The Bones Hyland Trade Saga

Bones Hyland #3 of the Denver Nuggets celebrates his basket against the Minnesota Timberwolves in the fourth quarter of the game at Target Center (Photo by David Berding/Getty Images)
Bones Hyland #3 of the Denver Nuggets celebrates his basket against the Minnesota Timberwolves in the fourth quarter of the game at Target Center (Photo by David Berding/Getty Images) /

As of today, Bones Hyland has spent the last four games riding the bench for the Denver Nuggets. The talented sophomore hasn’t gotten into games when players like Davon Reed and Peyton Watson have been featured in legitimate rotation minutes.

It seems like the writing is on the wall, and that even though things snuck up out of nowhere — Bones Hyland is likely to be traded. There are a lot of on-court reasons that the front office might look for an upgrade, but it seems like the two sides are trying to find a trade due to Bones Hyland being unhappy with his role and playing time.

It’s been reported by many people, including Chris Haynes, that Bones Hyland would be open to getting moved if it meant a bigger role for a team. In a league where young players are seemingly getting max extensions left and right, it can be hard to blame Bones for trying to secure himself generational money.

Though fans may not want to see the Nuggets move the dynamic shooter, it seems that he and the coaching staff have had some disagreements. These could have been about his playing time, shot selection, or his lacking defensive performance.

His play on the court this season has left much to be desired, with him possessing the spot as the worst net rating on the team. Per Cleaning the Glass, he has a net rating of -20.3 on the season.  That’s worse than DeAndre Jordan.

He has his moments, but his offense has been streaky this season and when his shot isn’t falling, he struggles heavily to make a positive impact. His finishing leaves a lot to be desired, per Synergy he’s shooting 55% on layups this season. He definitely has potential to be a solid scorer, but right now he’s a fairly predictable scorer.

Not to mention his defense being among the worst in the NBA. It’s a common occurrence to see Hyland getting beat back door for an easy layup for the other team. Any points he scores are often given right back on the other end of things. He has a solid wingspan, but seldom uses it.

These things are likely to get smoothed over in the future, but for the Nuggets they don’t have the time nor resources required to fully develop Bones into the fantastic player he obviously could become. He has a good feel for the game, and is among the best shooters in the league. However, he isn’t a well rounded player yet and that’s something the Nuggets are lacking off the bench.

So, the Nuggets and Bones are looking like they’ll be split apart soon. The Nuggets are looking for a two way player that has a similar level of team control to Hyland, and additional draft compensation on top of that. That sort of return will be hard to come by though, and due to the nature of which these rumors and things came to light — his value has probably plummeted over the last couple of weeks.

There are teams interested, but the trade deadline is fast approaching and less than 24 hours remain for the Nuggets to find a deal. Whether they find that deal or not remains to be seen. If they can’t get a good return, they should consider just keeping Bones and trying to get some of his value recouped.

Some targets that would make sense though are players like a Jalen McDaniels from Charlotte — a solid shooter and defender on his rookie deal. He’s shown flashes of being a good role player and may thrive in a better environment than the Hornets’ locker room.

The Pelicans are a team that has been reported to have interest in Bones, and a player from them that would do wonders for the Nuggets is Naji Marshall. He’s a big and rangy defender, someone who the Nuggets could play in the playoffs and feel good about.

He doesn’t provide too much spacing on offense, but is a solid finisher and could be good enough next to Nikola Jokic to provide some offensive punch. However, he’s likely too good to be acquired for just Bones Hyland.

What the front office does remains to be seen, but the dawn of the deadline is soon approaching. Bones Hyland remains a name that is in a lot of talks, and a deal is likely to be made.