Denver Nuggets Rumors
But when players express their diverse points of view on controversial topics, leagues often struggle with how best to respond. Twenty years ago, Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf, a guard for the Denver Nuggets, declined to stand for the national anthem, and he was suspended indefinitely by the N.B.A. The league relented after one game, when Abdul-Rauf agreed to stand for the anthem on the condition that he be allowed to bow his head in prayer. “I think the world has changed in the last twenty years,” Tatum said, when I asked him about that precedent. In July, the Women’s National Basketball Association, which is backed by the N.B.A., fined players on three teams and their organizations for wearing black T-shirts during pregame warmups to protest recent shootings by, and violence perpetrated against, police officers.
The Denver Nuggets have waived G D.J. Kennedy, F JaKarr Sampson and F Axel Toupane, General Manager and Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations Tim Connelly announced today. Kennedy, was signed by Denver on Aug. 16, 2016 and has appeared in one preseason game for the Nuggets, posting four points, two rebounds, three assists and three steals in 12 minutes of play.
GM Tim Connelly and his staff came on board in 2013, but there has to be something in the DNA of the Nuggets organization that has allowed the team to identify quality foreign players that other teams have missed. It’s even more impressive when you consider how interconnected the world of basketball has become since the turn of the century, when the Spurs drafted Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili. “It’s hard to find a guy somewhere that nobody knows,” said Arturas Karnisovas, the Nuggets assistant GM. “These days, with social media, it’s hard to miss a guy.”
A general manager can have a player’s entire career on his laptop in a matter of seconds. The problems teams had with international scouting in the last generation have inverted. Instead of having too little information, now there’s too much. If the draft is all about finding needles in a haystack, there’s more hay than ever before. “Your list of contacts in each region has to be profound because players nowadays are coming from anywhere,” Karnisovas said. “You have to know people, from coaches to GMs to agents. You have to be familiar with all the layers.”
The biggest advantage the Nuggets have is the familiarity of their front office with the international game. Connelly was a longtime international scout, and Karnisovas was one of the greatest players in European history before starting a career in management. They still travel overseas regularly, but their man on the ground in Europe these days is Rafal Juc, a 24-year-old from Poland who has quickly made a name for himself in the industry. “Rafal is the most popular man in Europe. He’s really well connected around the continent,” said Elan Vinokurov, the president and owner of EV Hoops, a scouting and consulting service used by NBA teams. “He has established himself at a young age. When he talks about a player, you sit up and take notice.”
Sources say it’s only a matter of time before Smith starts engaging with other teams. There are currently six, for the record, with anywhere from $13 million to $27 million in available cap space: Minnesota, Phoenix, Utah, Denver, Brooklyn and Philadelphia. Boston is not an active suitor for Smith, but sources say that’s only because the Celtics have a mere million-plus in cap space. Sources maintain that the Celtics’ reported interest in Smith is genuine, which means it’s wise to keep an eye on them, since creating cap space with the help of one of those aforementioned six clubs is certainly feasible.