The Nuggets officially signed 2014 draft pick Nikola Jokic to a four-year deal on Tuesday.
The 20-year-old big man is a four-time Adriatic League Round MVP who averaged 16.6 points, 7.0 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 1.0 blocks during the 2014-15 season. Nuggets coach Mike Malone was "impressed" by Jokic's play at Summer League but he'll be scrapping for backup minutes in a center rotation that includes Jusuf Nurkic, J.J. Hickson, Joffrey Lauvergne and Joey Dorsey.
Warriors C Festus Ezeli recently worked out with Joakim Noah at a training facility.
Ezeli gave the Warriors some big bench minutes throughout the playoffs, including 10 points, four rebounds and a block in 11 minutes during Golden State's Finals-clinching win in Game 6. He's not in Noah's league as a passer but he has all the tools to be an effective NBA center for many years, though fantasy owners can ignore him while Andrew Bogut is installed as the Dubs' starter.
Jae Crowder's five-year, $35 million deal with the Celtics is now official.
Crowder's deal is eminently reasonable given the huge contracts lavished on wing players this summer, and he was a big reason why Boston eked into the playoffs last season. The Celtics fortified their frontcourt with Amir Johnson and David Lee this summer and they added intriguing talent in rookies Terry Rozier and R.J. Hunter, setting the stage for another playoff run in 2015-16. Crowder should start at SF but big minutes aren't a given with Evan Turner, Perry Jones and James Young on the roster.
LeBron James was asked on Tuesday if he expects restricted FA Tristan Thompson to re-sign with the Cavs, to which he replied, "Yeah of course he will."
James, who was answering questions on Twitter, added that Thompson "Means way too much to [the Cavs'] success!" He's also on record as saying that Thompson should be a Cavalier for the rest of his career. Recent reports suggest the two sides have stalled in negotiations but it's hard to imagine a scenario in which Cleveland wouldn't sign him outright or match a competing offer.
Serge Ibaka (right knee surgery) is in South Africa for the first ever NBA Africa game, but Yahoo's Marc J. Spears reports that Ibaka has not been cleared to play.
Ibaka had surgery on Mar. 17 and was given an initial timetable of 4-6 weeks, so this raises some concerns for the Thunder. It's probable that OKC is simply being extra cautious with Ibaka to avoid any unnecessary setbacks, and we'll pass along more information as soon as possible. For the record, Ibaka said that if he's "100 percent" he will play for Spain during the EuroBasket tournament which begins in early September.
Quincy Pondexter, who had arthroscopic left knee surgery on May 6, put off an MRI so that he could play in the postseason.
"[The MRI revealed] a laundry list of things that we had to get fixed," Pondexter said. "It's all good, I'm getting healthy. Hopefully, I'll be ready by the time training camp starts." Q-Pon could start at SF this season if coach Alvin Gentry opts to use Tyreke Evans as a versatile sixth-man, but even at full health Pondexter isn't likely to provide more than a handful of 3-pointers.
Lavoy Allen's three-year, $12 million deal with the Pacers is now official.
Allen is expected to earn minutes at both PF and C this season, as the Pacers shift to a faster-paced philosophy with smaller lineups. "I think it’s going to be a nice little battle during training camp vying for the power forward and center spot since it’s wide open right now," Allen said. "That’s one of the main reasons they brought me back was the talk about playing more uptempo." Nothing about Allen's game suggests he'll offer standard-league fantasy value this season.
The Miami Heat will sign rookie G Josh Richardson to a three-year, $2.5 million deal.
Richardson was the 40th pick in this year's NBA Draft, and he had an impressive summer league with averages of 11.8 points, 2.8 rebounds, 1.7 steals and 1.6 assists per game. His ability to be a two-way player factored heavily into the Heat's decision to sign him, and it's clear that they think he has a bright future in Miami. However, Richardson likely won't make an impact right away in Miami's crowded backcourt, so he can be ignored outside of deeper leagues.