Valuable role player Darrell Arthur might be on move in free agency

Denver Nuggets forward Darrell Arthur, right, shoots as Los Angeles Lakers center Roy Hibbert defends during the first half of an NBA basketball game Friday, March 25, 2016, in Los Angeles. AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

It’s not often that the name Darrell Arthur comes up in the buzz surrounding the NBA, but with the season over, the draft complete and free agency revving up at the end of the week, rumors regarding Arthur’s future began swirling Monday.

A few days after reports of the former Kansas forward opting out of the second year of his contract with Denver in order to hit the open market, word out of the nation’s capital is Washington could be a destination for the 6-foot-9 veteran who won a national championship with KU in 2008.

According to a report from, Arthur is on a “short list” of targets for the Wizards, when teams can start negotiating with free agents on July 1.

Arthur averaged 7.5 points and 4.2 rebounds in 21.7 minutes a game — mostly as a reserve — this past season with the Nuggets, during his third year with the franchise. While his numbers don’t blow you away, Arthur is respected around the league for his work ethic and ability to defend pick-and-roll action as a 6-foot-9 frontcourt player.

What’s more, Arthur hit a career-high 38.5% of his 3-pointers during his seventh season in the league, making 45 shots from downtown, easily beating his previous season-best of 26 3-pointers.

Besides his valuable skills, which likely on their own merit could’ve earned him more than the $2.9 million he just left on the table for next season, the NBA salary cap is rising significantly this summer. Any player in his right mind would opt out of his contract now if he could, because pay raises will be readily available.

If Arthur were to reach a deal with the Wizards, he’d likely serve as a backup at power forward to another Jayhawk, Markieff Morris.

Plus, Washington would probably become a new favorite NBA team for Kansas fans, with four former KU players on the roster: Arthur, Morris, Kelly Oubre Jr. and Drew Gooden.

Of course, it might not work out that way. Most teams looking for a backup power forward, likely would have interest in a 4 who can stretch the floor and move his feet well while defending — inside and out — in the half court.

Arthur’s name certainly won’t be the biggest one on the market this summer, but he is an important role player to watch amid the free agency frenzy.

— Keep up with the production of all the ‘Hawks in the NBA daily at

– Follow @BentonASmith on Twitter