There is no doubt the Nuggets are going to make a move, and most likely some of the 11 players under contract for 2010-2011 will be moved.
Outside of the players on roster, the Nuggets do have some bargaining chips like their $3.8 million trade exception that they received last August in their deal that sent Steven Hunter to the Memphis Grizzlies. They also have the rights to Linas Kleiza, who is playing over in Olympiakos and with LK’s versatility he has his fair share of fans in the NBA.
Most likely traded
- JR Smith – despite how talented Smith is he has pretty much worn out his welcome with the Nuggets.
Him and head coach George Karl haven’t seen eye-to-eye, he also upset teammate Kenyon Martin with a very dense April Fools joke and not to mention many of his teammates were most likely upset when he tweeted the word selfish. Even with all of his shortcomings, Smith still has value in the league. He is only 24 years old and at times can be the most be the best player on the floor. If he continues to come off the bench, and he shows just a little motivation he could help a lottery team become a playoff team. He is worth a gamble for most teams, especially considering he has only one season left worth $6 million. CHANCES OF LEAVING: 65 percent. TEAMS INTERESTED: Charlotte, Golden State, Indiana, Los Angeles Clippers, Milwaukee, New Jersey, New York, Philadelphia and Sacramento.
- Renaldo Balkman - After signing a $5 million extension for three years, Balkman rewarded the Nuggets with only 13 games and 1.1 points a contest. Not exactly what the front office wanted, but with the right team, right coach and right situation he would be successful. He has a Dennis Rodman-type personality, not exactly the right person on a crazy squad like the Nuggets. CHANCES OF LEAVING: 75 percent. TEAMS INTERESTED: Chicago, Detroit, Golden State, Clippers, Los Angeles Lakers, Miami, New Orleans, Philadelphia, Sacramento and Toronto.
Could be traded, but slim chances
- Kenyon Martin- For years Nuggets fans have been asking to trade K-Mart. Martin has missed an average
of 21 games a season and has had one, maybe two good seasons during that time. However, his expiring $16.5 million contract will interest numerous teams who will try and get under the cap next season. However, considering it isn’t going to be a strong free agent season K-Mart’s contract won’t be that important. It also doesn’t help that he is undersized and injury prone. CHANCES OF LEAVING: 30 percent. TEAMS INTERESTED: Charlotte, Detroit, Indiana and New Orleans.
- Nene – Fans are asking for this big man to be traded this summer, but it is lot easier said than done. Nene may not have been the most aggressive player, but on a team full of shoot-first and pass-second players, Nene is one of the few unselfish players that is willing to pass the ball. It will be hard to find a big man with that attitude and is willing to play third or fourth fiddle to Chauncey Billups and Carmelo Anthony. He still needs to improve his scoring and rebounding, but his defense is solid. The truth of the matter is he is playing out of position at Center and is a Top 10 Centers. So if he is dealt, who are you going to get back? Getting a Chris Kaman and Marc Gasol is going to cost more than Nene. If the Nuggets get Chris Bosh, David Lee and Amar’e Stoudemire, they would all be playing out of position at Center and the Nugs are back where they started. Finding a true Center and moving Nene to power forward is the best option for this squad. CHANCES OF LEAVING: 30 percent. TEAMS INTERESTED: Charlotte, Chicago, Detroit, Golden State, Indiana, Miami, Milwaukee, Oklahoma City and Toronto.
- Brian Butch – Even before Butch can step on a floor in a Nuggets uniform, he may be shipped out. His non-guaranteed contract could attract interest from teams that are trying to cut salaries. CHANCES OF LEAVING: 40 percent. TEAMS INTERESTED: Boston, Cleveland, Dallas, Indiana, Lakers, Miami, New Jersey, New Orleans, New York, Orlando, Philadelphia and Toronto.
Another name that has been talked being traded is Chris Andersen, but considering he was injured and just signed a new contract, not to mention he is a fan favorite there is little chance the Nuggets trade him.
Photos by Jonathan Maness