This offseason, several teams in the West have made moves to help themselves strive to be championship contenders.
The Denver Nuggets reshaped their roster and hope the return of Jamal Murray will propel them to title contenders in the West. The Dallas Mavericks look to maintain their standing as a contender following the loss of Jalen Brunson in free agency. The Minnesota Timberwolves acquired Rudy Gobert in a blockbuster trade to form a dynamic frontcourt tandem with Karl-Anthony Towns.
With that in mind, the latest HoopsHype intel report includes conversations from the NBA’s Vegas Summer League with Murray on his upcoming return and Mavericks swingman Reggie Bullock discussing how the team will recover from the loss of Brunson. Plus, new updates on the Lakers, Celtics, and Timberwolves.
Denver Nuggets star Jamal Murray looked like he was in good basketball shape and was ready for his long-awaited return to the court when speaking to HoopsHype at a New Balance event at a local Boys & Girls Club in Las Vegas.
When Murray returns to action at the start of this season, it’ll mark 18 months since we last saw him on the court following his ACL tear.
“It’s been a learning experience and a test of patience,” Murray told HoopsHype. “Everything happens for a reason. I learned a lot, and I’m excited to be back out there.”
Murray, 25, appeared on the cusp of a potential All-Star berth while averaging career-highs across the board in 48 games during the 2020-21 season. However, the Canadian guard is as focused on being a leader for the team as he is a playmaker when asked what he’ll bring to the team in his return.
“A championship mindset, a winning attitude, and raising everybody’s level of play,” Murray replied. “That’s what I do best.”
Following the Will Barton and Monte Morris trade for Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Ish Smith, free agent additions of Bruce Brown and DeAndre Jordan, and extensions for Caldwell-Pope and Jokic, what are the expectations for the Nuggets this season?
“We have a whole new team, so I don’t really know,” Murray replied.
Despite the roster changes, one thing will certainly remain the same. “I feel like Jokic and I will do most of the work,” Murray added.
The dynamic duo will remain together for the foreseeable future following Jokic’s max extension with the Nuggets.
“He’s incredible and deserves every single penny,” Murray told HoopsHype. “I think everyone knows that. Maybe he can do a three-peat (MVP). You never know.”
For more injury updates on Murray and Michael Porter Jr., plus other Nuggets updates, check out the latest HoopsHype podcast with beat writer Mike Singer by clicking here.
This offseason, Dallas lost starting guard Jalen Brunson in free agency to the Knicks, and there’s an “excellent chance” the NBA will open a tampering investigation into New York’s recruitment of Brunson, as noted by The Athletic’s Fred Katz.
Despite the loss of Brunson, Mavericks swingman Reggie Bullock believes the team will be able to make up for his production with the return of Tim Hardaway Jr. and continued growth from the remaining players returning.
“Jalen was great off the court and on the court as a player,” Bullock told HoopsHype outside the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas during NBA Summer League. “He’s always going to be a brother of mine. It’s basketball, and this is a business. He went up to New York, which is another great organization. I came from there. He’s going to play for a great coach (Tom Thibodeau). Jalen did a lot of great things for us this year.”
“Tim’s coming back this year, and he’s a great shooter and outside scorer for us. He went down with an injury, but I know he’s going to be able to come back and be at 100 percent.”
With the acquisition of Christian Wood and the signing of JaVale McGee in free agency, Bullock said the returning core is focused on trying to take the next step as a group and continue to defy outside expectations.
“One of our main goals was making the playoffs, and we accomplished that goal,” Bullock explained. “In our minds this summer, we were three games away from going to the NBA Finals. We had a great season. We have a great coach and a great organization.”
Los Angeles Lakers
The Los Angeles Lakers are expected to bring in several veteran free agents for workouts, including former 2013 lottery pick Shabazz Muhammad, league sources told HoopsHype. Muhammad recently worked out for the Sacramento Kings during Las Vegas Summer League.
For more on Muhammad’s NBA comeback attempt and a look behind the scenes at his time with the Timberwolves and Bucks, read our March HoopsHype interview.
The Boston Celtics are adding Mike Moser as an assistant coach to Ime Udoka’s staff, according to a tweet from Oregon women’s basketball coach Kelly Graves. Previously, Moser spent two seasons as a player development coach with the Dallas Mavericks before becoming an assistant coach on Oregon’s women’s basketball team in May 2021. Back in 2014, Moser played in Summer League for the Celtics averaging 13.6 points in 26.1 minutes per game.
The Maine Celtics, Boston’s G League affiliate, are promoting Jarell Christian to general manager, and Alex Barlow will take over as the team’s head coach, league sources told HoopsHype.
Christian was Maine’s head coach last season. Before Maine, Christian was an assistant coach with the Washington Wizards for two years before joining the Celtics. Barlow was the associate head coach on Christian’s staff last season. Christian and Barlow coached seven of the 15 Celtics on the Finals roster.
The Minnesota Timberwolves had exploratory conversations with former 12-year NBA veteran Wilson Chandler about a potential position with the team’s front office, HoopsHype has learned.
Chandler and Timberwolves executive Tim Connelly spent four seasons with the Denver Nuggets, which included Connelly signing Chandler to a four-year, $46 million extension in 2015.
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