The Mo Williams saga continued Monday when the Denver Nuggets claimed the veteran guard off waivers just days after releasing him, ESPN.com has learned.
The Nuggets put in a Monday afternoon claim on Williams in a move designed to bring them closer to the NBA's annual salary floor and save $1.2 million, according to league sources.
The Nuggets thought they had realized those savings last week after acquiring Williams from the Atlanta Hawks via trade, but Philadelphia claimed Williams off waivers Friday, setting the Sixers up to save in excess of $1 million instead of Denver.
Philadelphia immediately waived Williams after claiming him to make sufficient roster room to re-sign guard Chasson Randle to a 10-day deal. That enabled the Nuggets, who have an open roster spot, to reacquire Williams.
The Nuggets, sources said, are expected to waive Williams again this week to make roster room to re-sign Alonzo Gee to his second 10-day deal of the season with Denver. After a second 10-day deal, Denver will have to decide whether to sign Gee for the rest of the season.
All of this jockeying -- involving a player who isn't expected to play at all this season -- has been sparked by a loophole in the current collective bargaining agreement. The loophole would allow the last team that holds Williams' rights this season under his current contract terms to apply his full $2.2 million salary to its payroll for the season, but without paying that full amount because Williams would only be entitled to a pro-rated amount from his new club.
Assuming that the Nuggets waive Williams again and no one claims him, they would create a profit of nearly $1.8 million for themselves when adding in the $650,000 they received from Atlanta in acquiring Williams via trade last week.
The NBA's new labor agreement, which takes effect July 1, closes this loophole by only recognizing what teams pay players on a per-day basis and should reduce such moves in the future.
Williams, 34, has not played this season but has technically had stints with four teams since it began: Cleveland, Atlanta, Denver, Philadelphia and now Denver again.
The former All-Star has been widely expected to retire after playing for Cleveland's championship team last season.
Denver wants to add Williams' $2.2 million contract to its books because it sits a league-leading $9.9 million below the NBA's annual salary floor, followed by Brooklyn at $8.6 million.
NBA teams are required to distribute any shortfall evenly at season's end among the players on their current rosters.