Denver Nuggets: Grading the Bryn Forbes trade

The Denver Nuggets have made their first trade of the 2021-22 NBA season (after the Bol Bol trade was voided) and it adds much-needed depth to a roster that’s looking to make a push.

Denver receives Bryn Forbes, the San Antonio Spurs receive Juancho Hernangomez, and the Boston Celtics receive Bol Bol and P.J. Dozier according to Adrian Wojnarowski, ESPN.

Let’s get into trade grades for all three teams:

Denver Nuggets trade grade: C

The Denver Nuggets were always going to trade Bol Bol when he returned after failing his medical. His jersey number, 10, had already been given to the incoming James Ennis III and the relationship was broken.

He had just been ruled out for 8-12 weeks after deciding to operate on his foot according to Shams Charania, The Athletic. Because of this, his value likely went from late second-round pick to absolutely nothing.

Denver expressed their interest in Bryn Forbes a few days ago but it’s not a move that shores up their wing rotation or, being on an expiring contract, helps them next season when the team is at full strength.

Forbes was essentially a free acquisition for Denver as it took Bol Bol and an injured P.J. Dozier to get him. Some Nuggets fans might have rather stuck with Dozier and see if his improved 3-point shooting and perimeter defense can help next season, but it was always going to be a risk after a season-ending injury.

The best-case scenario with Bryn Forbes is that he adds more shooting to Denver’s best lineups. At the moment, he’s making 42 percent of his 3.8 attempts from long distance but outside of his shooting, he doesn’t bring much.

Was there a major need to add another shooting guard? Forbes does a lot of what Austin Rivers does but slightly better. Either way, both are one-dimensional players who only get in the way of Bones Hyland’s development.

The only saving grace for this trade is that it opens up a roster spot for the Nuggets moving forward. Tim Connelly can either use this roster spot to promote DeMarcus Cousins if he proves worthy, or add another player at the trade deadline.

San Antonio Spurs trade grade: C

The idea behind trading away Forbes was to open up playing time for their young cohort of guards in Josh Primo, Devin Vassell, and Tre Jones.

When I wrote about a possible Forbes-to-Denver trade a few days ago, I thought it’d only take a heavily protected second-round to acquire the guard. Instead, the cost was taking on $7 million in dead salary in Hernangomez.

Juancho is owed $7.5 million next season but it’s fully non-guaranteed so there’s almost no universe in which the Spurs keep him on.

Either way, the Spurs are winners here, they open up playing time for the rest of their roster.

Also, it breaks their near-six-year drought of in-season trades, back when they traded Nando De Colo to the Toronto Raptors (I’m not counting the Marquese Chriss trade last season as it didn’t impact the on-court product at all).

Boston Celtics trade grade: B+

This move brings Boston just above the luxury tax (likely another move coming) and what did it cost them? Absolutely nothing.

Juancho appeared in 18 games for the Celtics and it was mostly garbage time or spot minutes. Boston didn’t have to pay either team a second-round pick for their troubles, the Spurs opened up their rotation and Denver got their guy.

It’s a small move and a small win, but the first in-season win for the new president of basketball operations, Brad Stevens.

Please note: this article was written before further trade details were announced including San Antonio receiving a 2028 second-round pick from Denver.