No one player in the NBA is truly untouchable. Any team can be blown away with an offer. So what it would it take for the Denver Nuggets to part with Nikola Jokic?
The Denver Nuggets are sitting pretty at the moment. They’ve got the core of their team under contract, with a respected coach and a strong home court advantage that, under normal times, gives them a big upper hand in the postseason.
But NBA stars get disgruntled all the time, and the idea that any one player is truly immovable is a myth. In recent memory, Anthony Davis, Kawhi Leonard, Kyrie Irving, and Kristaps Porzingis have all been traded after voicing displeasure over the situation with their team. Contract disputes, coaching relationships, and losing can all be factors that would make any player consider another destination.
Should things erode with Nikola Jokic, what could the Nuggets get in return for him? The New York Knicks come to mind first. The Knicks have multiple extra first round picks and could match the salary of Jokic’s deal by sending the Nuggets Julius Randle and at least one non-guaranteed deal. Receiving Randle, two first round picks and Frank Ntilikina would be useful for Denver, even if it doesn’t match up to Jokic in a vacuum.
Another option is the Oklahoma City Thunder. The team acquired an outrageous eight first round picks in three different trades involving Paul George, Jerami Grant, and Russell Westbrook. The Nuggets could demand three first round picks, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, and Steven Adams.
While trading Jokic wouldn’t make the Nuggets any better right away, it is worth considering the amount of value that a superstar player can be broken down into both in draft picks and in players. The Thunder have enjoyed a very strong season despite trading three of their top five players and now have a virtual first round monopoly over the draft going forward.
Jokic is unstoppable at times, but the Nuggets should consider these avenues should the relationship between he and the team begin to deteriorate. The Nuggets are one of the best teams in the NBA, and wouldn’t necessarily take a step back in making one of these moves.