With only a few more days until the start of the regular season, the Denver Nuggets made their first wave of roster cuts today in a move to get down to a 15-man roster.
The Nuggets announced that they have waived D.J. Kennedy, Axel Toupane and JaKarr Sampson. The Nuggets have yet to announce what they will do with the non-guaranteed contracts of Robbie Hummel, Nate Wolters, or Jarnell Stokes, although if preseason minutes are any indication towards a spot on the opening day roster, Stokes is likely the leading candidate for the fifteenth spot on the roster.
The Nuggets have waived Axel Toupane, Jakarr Sampson, and DJ Kennedy, the team has announced.— Adam Mares (@Adam_Mares) October 15, 2016
Sampson joined the Nuggets last season after being waived by the Philadelphia 76ers as part of a trade that was voided, allowing Denver to swoop in and add the athletic wing. Sampson stepped into the starting roster after an injury to Danilo Gallinari, and played in 26 games in the 2015-16 season.
Toupane was also a midseason addition to the Nuggets roster after playing in the D-League, where he was named the Most Improved Player of the Year. The French wing played in 21 games for Denver, flashing potential on defense and a burgeoning offensive game. Toupane played well in Summer League, demonstrating an ability to create with the ball that he hadn’t demonstrated during the 2015-16 season.
I’m not saying this is one of my favorite Nuggets highlight videos from last season, but it does have Danilo Gallinari adding commentary as he sat out the game with an injury. Italian commentary from Gallo is beautiful.
Toupane was the odds on favorite to make the roster after Summer League, but a series of moves made that unlikely. The first was the play of Juancho Hernangomez in Summer League, where the Spanish forward shined on the glass as a rebounder and a playmaker, creating points in the flow of the offense.
The second was a trade of Joffrey Lauvergne to the Oklahoma City Thunder. The trade removed one of the Nuggets big men from their rotation, taking a piece away from what was a deep position for the team. The third move was (and is) a decision to start Jusuf Nurkic and Nikola Jokic in the frontcourt. If Nurkic is starting at center, the Nuggets would be without a true backup center, creating a need for a player like Stokes.
Someone should pick up Toupane, he showed a lot last year and in summer league. He can play.— Hardwood Paroxysm (@HPbasketball) October 15, 2016
There is still a possibility that Nate Wolters or Robbie Hummel earn the final roster spot - I wouldn’t put money on either of them making the team.
We will update the story with additional roster moves if they are announced today.