The Denver Nuggets are in a good spot in the 2022-23 season, but a championship contender needs to always look for ways to improve its roster. Denver is in need of size in the wing position and an extra player that can put the ball in the basket even when Nikola Jokic is not on the floor.
A recent report by Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report suggested Kyle Kuzma is looking for a way out of the Washington Wizards. As a result, he might be searching for a bigger market or a contender to join, as his team is at 11-16 and out of the playoff picture for the first part of the 2022-23 season. Things could change in the future, but the Wizards seem to be far away from contending for a title.
With that said, the Denver Nuggets might want to look into potentially snatching Kuzma out of Washington, especially if they decided to move Michael Porter Jr., who once again is sidelined missing consecutive games due to a heel injury. Here is one trade that includes a swap of Michael Porter Jr. for Kyle Kuzma.
With this trade, the Nuggets would get Kuzma and create additional cap space to re-sign him next summer. At first glance, Porter Jr. is the superior talent and Denver loses some upside, however, they also get a player who has been relatively healthy during his career and who is having his best year so far, averaging 21.4 points per game on 46.2% shooting from the field.
Will Barton is a salary filler on an expiring contract who can provide some value if healthy, and he’s already comfortable in Malone’s rotation having spent the majority of his NBA career in Denver.
Kuzma has been doing all the right things this season and he will become a free agent this upcoming summer, where Eric Pincus expects him to demand a yearly salary of around $20 million. If he ends up looking like a player the Nuggets might want to keep on the roster long-term, then they can just use some of that MPJ money to lock him up in the offseason.
The Utah product does most of his damage from inside the paint by cutting and attacking the basket. While he hasn’t been shooting the ball well so far this season, this could change if he plays alongside a capable playmaker like Nikola Jokic.
Regardless, the Denver Nuggets are currently the best shooting team in the NBA, so, maybe they can afford to lose some of their effectiveness from beyond the arc for a high-caliber scorer like Kuzma. More importantly, the Nuggets need to add players that can create their own offense and add size along the wing.
A Kyle Kuzma deal not including Michael Porter Jr.
Even if the Nuggets do not want to include Michael Porter Jr. in a Kyle Kuzma deal, there’s still a way for them to bring in the scoring forward to Mile High. In that case, they will have to send Kentavious Caldwell-Pope back to Washington along with a protected first-rounder and a couple of seconds to sweeten the deal for the Wizards.
Kuzma is on an expiring deal, as it’s almost certain that he will opt out of his player’s option for the 2023-24 season. As a result, the Wizards will likely look to get the best they can from him, instead of losing him for nothing.
The Denver Nuggets will lose some of their depth and a valuable two-way contributor in KCP, but they will keep a core of talented players in Nikola Jokic, Jamal Murray, Michael Porter Jr., and Aaron Gordon.
However, things will be tough for them in the summer as they will have to find a way to re-sign Kuzma after a potential career season. Thus, if he wants to remain and play in a contending team, then Denver could outbid the other franchises that they will certainly show some interest in signing the scoring forward when he hits free agency.