Grade the Trade: Denver Nuggets proposal swaps promising pair for wing depth

Zeke Nnaji, Denver Nuggets. (Photo by Chris Coduto/Getty Images)
Zeke Nnaji, Denver Nuggets. (Photo by Chris Coduto/Getty Images) /

With the 2023-24 NBA season quickly approaching, the Denver Nuggets are gearing up for their NBA title defense. Unfortunately for Denver, they’ll be going in a bit weaker at the wing spot, after losing both Bruce Brown and Jeff Green as free agents. Plus, Vlatko Cancar will be out indefinitely due to a torn ACL.

If the Nuggets want to boost their wing depth, one avenue that they could take would be to make a trade to bring in some extra help.

NBA Analysis Networks’ James Piercy recently drafted a few mock trades that would net the Nuggets the aforementioned help. One of them saw Denver offload some young talent in exchange for Brooklyn Nets forward Royce O’Neale.

Does it make sense for the Denver Nuggets to trade for Royce O’Neale?


Again, Denver is heading into the new season shorthanded at the forward spot. If they were to pursue O’Neale via trade, it could be a great way to fill that void with some veteran help.

The 30-year-old wing is coming off of a career year in Brooklyn. He averaged a career-high 8.8 points per game in 76 appearances for the Nets. O’Neale was effective in other ways as well, tallying 5.1 rebounds, and 3.7 assists per contest.

One of the most intriguing parts of his game is his ability to knock down threes at a consistent clip. O’Neale’s career average of 38.4% from beyond the arc would make him an excellent fit next to Nuggets center Nikola Jokic.

A veteran presence like O’Neale would be a fantastic addition to Denver’s bench, and he wouldn’t come at the steepest price. He’s only under contract through the end of the upcoming campaign, where he is set to earn $9.5 million.

Final Grade for Denver Nuggets mock trade for Royce O’Neale:


If the Denver Nuggets were able to swing this trade for the Nets forward then it would be a win — mostly. Both sides would likely walk away satisfied, with Denver adding much-needed depth and Brooklyn bringing in some younger talent to help their youth movement.

The only issue with this comes on the Nuggets’ end. What if they’re interested in keeping those cheaper contracts? It could be a possibility with the new CBA looming large. Denver has already made moves to acquire more draft capital, which will help them avoid facing financial penalties in the future.

Trading away the likes of Nnaji and Watson would go against the sentiment entirely — especially the latter.

Watson just completed his rookie season and has some decent potential. He didn’t see a ton of opportunity throughout the course of the 2022-23 campaign, but the efficient 42.9% he shot from long range is exciting for sure.

At the end of the day, adding O’Neale would help Denver’s chances to repeat as champions, which is the ultimate goal.

Next. 3 Trades to Replace Vlatko Cancar. dark