The Denver Nuggets are currently stacked with high-end talent and solid role players. The roster is largely unchanged from the one that fell short against the Phoenix Suns in last season’s Western Conference semi-finals, except for JaMychal Green and Jeff Green, who have been added to the front-court rotation.
However, starting the season on a roster doesn’t necessarily guarantee that you will end the season with the same team. The NBA is fluid, and the makeup of each conference is always one trade away from being flipped on its head. For the Denver Nuggets, it’s unlikely any major moves are made during the season, but with a multitude of tradeable contracts, it’s possible that the team could get in on a trade as a third team.
Facilitating a trade is often a finesse way of obtaining a complementary player or two while sending out a player who doesn’t fit the coaching staff’s system. Despite everything looking rosy for the Denver Nuggets as we approach the new season, there’s always the chance the front office looks to improve as the year progresses.
As such, here are three players who could find themselves playing for a new team by the trade deadline.
Denver Nuggets: 3 players who might not finish the season in Denver: Austin Rivers
Austin Rivers joined the Denver Nuggets mid-way through the 2020-21 NBA season and was a blessing for a team left reeling off Jamal Murray’s season-ending injury. However, Denver has a deep backcourt rotation, consisting of Murray (when healthy), Rivers, Facundo Campazzo, Na’Shon ‘Bones’ Hyland, PJ Dozier, Monte Morris, and Markus Howard – you can throw Will Barton in that list too if you see him as more of a guard than a forward.
Seven, possibly eight, guards fighting for two spots. Sure, Howard is a two-way player and will spend the lion’s share of his season in the G-League, but there’s still a considerably sized logjam in the guard rotation.
Once Jamal Murray has recovered from his injury and worked through the rustiness that comes with such a long layoff, some of these guards are going to find themselves on the outside looking in. Austin Rivers may be the odd man out at that point, being that his deal is short-term, and there are younger players in need of minutes to develop their untapped potential.
“But Michael Malone doesn’t give younger players a chance” – I have read this sentence multiple times over the years. However, Dozier and Hyland are both capable understudies for Murray and would continue to improve with a consistent role within the rotation.