Malik Beasley and Juan Hernangomez played their old team for the first time on Sunday, suiting up for the Timberwolves against the Nuggets, less than three weeks after being traded to Minnesota. Before the game, Hernangomez was the more nostalgic of the two former Nuggets, praising the organization and the fans in Denver, as Mike Singer of The Denver Post details.
“I’m the man who I am because (of) Denver, because (of the) organization, all the teammates, all the coaches,” Hernangomez. “I just want to (say) thanks to everybody for making my dream come true, make the chance to a kid who was dreaming about the NBA, make believe it and make it true.”
Beasley was more pragmatic about seeing his old team, per Singer: “It’s a business, put it like that. It’s not about personal life or anything like that. It’s just a strict business. That’s how you gotta take it.”
According to Nick Kosmider of The Athletic, the Nuggets offered Beasley a multiyear extension worth “north of $10MM annually” last fall. When Beasley turned down that offer, it increased the odds that he wouldn’t remain in Denver long-term.
As Kosmider explains, the Nuggets have “strongly hinted” that they’d like to re-sign Jerami Grant, and they’ll also have to negotiate new deals with Paul Millsap and Torrey Craig this summer if they intend to keep them, which reduced the team’s spending power for RFAs-to-be like Beasley and Hernangomez.
Here’s more from around the Northwest:
- Addressing the Timberwolves‘ recent acquisition of D’Angelo Russell, president of basketball operations Gersson Rosas said the NBA is “all about taking chances,” according to Ben Golliver of The Washington Post. “You have to pay a premium for good players,” Rosas said. “Not only did we need a point guard in our system, we needed a guy who fit our timeline and a guy who has already established himself as a player in this league. In those pursuits, you have to be comfortable hearing ‘no,’ and you have to be comfortable being patient.”
- Timberwolves forward Jake Layman, who has been sidelined since November 18 due to a toe injury, appears to be on the verge of returning to action. Layman was cleared to practice last week, per a press release, and is listed as probable for Monday’s game vs. Dallas (Twitter link).
- On the heels of one of the best games of his season, rookie Thunder swingman Luguentz Dort is making a case for a promotion to Oklahoma City’s 15-man roster, writes ESPN’s Royce Young. Dort, who scored 15 points on 6-of-6 shooting in a Sunday win over San Antonio, won’t be eligible for the postseason if he remains on his two-way contract.