Erick Green just can't catch a break. After out-dueling Nick Johnson for the 15th and final Denver Nuggets roster spot, Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports is reporting that Green has been waived and Greek forward (and trade piece from the Ty Lawson swap) Kostas Papanikolaou has been re-signed.
Denver is waiving guard Erick Green, clearing way to re-sign forward Kostas Papanikolaou, league sources tell Yahoo.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) November 5, 2015
There was speculation over the summer that Papanikolaou could return to the Nuggets - just not at the price point of his former non-guaranteed contract with the Houston Rockets. The final year of his deal was nearly 4.8 million dollars, untenable for a 15th man, but the Nuggets obviously came to a much lower and more workable figure for them.
With a depleted front line due to injuries to Wilson Chandler, Joffrey Lauvergne and Nikola Jokic, as well as the still-recovering center Jusuf Nurkic, Denver decided to bring back a talented shooting wing who is familiar with their system. The shooting struggles of veteran bench players like Darrell Arthur and Randy Foye may also have played a part. Papanikolaou hasn't done much thus far in the NBA due to injuries, averaging just 4.2 points and 2.7 rebounds in 43 games last season, and was nearly invisible in this summer's Eurobasket tournament, so whether he is merely a familiar warm body to fill a current need or a contributor for the future is still undecided. Contract details are unknown at this time.
The loser in all this is Green, whose unguaranteed contract made him the sacrificial goat. The Nuggets will owe him just $100,000 if he clears waivers, but it's always possible Denver re-signs him as well after their front court returns to health. In the meantime, Jameer Nelson and Emmanuel Mudiay need to stay healthy, as this makes Randy Foye the emergency point guard.
More details will follow as they emerge.