Could the Denver Nuggets trade up with the Cleveland Cavaliers?

Lauri Markkanen #24 of the Cleveland Cavaliers guards Nikola Jokic #15 of the Denver Nuggets during overtime at Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse on 18 Mar. 2022 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
Lauri Markkanen #24 of the Cleveland Cavaliers guards Nikola Jokic #15 of the Denver Nuggets during overtime at Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse on 18 Mar. 2022 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) /

The Cleveland Cavaliers are exploring options to trade down in the 2022 NBA Draft, hoping to acquire additional draft capital. With two first-round picks, should the Denver Nuggets trade up with Cleveland?

The Cavs are open to moving back in the draft if they can acquire an additional future first-round pick, according to Michael Scotto, HoopsHype.

After trading away a future 2027 first-round pick in the JaMychal Green trade, alongside the draft obligations in the Aaron Gordon trade, Denver doesn’t have much in the way of future picks but there are deals that could be worth Cleveland’s while.

Monte Morris is on the trade block and Mike Singer, The Denver Post reports that several teams are showing great interest in the backup guard. After losing Ricky Rubio to a season-ending knee injury before trading him away at the deadline for Caris LeVert, the Cavaliers need help behind Darius Garland, could Monte fill that void?

As it stands today, the Cavs are “highly likely” to re-sign Rubio this offseason per Chris Fedor, The Cleveland Plain Dealer, but with a promising young core and playoff aspirations, it wouldn’t be smart to commit a roster spot to a 31-year-old with a repaired ACL.

Additionally, his in-season replacement, Rajon Rondo is facing legal issues that could rule him out of free agency.

Morris has two more seasons left on his current contract and would slide right in behind Garland, giving the Cavs capable point guard play for the entire 48 minutes. Exactly what he’s doing for Denver right now.

This first trade sends Cedi Osman to the Denver Nuggets, adding to their wing depth. This past season, Osman averaged 10.7 points while shooting 36 percent from the 3-point line, an excellent number after a down season in 2020-21.

On top of the scoring, the Macedonian wing showed more on the defensive end, giving Cleveland a reliable option for the wing scorers of the league. In a Nuggets uniform, Cedi would add some welcome wing depth and size to a team that needs it.

On a fully healthy Denver roster, Osman could play alongside Michael Porter Jr. and Jamal Murray as the primary defensive option and stretch the floor on offense.

Monte Morris might be too much value to give up here and if Calvin Booth really wants to move on from one of the best backup guards, he might be able to find a better defensive wing elsewhere. The bet here is that the draft value severely outweighs the on-court talent.

Here’s another trade that sends back more potential for the Nuggets:

Isaac Okoro hasn’t shown much in his two-year career but the 21-year-old wing has all the tools to be a great 3-and-D role player in this league. In his second season for the Cavs, Okoro averaged 8.8 points while shooting 35 percent from behind the arc and had a true shooting percentage of 59 percent.

In his rookie season, he struggled to score or defend efficiently but leaps in year two make him much more attractive as a prospect. If he hits his ceiling, the Denver Nuggets would be able to move up in the draft while also finding their wing of the future to play alongside MPJ and Murray.

If he doesn’t hit his full potential, the Nuggets would lose out on one of the best backup guards in the league for a two-year rental and a higher draft pick.

Should the Denver Nuggets move up in the 2022 NBA Draft?

After nabbing a second first-round pick in the 2022 NBA Draft, new GM Calvin Booth looks primed to make another trade by draft night. Hopefully, it’s a move that sends picks out for a more established on-court product but if it’s a trade-up in this draft, is it worth it for the Denver Nuggets?

Denver has one of the more exciting young cores in the league with Nikola Jokic, MPJ, and Jamal and they’re ready to compete next season. Should Booth be amassing draft picks and bringing in rookies when they need players that can contribute immediately?

If the scouting department has recognized a player that can help in the present, it’s worth pursuing. If that player is available at 14, one of the two suggested trades would work.

As a worst-case scenario, if the Denver Nuggets draft two players with their two first-round picks, will they really help the team win in the present? This past season, they drafted Bones Hyland who was able to help as a rookie but that doesn’t always happen.

The NBA Draft is just around the corner and the Denver Nuggets have a lot to do, let’s see how it happens.

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