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Jakarr Sampson and DJ Kennedy released by Denver Nuggets

Two former Johnnies look for new opportunities as Nuggets pare roster.

NBA: Denver Nuggets-Media Day Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

The hopes of the Storm in Denver have fallen. Both Jakarr Sampson and DJ Kennedy were cut from the Denver Nuggets roster on October 15. The current Red Storm in the NBA total was cut in half, from four to two (Metta World Peace and Moe Harkless).

It was tough sledding for both Sampson and Kennedy coming into the preseason. There was six players fighting for the last roster spot on the Denver squad. Sampson signed a two-year deal back in February after Denver picked him up off of waivers from the Sixers. Sampson, the 6’9” wing who played two years at St. John’s, played the final 26 games (22 starts) of the season, averaging 5.2 points and 2.3 rebounds.

Kennedy on the other hand signed only a couple of months ago, on August 16th, and appeared in one preseason game. He had been looking to, once again, get a shot at the NBA after a solid career overseas.


Though still a fresh blow for both players, the question becomes what will they do for the upcoming season. Kennedy and Sampson are in different stages of their respective careers. Kennedy, although a member of back-to-back TBT champion Overseas Elite, is still on the outside looking in to the NBA, despite his talent. He will be 27 in a couple of weeks and has only appeared in two games in his NBA career. He has played in Russia, Germany, and Israel respectively the last three seasons and will likely look for another gig overseas.

Sampson, who made headlines for the wrong reasons, getting crossed up by rookie Kris Dunn in the summer league — [pause for video evidence]

— has seen time in the NBA since going undrafted in 2014. He has bounced around both the D-league and NBA, but teams see him as having some value as an athletic end-of-bench player; it seems he will find a job somewhere in the US at least for the time being.

Would that status have changed if Sampson stayed another year? Not likely, but St. John’s fans always wonder.

Best of luck for both Kennedy and Sampson as they carve out their professional basketball playing futures.