This past week has been pretty eventful - the Nuggets almost (maybe?) landed Dwayne Wade in free agency before he took off for Chicago, but more importantly the Summer Nuggets have been killing it down in Las Vegas. Heading into today's final "regular season" game, Denver is 2-0 after two impressive performances over Minnesota and Memphis. If you haven't already checked out the Stiffs Summer League coverage, you're missing out! Check out the game recaps here and here, respectively.
In case you missed it, Dwyane Wade did end up sending out a thoughtful tweet to the Nuggets to thank the organization for pushing for him. Even if he ended up picking Chicago, this is still a classy move and gives Denver some much needed credibility around the league.
@nuggets I wanna thank U guys for WOW-ing my team and I. The future is bright for your organization. Much respect and this decision was hard— DWade (@DwyaneWade) July 9, 2016
While the rookies and others have been getting burn out at Summer League, a few international players battled it out in the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournaments. Nikola Jokic deservedly won the MVP award for his performance in leading Serbia to a finals victory of Puerto Rico to qualify for Rio. Joffrey Lauvergne will be the lone Nugget joining Jokic at the Olympics after his French team defeated Canada. Danilo Gallinari captained a strong Italian squad that ultimately came up short, losing in overtime against Croatia in a game where Gallo unfortunately fouled out late in regulation.
Gallinari was visibly upset following the loss and took the blame for himself after fouling out. As the clear best player on the Italian team, there is a good chance that Italy would be playing in the Olympics this August had Gallo been available to play in overtime.
Trovare le parole giuste in queste ore non e' facile. Vedere i miei compagni e lo staff piangere in spogliatoio e' una sensazione brutta che ancora pesa e pesera. Voglio pero ringraziare tutti i miei compagni e tutti i tifosi che ci hanno dato una carica incredibile.. Giocare davanti a tutti voi e' stato bellissimo. Chiedo scusa a tutti per non essere stato in grado di aiutare questa squadra e voi a realizzare un sogno unico.
Finding the right words right now isn't easy. To see my teammates and staff crying in the locker room is a terrible sensation that weighs heavily and will continue to do so. I want to thank all of my teammates and the fans that gave us incredible support... to play in front of all of you has been amazing. I'm sorry to everyone for not being in a position to help this team and all of you make this dream come true.
Gallo was also featured in a brief interview yesterday in Il Giorno, a newspaper based in Milan, where he talks about his childhood, Milan, his time in the NBA, and how he sees his career playing out. Interestingly, Gallinari says he hopes to play in the NBA until he's 35 before finishing off his professional career where it started in Milan. The article is written in Italian, but if you use Google to translate the webpage you should be able to get most of it.
Jonny Auping of Real GM Basketball wrote a piece entitled How the Nuggets are the NBAs Next Asset-Rich Powerhouse:
Minnesota seems to have everyone's favorite young core, but the combination of Mudiay and Jokic, and intriguing rookie first-rounders Jamal Murray and Malik Beasley (and even third-year player Gary Harris), isn't miles behind the Wolves.
So why did a deep team heading in a promising direction offer $50 million to Dwyane Wade? The opportunity to play with Wade would have given Mudiay and Jokic and Beasley and Murray and Harris the opportunity to do what Wade himself did: develop his skills while competing in meaningful games. The swing for the 34-year old Dwyane Wade was a pronouncement that the Nuggets think they can win now and later.
It's a pretty interesting take I think on how the Nuggets have approached free agency this year, including some examples of how Denver could use all of these assets on the trade market.
Denver Stiffs's own Andrew Feinstein made a radio appearance yesterday on Mile High Sports to speak more on the tragic passing of Nuggets superfan and Stiffs enthusiast, Russell Ray:
It certainly looks like the young Nuggets are making the most of the time down at Summer League. Emmanuel Mudiay took over NBA on TNT's Snapchat account on Saturday, showing followers what a day in the life of a summer league player is like:
Highlights included his lunch and hanging out with other players, Gary Harris and JaKarr Sampson. You can follow Mudiay on Snapchat at emudiay7.