Denver Nuggets: Could Bogdanovic or Ingles be the missing piece?

Denver Nuggets potential trade targets: Bojan Bogdanovic and Joe Ingles of the Utah Jazz react to a play on 11 Nov. 2019. (Photo by Daniel Shirey/Getty Images)

Denver Nuggets potential trade targets: Bojan Bogdanovic and Joe Ingles of the Utah Jazz react to a play on 11 Nov. 2019. (Photo by Daniel Shirey/Getty Images)

With a new lead decision-maker in the Utah Jazz front office, there are some rumblings that Joe Ingles and Bojan Bogdanovic, behind the first option of Derrick Favors, might be on the trade block. Could either of the two wings help the Denver Nuggets?

Matt Moore, The Action Network reported that the Jazz are open to trade discussions, hoping to upgrade the roster:

“Sources suggested that Bojan Bogdanovic and Joe Ingles were also bandied about as available if the Jazz could get a significant upgrade, which would be a major shakeup for the team, especially with Mike Conley headed to unrestricted free agency this summer.

“Two executives flatly countered that this week, however, saying the Jazz had indicated in no uncertain terms that they were planning to ‘run it back’ with the core from this season.”

While it’s definitely still a rumor and the two executives denying the report might even stop it in its tracks, is there a world in which the Nuggets can sneak in and trade for one of the two wings?

Denver Nuggets: What would a trade for Joe Ingles or Bojan Bogdanovic look like?

If either of the two forwards is on the move and Utah want to stay competitive, a trade would have to involve giving up a player that can help them today. The issue here is that if a player helps Utah, they’re likely helping Denver as well.

Ingles has one year left on his current deal for $14 million while Bogdanovic has two years remaining at around $19 million per. Ingles and Bogdanovic are 33 and 32-years-old respectively and the receiving team would likely be getting value on the front end, not the end of their careers.

For either player, Aaron Gordon almost has to be included for the money to work and for Utah to be happy with the return. The issue is that AG is nearly a decade younger than those two and as a defense-first player, fits nicely next to Nikola Jokic.

Throwing Bojan next to Jokic was be almost incandescent on offense with the shooting of the two but they wouldn’t be able to stop anyone in the league, let alone hold up in the playoffs.

Also, I’ll go out on a limb and assume that Bojan’s contract will age pretty poorly, when he turns 34, he’ll be paid nearly $20 million. The signing has been elite for the Jazz thus far but moving forwards, nobody will want to touch it with a ten-foot pole.

Throw that Bojan contract next to Jokic and Jamal Murray’s max contracts and there won’t be much wiggle room under the salary cap.

Focusing on an Ingles trade, by only being guaranteed for $12.4 million next season, Denver can get him by only moving on from JaMychal Green (assuming he picks up his $7.5 million player option this offseason).

Nuggets Get
Joe Ingles
Jazz Get
JaMychal Green
2021 first-round pick

The above trade would see Denver part with their first-round pick in this year’s draft, currently sitting at 26. This would leave Utah with the 26th and 30th picks in the draft and with title aspirations, it’d give them another asset that they’d be able to trade to improve the roster in the short term.

The issue with this trade is that while it cuts a bit of money from Utah’s books, it’s not a significant upgrade and still leaves them with the Favors salary. As Moore writes in his report, that’s one of the main priorities:

“Multiple league sources indicated this week that the Jazz were open to trade discussions. The consensus is that Derrick Favors is not only available, but Utah is eager to move him to clear his roughly $20 million in remaining salary (including a $10 million player option for 2022-23).”

What’s more important to Utah here: clearing a little bit of salary, throwing a little extra at free agent Mike Conley this offseason and collecting an asset along the way? Or keeping Ingles and taking it into free agency when he expires next offseason?

Denver Nuggets: Why would the team trade for one of them?

Putting aside the Utah element, Ingles would be an incredible fit for this Denver Nuggets side with and without Jamal Murray as he recovers from his torn ACL.

Ingles has spent much of his time in Utah being the do-it-all glue guy, starting when needed, or coming off the bench. He’s more than just a 3-and-D wing as he can handle the ball when needed, even operating in pick-and-roll actions.

While a lot of what Denver does runs through Nikola Jokic, Ingles would be a solid secondary ball-handler while Murray sits. Once Murray returns, his shooting would only help spread a Jokic-Ingles screen action and vice versa.

As we learnt in the Phoenix Suns series, this Nuggets team needs perimeter defense and needs it in a bad way. Ingles has proven that he can guard smaller and bigger players and would be able to maneuver his way around screens while Jokic plays a drop coverage.

His size and underrated strength would even help in a switching scheme if he ends up on a bigger player. Throw AG into the mix and Denver has two lengthy wings that can wreck all kinds of havoc on that end.

An issue is that he’ll be a free agent next offseason, alongside Aaron Gordon, and without dipping into the luxury tax, it might be too hard to retain both forwards. It’d leave Denver without their 2021 first-round draft pick, all for one season of Ingles.

Even though Utah saves some money, Denver probably wouldn’t execute the trade to run the risk of losing Ingles a year from now for nothing. Thankfully, the trade probably doesn’t materialize with Moore putting it down to noise:

“A more simplistic look might simply be that the Jazz intend to run it back unless an offer they can’t refuse comes along, which it most likely won’t.

“But this is a good example of how much ‘summer noise’ there is and how all information, no matter the angle, should be treated with skepticism.”

The Denver Nuggets will have to look for another way to bring in perimeter defense this offseason.