Happy 4th of July, Nuggets fans! I hope you all enjoy the holiday with friends and loved ones, but that you're also safe. Take some time to reflect on the significance of today, too. I had the opportunity to visit Arlington National Cemetery yesterday and it was a welcome reminder to me of the sacrifice made by hundreds of thousands of men far better than I that enables us to enjoy the many freedoms we have, the least of which is watching grown men play basketball for a living.
In basketball news, free agency is full swing, Summer League games have started and a lot of teams are deciding how they want to face the future. One lucky team will land (or keep) Kevin Durant, who is expected to announce his decision at some point today. The Nuggets haven been active in free agency, going after Dwyane Wade and re-signing Darrell Arthur to a sweet deal. Summer League action for Denver will begin later this week.
Until then here's a few Nuggets' tidbits from the past week or so to keep you going.
Days into free agency, the Nuggets are still reportedly at the top of the pack of teams pursuing Wade, according to James Hebert of CBS Sports. Though it's unlikely the aged star will finish his career in Denver, if anything else it gives the Nuggets at least some credibility to be linked to such a prominent player.
Unless another team emerges, Denver and Milwaukee are Wade's only real leverage ... if Miami actually believes he will go to either of those places. It is unclear whether or not it does.
Maybe when he gets back from vacation, he and Riley can sit down and go over the particulars of the team's financial situation and how retaining Wade fits into the goal of fielding a competitive roster.
Or maybe Wade will come back and tell Riley that he's decided to finish his career with the Nuggets or Bucks. Which scenario seems more likely to you?
Kentucky Wildcats coach John Calipari appeared on The Afternoon Drive with Les Shapiro and Eric Goodman to discuss his latest project and new Nugget, Jamal Murray. As expected, Calipari had nothing but high praise for Murray, saying that Denver got an absolute steal at seven and that he strongly believes in Murray's ability to score the ball.
Speaking of Murray, the Nuggets started mini camp yesterday in preparation for Summer League this week. Assistant coach Micah Nori also praised Murray's ability just from day one:
"[He] looked very good. Jamal plays at such a great pace for a young kid," Nori said. "He's like a seasoned vet. He's a very good handler of the basketball, sees the floor, [and] is an excellent shooter. He's just trying to catch up to the speed of the NBA game as we all are."
As a part of mini camp Day 1, Nuggets.com did some exclusive interviews with Emmanuel Mudiay, Jamal Murray and Micah Nori. You can watch all the videos here. Also be sure to check out Jeff's CSG video with Mudiay from mini camp as well!
Basketball Insiders have released their first cap room projections for 2016-2017. The Nuggets have an inclusive total of $66.5 million, putting them about $18 million under the minimum salary floor. However, as Chris Dempsey pointed out, this number doesn't get counted until the end of the season - so even if Denver doesn't fill up the remaining space now, there is still plenty of time to do so.
Gary Harris went to Beijing to celebrate the opening of China's 100th NBA Store. Is it just me, or is he starting to look pretty jacked now? Good job, Steve Hess.
Hess has also been doing tons of work with Jusuf Nurkic, who has lost 35 lbs. already this offseason. Nurkic's new found athleticism could be a good sign of things to come for the young center who had his fair share of struggles this past season. And any worry about his work ethic is quickly dissipating. Nurkic really seems to want to get better this summer.
Finally, in case you missed it, go read Wilson Chandler's piece about playing basketball in China in The Player's Tribune. Great, great read and always interesting to look into the lives of NBA players, especially one of our own. You won't be disappointed.