The Denver Nuggets are finalizing a deal with free agent shooting guard Troy Daniels, according to a report by Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN on Wednesday. Daniels was waived by the Los Angeles Lakers at the playoff eligibility waiver deadline on March 1.
The Lakers signed Daniels last summer in an effort to add some much-needed 3-point shooting to their roster. In the 2018-19 season, the Lakers ranked second-to-last in the NBA in 3-point efficiency (33.3%). The only team that shot worst from behind the arc last was the Phoenix Suns, who had the second-worst record in the NBA.
However, while Daniels — a career 40% 3-point shooter — was a good fit on paper, his early-season struggles and the unexpected resurgence of Kentavious Caldwell-Pope caused him to fall out of head coach Frank Vogel’s rotation, and when he did play, he was a net negative.
Now, with the Nuggets, Daniels will have a fresh start and a chance to compete in the NBA Playoffs, which is what Vogel said the Lakers wanted for Daniels when they waived him on Sunday (via Tania Ganguli of the L.A. Times):
Before the Lakers played at New Orleans on Sunday, Vogel said they had no imminent plans to add another player.
“If we were to do something and cross that road at some point, and we had to use Troy’s roster spot, then Troy would be left out in the cold,” Vogel said. “So we wanted to do the right thing by the player and also obviously give ourselves some flexibility if we need to make some type of move in the future.”
That might sound like the politically correct response from Vogel, and it very well could be, but an Instagram post from Daniels on Monday suggests that the Lakers really were operating in their player’s best interest:
View this post on Instagram
Absolutely one of the hardest decisions of my life. But it was best for ME..! I’ve been tested in my life before and I have came out the storm on my feet every time. What a pleasure it was to be apart of such a unbelievable organization of the Lakers. Being in LA literally changed my life for the better and I’m excited to see what’s next .!! To all my brothers on the squad yall know what it is .. good luck the rest of the way. Ima see yall real soon.!! #VA
Does that mean Daniels would have had a problem staying in Los Angeles for the remainder of the season? Probably not, but Daniels said himself that the speculation around him getting cut bothered him, and if he didn’t believe he had a future with the Lakers, it was in both parties’ interest to part ways when they did. If anything, it was more risky for the Lakers to cut Daniels with a guarantee that they were going to sign a player as good or better than him.
Daniels will make his return to Staples Center on Sunday, March 15. The Nuggets will be looking to even the season series with the Lakers, and Daniels will surely be eager to help Denver get the win.