Michael Malone Rumors
Danilo Gallinari is expected to return to the Nuggets lineup tonight against Miami after missing three games with a sore right thigh, Nuggets coach Michael Malone said. Gallinari followed a full practice on Tuesday with a full shootaround on Wednesday. It isn’t certain whether he’s completely out of the woods with the injury, but he’s feeling good enough to play. Gallinari warmed up prior to the Nuggets last game, at Phoenix, but couldn’t go. Still, that was a sign he was likely closing in on a return to action.
Michael Malone added stability and direction at head coach when hired in the spring 2015. “Those guys, I was sold on them, those individuals, great individuals,” Dwyane Wade said. “They made it a lot tougher than people think just from the standpoint of when you get into free agency, it’s all about how comfortable someone can make you feel. It’s about the picture they paint for you about the what’s the possibility of how the team can look with you inside of that team.”
The ripple effects of Wade’s free-agent dance with the Nuggets haven’t been felt yet, Malone said. “I think hopefully next summer you’ll see some of that,” he said. “I think our fans were able to realize that ‘OK, the Nuggets are serious about winning. And they are willing to go out there and try and sign a marquee player.’ Kind of like you look at what the Rapids did, bringing a guy like Tim Howard in. That’s a marquee name.”
“I go back to last season. He had an unbelievable rookie year and he had an unbelievable rookie year playing the five. I told him, I feel bad, I feel like I’ve done him a disservice almost exploring playing big,” Malone said of Jokic after the Nuggets fell to Detroit 106-95 Saturday night. “There were some good things with that, but I took a kid who had a great year and changed his position on him and it hasn’t been easy for him. The hope is to try and get him more minutes at the five, he will play some four at times. We need to get Nikola back. Nikola Jokic last year was a hell of a player. Free, easy, happy and right now, you look at him and it looks like he’s got the weight of the world on his shoulders and I just want to try and alleviate some of that if I can.”
Jokic went to Malone after the Nuggets 125-101 loss to the Golden State Warriors at home Thursday where the Serbian man looked as frustrated as ever throughout the one-plus seasons he’s spent in Denver. Jokic scored just four points, grabbed three rebound, was a -21 plus-minus in just 18 minutes and struggled to contain Draymond Green. “I actually talked to coach about that,” Jokic said of his move to the bench and back to playing more center. “I’m good with that. All last season I played center. I had a good season.” “I think I need to have more fun out there,” Jokic continued. “I think I need to relax more and have fun more and everything will be better.”
I asked Malone if he felt the need to sit down with Faried and conduct that man-to-man, heart-to-heart conversation about what’s best for the team. “All summer, we had talked about the potential of starting the two bigs together and what that means for Kenneth,” Malone replied. “But I wasn’t positive that we were definitely were going to start that way (with Nurkic at center and Jokic at power forward), so I didn’t want to say something and it not happen. But, obviously, before the season starts, we will have a conversation.”