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NLL Insider - What's Next? Northwest Division

by KLEMMELO, updated on Saturday, July 01 2017, 05:03 pm EST

The Northwest

Denver Nuggets

Approx Cap Situation: $69,000,000

GM Points: 72

Record: +7

Picks: Josh Hart #32 Damyean Dotson #50

Key Players Returning:

·        John Wall $16,957,900

·        Marcin Gortat $12,000,000

·        Enes Kanter $17,145,838

Eric Gordon, Markieff Morris, Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot, Norman Powell*

Unrestricted Free Agents:

Ersan Ilyasova, Jose Calderon, Norris Cole, Quincy Acy

Restricted Free Agents:

JaMychal Green, James Young, Otto Porter


There were pretty heavy talks within the Denver organisation of moving Ersan as they weren’t prepared to pay him while coming off the bench. That boat has sailed and Denver will have to make a decision wether to just let him walk or pick him up as a possible trade asset down the line come FA day. 

It’s also been said Gordon may be expendable in an effort to make way for up and coming Powell expected 

to make some noise and earn his next big contract; It’s well known how high the Denver coaching staff and management are on this explosive guard. 


The main target will be keeping Otto around of course which wont be hard as he’s a RFA and the Nuggets have been pretty open in their intentions on keeping him. The other obvious positions needed to be addressed is cheap front court depth and a solid back up PG which there will be plenty off available on minimum/MLE type contracts. Depending on what contracts they shed and how much they need to pay Porter they may not have as big a hand in FA as they’d like to. 


Overall the Nuggets have a solid young core which are only getting better, with the emergence of Wall last season expect him to make another huge leap as management have made it clear its all about him now. Otto needs to step up and prove he’s worth the big contract he’s about to get and Kanter will be wanting to put up numbers as he comes into next offseason as a possible unrestricted FA. I’d expect the Nuggets to be floating around pretty much where they ended the season, perhaps a few games back as the West get a lot stronger and Denver wait for some of their guys to come into their own. Denver picked up a couple of SG’s in the draft who will bolster their back court depth and perhaps give Denver the freedom to move on from Gordon as they continue to build. 

Possible Line-up

·         PG – John Wall

·         SG – Eric Gordon

·         SF – Otto Porter

·         PF – Enes Kanter

·         C – Marcin Gortat

·         6th Man – Markieff Morris


Oklahoma City Thunder

Approx Cap Situation $93,000,000

GM Points: 53

Record: +16

Picks: Luke Kennard #17 Jonah Bolden #25 Tyler Lydon #31

Key Players Returning:

·        Paul George $19,300,000

·        Draymond Green $16,400,000

·        Jimmy Butler $18,696,918

 Nikola Jokic, Ricky Rubio, Alec Burks, John Henson, Patrick McCaw, Josh Richardson*, Tomas Satoransky, Juan Hernangomez 

Unrestricted Free Agents:

Nikola Mirotic, JaVale McGee

Restricted Free Agents:



Reports that the move to bring in Henson as primary back up big man will see fan favourite JaVale McGee seek his big payday elsewhere as he gave some meaningful minutes for OKC throughout the year revitalising his career. Not much the same can be said about Sanders as he saw a similar situation coming into this line up but failed to prove his worth. 


Mirotic was huge off the bench for the Thunder to close out the season and during the play offs. It shouldn’t be too hard at all for them to keep him and they gave up a lottery pick in a pick swap and youngster Abrines to get him so you’d think he isn’t going anywhere. Other then that to their credit OKC have set themselves up so well and appear not to have any weaknesses in their roster. Another defensive rebounder would be nice especially if they drop McGee. 


Third seed in the West with 57 wins just added a top 10 player in PG holy hell… These guys only just missed out on a Western conference finals berth being a regular season win against the Kings away from having home court. Scary stuff. They wont have much of a hand in FA other then keeping their own guys but the future looks bright still loaded with future assets with a budding young super star core all heading into their prime. Kennard might see some solid minutes off the bench with Fournier gone as OKC groom their future wing depth all picked up in this years draft. 

