Bones Hyland Reflects on 'S--t' Experience with Nuggets Before Clippers Trade

Adam WellsFebruary 24, 2023

DENVER, CO - JANUARY 20: Bones Hyland #3 of the Denver Nuggets looks on during the game against the Indiana Pacers on January 20, 2023 at the Ball Arena in Denver, Colorado. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2023 NBAE (Photo by Bart Young/NBAE via Getty Images)
Bart Young/NBAE via Getty Images

As he continues to settle in with the Los Angeles Clippers, Bones Hyland doesn't look back fondly on his time with the Denver Nuggets.

Speaking to ESPN's Ohm Youngmisuk, Hyland explained why his tenure with the Nuggets turned into a "s--t" experience before he was traded to Los Angeles.

"Man, I just didn't like how everything went down over there," he said. "Honestly. Just felt like I [was] just being treated worse than I was my rookie [season], and I felt like I was playing way better than my rookie [season]. I felt like s--t just [hit me] from [the] blindside."

Hyland, the No. 26 pick in the 2021 NBA draft, had a promising rookie season in a limited role. He averaged 10.1 points per game on 36.6 percent three-point shooting and 2.8 assists per game in 69 appearances.

The Nuggets seemed to indicate Hyland would be getting an expanded role last offseason when they traded Monte Morris to the Washington Wizards. He played more than 20 minutes in seven consecutive appearances from Oct. 28 through Nov. 20, including a season-high 35 minutes in a Nov. 20 win over the Dallas Mavericks.

In 30 appearances after the Mavs game, Hyland averaged 18.3 minutes per contest. He struggled with 10.5 points on 39.8 percent shooting during that span.

"Who knows? Don't know, man," Hyland told Youngmisuk when asked what he thought happened to his role. "I feel like it's just miscommunication. We all thought the same thing [after the Morris trade]—it would be more opportunity, more minutes for myself. ... But it just changed up so fast. It's hard to put it in words, because I'm so lost like everybody else."

Per Mike Singer of the Denver Post, "numerous" veteran players on the Nuggets were frustrated with Hyland when he walked off the bench early in the fourth quarter of a Jan. 22 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder.

According to Singer, the Nuggets punished Hyland by not letting him travel with the team on a three-game road trip that started on Jan. 24, and he met with them later by taking a commercial flight.

Hyland admitted to Youngmisuk he's a "very emotional type of player," but he felt like there was a "miscommunication" and no one was telling him what was happening.

Rather than try to see if there was a way to salvage the relationship with the 22-year-old, the Nuggets sent him to the Clippers in a four-team trade that included the Los Angeles Lakers and Orlando Magic.

It probably speaks to how ready the Nuggets were to move on that they only received backup center Thomas Bryant in the deal.

Hyland should see the court more with a Clippers team that has been trying to find a viable option at point guard all season. They did sign Russell Westbrook on Wednesday after he received a buyout from the Utah Jazz.

In his first two games with the Clippers, Hyland is averaging 7.5 points and is 2-of-4 from three-point range.