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Report: Nuggets to waive Kostas Papanikolaou, acquired in Ty Lawson trade

Blake Griffin, Kostas Papanikolaou

Blake Griffin, Kostas Papanikolaou


Probably the most noteworthy piece the Nuggets got back from the Rockets for embattled point guard Ty Lawson in last month’s trade was second-year Greek forward Kostas Papanikolaou. He didn’t play much in his rookie season in Houston, but the former second-round pick showed flashes of versatility and seemed like a candidate to stay on the Nuggets’ roster despite his $4.7 million salary being unguaranteed.

Apparently not.’s David Pick says the Nuggets are cutting him loose:

As former Nets executive and salary-cap guru Bobby Marks points out, letting Papanikolaou go puts Denver about $7 million below the salary cap, leaving them well-positioned to take back salary in a trade, either trading for an impact player or taking back a contract to get a pick from another team. If they didn’t view Papanikolaou as a long-term piece in their rebuild, the cap space is probably more valuable to them going forward.

There’s a good chance Papanikolaou gets picked up by another team between now and training camp, as he’s still a highly regarded prospect around the league.