Nuggets Cut Papanikolaou: Team Impact from Release


The Denver Nuggets released forward Kostas Papanikolaou before the January 10th date where his contract would have become guaranteed as Yahoo Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski reports.

By releasing the versatile forward, Denver clears Papanikolaou’s full $4.8 million salary for 2015-16.

The move not only saves money, but is a showing of the Nuggets finally getting healthy. As Gallinari has returned from his ankle injury; Mudiay nears the same task. In addition, the Bosnian Beast, Jusuf Nurkić, too has come back to getting healthy with his minutes increasing the past two games.

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With Papanikolaou being waived, the Nuggets will move towards Mudiay and Nelson running the point guard position, Harris and Foye at the two, and the high scoring Barton moving over from shooting guard to play more small forward behind Gallinari.

This lineup will better help to see increased minutes of Foye and Barton on the floor at the same time to help the chances of increased points for the Nuggets second string. Offensive improvement is greatly needed, especially after the Nuggets scored just 78 points in last night’s win.

Papanikolaou, just 25, was acquired as a part of the Ty Lawson trade to the Rockets and was the last remaining player sent from the Houston still on the team.

Papa was previously released by the Nuggets this season on September 25th before eventually being resigned on November 5th after Wilson Chandler got injured.

The 25 year-old had seen his minutes per game increase to 17.1 over the last 10 games while averaging 2.6 points and 1.5 rebounds per game on the season.

We’ll see if this move dominoes into any other signing and/or trading activity for the Nuggets.