Possible Line-up

·         PG – Ricky Rubio

·         SG – Jimmy Butler

·         SF – Paul George

·         PF – Draymond Green

·         C – Nikola Jokic

·         6th Man – Nikola Mirotic


Utah Jazz

Approx Cap Situation $81,000,000

GM Points: 35

Record: -7

Picks: Nil

Key Players Returning:

·        Chris Paul $24,268,959

·        Marc Gasol $22,642,350

·        Andrew Wiggins $7,574,322

LaMarcus Aldridge, Willie Cauley-Stein, Sean Kilpatrick, Davis Bertans, Joseph Young*, Jordan Mickey*.

Unrestricted Free Agents:

Derrick Rose, Jordan Hill, Sergio Rodriguez, Sasha Vujacic

Restricted Free Agents:

Pierre Jackson


Word on the street is Utah will be hunting Rose on a multi year deal even with the acquisition of Chris Paul. Those close to the organisation believe they can form a formidable back court with plenty of scoring power. Rose has shown interest in re signing but nothing is for sure yet. 

There has been other talks of a possible move involving Aldridge for some depth or a possible deal to bring in a starting calibre shoot guard if Rose falls through. 


Rose has had his injury issues but he is still an elite guard option for the Utah wanting to sign him long term. It all comes down to how much he values his talents even after all the knee issues. Other then that the Jazz have an elite starting core but are really lacking when they take to the bench. Some all round  second unit depth will be the priority for the Jazz management this offseason. 


In a lot of peoples eyes Utah kind of underachieved last season just missing out on the play offs after finding some form to little to late. The franchise obviously decided with an ageing front court on the tail end of their prime an all in type move had to be made and they went BANG! Bringing in Chris Paul who until very recently was looking to opt out of his final year but has since shown good grace and given the Utah Jazz another year of brilliance free of charge at least. Only down side of consolidating talent is in most cases losing bench depth to which they will need to address during free agency. They played no part in the draft so it’s now or never. 

Possible Line-up

·         PG – Chris Paul

·         SG – Derrick Rose

·         SF – Andrew Wiggins

·         PF – LaMarcus Aldridge

·         C – Marc Gasol

·         6th Man – Willie Cauley-Stein


Minnesota Timberwolves

Approx Cap Situation $69,000,000

GM Points: 77

Record: +12

Picks: Nigel Williams-Goss #53

Key Players Returning: 

·        DeMarcus Cousins $16,784,031

·        C.J. McCollum $23,962,572

·        Jabari Parker $6,782,392

Evan Fournier, Cheick Diallo, Nemanja Bjelica, Glenn Robinson III*, Salah Mejri*

Unrestricted Free Agents:

Jeff Teague, Danilo Gallinari, Deron WIlliams, Zaza Pachulia, Terrence Jones, 

Restricted Free Agents:

Wayne Seldon, Ron Baker


Williams has openly said he enjoyed playing for the Wolves last year in the close out moments of the season. He’s getting older and a prominent role off the bench is what he’s looking for to prolong his career. The Wolves how ever may opt to let him walk depending on the demands of newly acquired Gallinari and starting PG Teague. 

The Wolves got rid of one immovable contract in Matthews and picked up another in Fournier. Of course Evan shows more upside and promise without the nagging injuries holding him back but they may decide to move him on quickly if salary continues to be an issue before the season deadline. 


All resources should and I think will be, placed into keeping Teague around. With the decision to ship out Avery and opt for a more offensively potent back court, Jeff’s defence and spacing will be crucial for the Wolves success especially given the move to bring in Cousins. Danilo has had his injury issues but will be looking for security and will hopefully decide to stay home and not chase money elsewhere. Keeping Williams will be nice but only if the price is right as his minutes could be easily covered by plenty of cheeps back up point guards available this off season. 


