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Denver Nuggets’ Michael Porter Jr. could join team on road trip starting Friday

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DENVER — The struggling Denver Nuggets are expected to be without Michael Porter Jr. for a 10th straight game Tuesday night against the Oklahoma City Thunder because of coronavirus protocols.

Coach Michael Malone said after practice Monday that Porter could join the team on their five-game trip that begins Friday in Phoenix.

The Nuggets (6-7) can certainly use a lift from Porter. He’s averaging 19.5 points and 6.8 rebounds over four games.

“Of course, we miss Michael,” Malone said. “He’s a big part of what we’re trying to do here. When we do get him back, he will be a welcomed sight.” Porter’s last game was at Sacramento on Dec. 29, when he had 30 points and 10 rebounds.

The 22-year-old Porter was taken by Denver with the 14th pick in 2018. He sat the 2018-19 season because of a back injury.

He played a big role in Denver advancing to the Western Conference finals last season inside the NBA bubble.

his season, the Nuggets have gotten off to a slow start despite big man Nikola Jokic averaging a triple-double and point guard Jamal Murray turning in big performances even with a sore elbow.

Malone said there will be an adjustment when Porter returns, but his presence will help solidify the rotation.

“You always want to be whole as a team,” Malone said. “Not only are you whole, but you have a really talented player who’s a big part of your current team and also your future as an organization. ”

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Minnesota Timberwolves’ Malik Beasley suspended 12 games after guilty plea

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Minnesota Timberwolves guard Malik Beasley has been suspended for 12 games without pay in the wake of pleading guilty to a felony count of threats of violence as a result of an incident last September, the NBA announced Thursday evening.

“As an organization, we fully support today’s decision by the NBA,” Timberwolves president of basketball operations Gersson Rosas said in a statement issued shortly after the suspension was announced. “As we work together with Malik to advance his development as a player and a person, we look forward to seeing his growth.”

Beasley’s suspension will begin Saturday, when the Timberwolves are in Washington to play the Wizards. He will be eligible to return to the court on March 27, when Minnesota hosts the Houston Rockets.

Beasley agreed to a plea deal with prosecutors earlier this month that saw felony drug charges against him get dropped in exchange for the guilty plea. As a result, Beasley was sentenced to 120 days in jail, which could be served either in the county workhouse or in home confinement, after the NBA season is over in mid-May.

“We are very pleased with this outcome that will allow Malik to continue working on becoming a better person and making better choices,” Beasley’s attorney, Steven Haney, said in a statement obtained by ESPN’s Mark Schlabach after the plea was agreed upon earlier this month.

In a statement obtained by Schlabach last September, the Plymouth Police Department said officers were called to Beasley’s residence on a reported weapons offense. The reporting individuals told officers they had stopped their car in front of the house, and a “suspect walked up to their vehicle, tapped on the vehicle window, pointed a gun at them and advised them to get off of the property.”

“As the victims drove away, the suspect was observed holding the gun up to his shoulder, pointing it at their vehicle,” the police statement said.

Officers set up a perimeter to locate the individual and detected a strong odor of marijuana, according to the statement. A vehicle attempted to leave the property and was stopped by police. Three people in the car were detained and later released. A man, who identified himself as the homeowner, was outside and yelling at officers.

Officers obtained a search warrant for the property and located narcotics and numerous guns, one of which was confirmed as stolen, police said.

Beasley was traded to Minnesota last February, and signed a four-year, $60 million contract with the Timberwolves in the offseason. He has been one of the few bright spots of an otherwise awful season for Minnesota, averaging 20.5 points per game and shooting 40% from 3-point range.

The Timberwolves are a league-worst 7-26, and have lost six games in a row, as well as 10 of their past 11 games. They haven’t won two games in a row since the opening two games of the season. The team fired coach Ryan Saunders after Sunday night’s loss to the New York Knicks, and hired Chris Finch — who had been working for the Toronto Raptors as an assistant coach — as Saunders’ permanent replacement the next day.

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Sources — NBA investigating bigotry allegation against Utah Jazz vice president Dennis Lindsey

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The Utah Jazz are cooperating with an NBA investigation into former guard Elijah Millsap’s allegation that executive vice president of basketball operations Dennis Lindsey made bigoted comments during a 2015 end-of-season meeting, the team announced Thursday.

The probe will include the sharing of detailed notes taken in the April 2015 meeting that was attended by Millsap and three Jazz officials, sources said.

“The Jazz organization has zero tolerance for discriminatory behavior of any kind,” the team said in a statement Thursday. “We take these matters seriously. We have proactively engaged outside counsel to work in coordination with the NBA to thoroughly investigate this matter. We seek a comprehensive and unbiased review of the situation.

Utah officials, including Lindsey, encouraged the league office’s opening of a review of Millsap’s allegation, which was lodged on social media Wednesday night.

While making a series of posts to Twitter about how bigotry “is still very well present” and is a problem that needs to be addressed, Millsap alleged that Lindsey “made bigot remarks in my exit interview while conversing with Q. Snyder ‘if you say one more word, I’ll cut your Black ass and send you back to Louisiana.'”

In prepared words to the Salt Lake media, Lindsey said: “I categorically deny making that statement.” Jazz coach Quin Snyder told reporters on Wednesday that he “can’t fathom Dennis saying something like that.”

Millsap had an exit meeting in April of 2015 that sources said included Lindsey, Snyder and general manager Justin Zanik, who was then an assistant general manager tasked with keeping detailed notes of the conversation.

Those notes were entered into a team database and league forensic investigators can determine whether they’ve been altered or updated in any way, sources said.

End-of-season meetings — also commonly called exit meetings — are staples of NBA organizations, typically wide-ranging conversations between front offices and players that review the past season and look to the future. The Jazz have kept detailed notes on every one of those meetings since Lindsey started as the franchise’s GM in 2012, sources said.

Millsap played two seasons with the Jazz, including returning for the 2015-2016 season. His older brother, Paul, played his first seven years with the Jazz, leaving after the 2012-2013 season.

Lindsey was promoted to executive VP in 2019 and has presided over the rebuilding of an organization that currently has the best record in the NBA at 26-6.



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Sources — Bronny James undergoes knee surgery after tearing meniscus

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Bronny James suffered a torn meniscus in his knee at a practice earlier this month and had surgery to repair it, sources confirmed to ESPN on Thursday.

James, the son of the Los Angeles LakersLeBron James, told followers on Twitch this week that he had suffered a knee injury. James is a sophomore at Sierra Canyon School, which hasn’t played any official games this season due to the COVID-19 pandemic but has plans to play a spring basketball season.

James, who is listed at 6-foot-2 and plays guard, averaged 4.1 points in 15 minutes a game as a freshman for the national power. He played in all 34 games.

LeBron James and partner Maverick Carter are producing a docuseries on Sierra Canyon’s 2019-20 season, “Top Class,” featuring Bronny and his teammates. It premieres this week on Amazon.

The Los Angeles Daily News first reported that Bronny James required surgery for the injury.

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