuggets coach Michael Malone did a good job of summing up the blunder after the game. Porter is right that no one would have criticized the play if Campazzo hit the game-winner, but he didn’t. Taking a low-percentage shot was not the right decision in that situation.
The Denver Nuggets blew their game against the Washington Wizards on Thursday night with a mental fart at the end.
Denver was down by two points 112-110 with around five seconds left and the clock ticking down. Jamal Murray had the ball for a 3-on-1. Even though the lone Wizards defender went out to Murray, the other two Nuggets players hung out by the three-point line, even though they would have had a wide open layup to tie the game. Take a look at the video:
Former NBA player Jared Sullinger summed up the issue.
That was not heads-up basketball. Facundo Campazzo ended up taking and missing a 3-pointer at the buzzer. You have to wonder what Michael Porter Jr. was thinking. He had a clear open path to the basket and decided to hang out at the 3-point line next to Campazzo. What a blown opportunity.
Nuggets coach Michael Malone called it a “wasted opportunity.”
Murray said he expected Porter to cut to the basket. He also said he should have shot the ball instead of passing it.
The Sacramento Kings beat the Denver Nuggets 124-122 in overtime on Wednesday night on a wild final play.
The Nuggets had the ball with 6.5 seconds left and inbounded to Nikola Jokic, who had the ball stolen from him. The Kings threw the ball ahead to Harrison Barnes, who went in for the winning dunk. Barnes missed the dunk, but luckily Buddy Hield was there for the tip-in at the buzzer.
What a play by Hield to bail out Barnes.
Hield went 5/11 on threes for 22 points and helped Sacramento get off to a nice 1-0 start with a road win over a top Western Conference team. And the Kings sure love to run off the floor after Hield wins games for them.
The Los Angeles Clippers will be answering questions about their collapse against the Denver Nuggets for a while. One of their players is taking a rather defiant approach in doing so.
Marcus Morris looked back on the Clippers blowing a 3-1 lead to the Denver Nuggets in the Western Conference Semifinals. He said the manner of defeat hurt, because in his eyes, the Nuggets weren’t the better team.
“It hurt being up 3-1. It’s not about losing, it’s about how we lost,” Morris said, via Farbod Esnaashari of SINow. “At the end of the day, that team wasn’t better than us, we all knew that.”
On paper, Morris is probably right. The Clippers had more talent. But preparedness was an issue based on these comments from one of Morris’ teammates. Mentality matters, and the Nuggets were better in that regard. We’ll see how Morris and his teammates address that going forward.
The Denver Nuggets reportedly have shot down rumors of a possible Blake Griffin sign-and-trade deal.
The Detroit Pistons’ moves in free agency led to some speculation that they were setting up for a sign-and-trade deal with the Nuggets involving Griffin. They agreed to a three-year, $25 million deal with Mason Plumlee, who spent the last four seasons with Denver. They also agreed to a 3-year, $60 million deal with Jerami Grant, another former Nuggets player.
A few reporters noted that the amounts the Pistons are signing both Nuggets players for would fit in with a sign-and-trade deal for Griffin, who is making $36.6 million next season.
The rumor of a sign-and-trade began to spread in the NBA Twitter community, but a Nuggets source told The Denver Post’s Mike Singer that such a move is “definitely not happening.”
What will the Pistons end up doing from here? It’s hard to figure at the moment. They have comically loaded up on big men and still owe Griffin a ton.
Perhaps they will find a way to move on from him this offseason.
The Portland Trail Blazers are having a bit of fun on social media at the expense of the Denver Nuggets.
To start some discussion, the Nuggets had asked fans on Twitter to name their favorite Denver players of all time. The tweet was accompanied by a graphic showing some of the franchise’s iconic players.
Notably missing? Carmelo Anthony, who at least statistically ranks as one of the franchise’s greats.
Anthony’s current team, the Portland Trail Blazers, promptly jumped in to have some fun at Denver’s expense.
Why not take the chance to stick up for your player? That’s especially true when the Blazers essentially revived his career.
Anthony averaged 15.4 points and 6.3 rebounds per game this past season. Those are nice numbers for a 36-year-old who looked done before signing.
Dwight Howard’s antics after his Los Angeles Lakers won Game 2 of the Western Conference Finals on Sunday may have helped motivate the Denver Nuggets.
The Lakers won the game 105-103 on a 3-pointer by Anthony Davis at the buzzer. According to The Athletic’s Sam Amick, Howard broke away from the Lakers’ on-court celebration to taunt the Nuggets after the game.
From Amick’s story:
“Go home!” he yelled over and over while laughing, jumping, pumping his fist and getting closer to the Nuggets’ side of the floor with every second. “Go home!”
Howard has only been playing 15.4 minutes per game this postseason and only played 13 minutes in Game 2. Seeing a part-time player like Howard taunt them may have rubbed the Nuggets the wrong way.
Denver came out motivated in Game 3 of the series on Tuesday night and won 114-106 to cut the Lakers’ series lead to 2-1.
Maybe next time Howard should look to the example Rajon Rondo set for how to react.
The Denver Nuggets were never favored to beat the Los Angeles Clippers in the Western Conference Semifinals. They were essentially considered finished after falling behind 3-1. Instead of rolling over, the Nuggets came back from two double-digit deficits and forced a decisive Game 7.
Nuggets coach Michael Malone has heard the doubters, and he thinks the team has as well. That perception, he says, is fueling the players ahead of Game 7.
“I almost feel like we’re The Bad News Bears and I’m Coach Buttermaker,” Malone said Monday, via Sean Keeler of the Denver Post. “We’re a team that nobody really looks at and takes us seriously. And our guys, I think, have taken that personally.
“But we don’t believe (that label). We don’t believe that’s what we are. We feel that we’re just as good as anybody. We feel like we’re an NBA championship-caliber team.”
The Clippers, led by Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, were constructed to win a title. The Nuggets have stars in Jamal Murray and Nikola Jokic, but never got anywhere close to the same hype. That’s despite the fact that Denver was only 3.5 games worse than the Clippers record-wise during the regular season.
Nuggets players are certainly aware of how they’re perceived. They’re clearly focused on upsetting the odds and the pundits on Tuesday night.
Denver Nuggets forward Paul Millsap made quite the admission about his Denver Nuggets team after their comeback win Friday night.
The Nuggets battled back from 16 points down to force a Game 6 against the Los Angeles Clippers. Afterward, Millsap admitted that he knew the team was perceived as “soft” and wanted to shed that label.
The Clippers have fed into that perception a bit, but Denver’s inability to cope with the physicality and defense in the series haven’t helped. Few expected them to come back in Game 5, and even now, the Clippers are expected to close them out.
It’s good to see a bit of fire from Denver. Their coach has contributed as well during the series.