This Minnesota line up looks a lot different then what they started with last season, hell this team is almost completely overhauled compared to what they ran out against the Spurs in the second round. They have a bit of uncertainty heading into the off season and may see every bit of their resources stretched. Teague going walk a bouts would be a bit of a disaster as Deron isn’t to be relied upon with his injury history and it would force the Wolves to bring Fournier off the bench, essentially killing any punch they have in the second unit. If they can keep this group together to compliment Cousins they will cause havoc in the West looking to exact revenge when it matters most. 

Possible Line-up

·         PG – Jeff Teague

·         SG – C.J. McCollum

·         SF – Danilo Gallinari

·         PF – Jabari Parker

·         C – DeMarcus Cousins

·         6th Man –  Deron Williams 

Portland Trailblazers

Approx Cap Situation $51,000,000

GM Points: 90

Record: -22

Picks: TJ Leaf #23, Jawun Evans 28#, Wesley Iwundu #34, Sindarius Thornwell #39

Key Players Returning:

·        Jaylen Brown $4,956,480

·        Austin Rivers $11,825,000

·        Larry Nance Jr. $1,259,640

Ian Mahinmi, Terry Rozier, Miles Plumlee, Delon Wright, Brice Johnson, Jake Layman*, Semaj Christon*, Wayne Ellington*

Unrestricted Free Agents:

Rudy Gay, Amir Johnson

Restricted Free Agents:



Those close to Gay have said he had no say/part in the move to bottom of the barrel Portland from the burning dumpster fire that is Miami. This guy just wants to contribute to a winning team and is being passed around like currency. The Blazers will need to roll out the red carpet and wine and dine this guy to even convince him to stay. With that being said it’s pretty obvious that one of the only benefits of resigning Gay would be to move him along for future assets, which would be a win win for all parties involved. 


Rudy. Gay. It’s the risk they rook to get him and luckily enough pretty much everyone else that matters is on the books at least for another year. Other then that some nice veteran help to bolster the youngsters would be nice but it will be slim pickings for the Blazers. 


The only direction they can go is up right? Theres plenty of room for improvement and if a few things go their way they could really be making strides. Credit to the new ownership taking over and at least sticking to it without making to many huge mistakes. One positive was their ability to at least include themselves in this years draft and pick up some young talent, who knows perhaps they will hit a home run with at least one of them and really see a roster starting to form. Which is good seeing as they wont see their own first round pick until 2019. 

Possible Line-up

·         PG – Terry Rozier

·         SG – Jaylen Brown

·         SF – Rudy Gay

·         PF – Larry Nance Jr

·         C – Ian Mahinmi

·         6th Man – Austin Rivers

Ladder Predictor 2017

The Northwest division is on the way up and a few teams have taken a big leap forwards towards contention. I can’t see anyone outdoing what OKC will achieve minus any major catastrophe of course. Depending on the Wolves ability to take advantage this off season they may be one of the true forces out west alongside the Thunder. Utah may struggle without a lot of bench help and unless they can pull the trigger on a possible big time move, will find themselves among the second tier western teams (a huge improvement on last year to say the least). 

Denver might be one of those one step back-two steps forward type teams as they look to build around future talent but will still be super competitive night in and night out. The Blazers will keep plugging away and look to make some moves towards any progress that will finally see budding fruit to their hard labour.

  1.      Oklahoma City: 62-20  

  2.      Minnesota Timberwolves: 56-26

  3.      Utah Jazz: 49-33

  4.      Denver Nuggets: 43-39

  5.      Portland Trailblazers: 21-61

 *-Team option

  Comments (3) 
07/01 10:12 pm
Even easier lol
07/01 10:02 pm
Cheers mate, Mirotic is Restricted though ;)
07/01 06:35 pm
Nice writeup, Melo, thanks! Bench will be a top priority in FA, no doubt about it. Who knows about Rose, at this point...


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· What's Next? Pacific Division

· What's Next? Central Division

· What's Next? Northwest Division

· What's Next? Southeast Division

· What's Next? Southwest Division

· What's Next? Atlantic Division

· GM of the Year!

· Merencio's Draft Grades

· Nenjabin's (too nice) Draft Grades




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