Grade the Trade: Denver Nuggets proposal offloads MPJ in salary dump

Michael Porter Jr., Denver Nuggets. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
Michael Porter Jr., Denver Nuggets. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images) /

The NBA’s new collective bargaining agreement has arrived and is ready to lay the smackdown on teams who overspend. Any franchise that spends $17.5 million more than the allotted salary cap, will face severe punishments down the line. The Denver Nuggets are $4.7 million away from violating that second apron and paying the price.

So… what if the Nuggets want to offload some money?

Well, Bleacher Report’s Zach Buckley recently published an article, which proposed a trade for every team’s “worst contract.”

When it was time to take a look at Denver, Buckley pitched the following swap:

Should the Denver Nuggets trade Michael Porter Jr. to the Indiana Pacers?

No, probably not.

Porter Jr. played a key role in the Nuggets’ run to their first-ever NBA championship last season. He started in 62 regular-season games for Denver, playing about 29 minutes per game. In those starts, Porter Jr. was able to contribute 17.4 points and 5.5 rebounds per contest while shooting 48.7% from the field and 41.4% from deep.

His playoff numbers weren’t quite as good as those from the regular season, but he was still solid, scoring 13.4 points per game on 42.3%/35.1% splits.

The 25-year-old is about to enter the second season of a five-year, $179.3 million contract with Denver. If he’s able to replicate the production that he gave the Nuggets last season then fine, it’s absolutely worth it.

However, Porter Jr. hasn’t been the most durable player throughout his five-year NBA tenure. He missed his entire first season due to a back injury, played 55 games in the 2019-20 season, followed that with a 66-game 2020-21 campaign, then missed all but nine games in the 2021-22 year.

It’s yet to be seen how the Missouri native’s body will hold up after a deep playoff run, but everyone in Denver is hoping he’s absolutely fine.

Final Grade for Denver Nuggets-Indiana Pacers Michael Porter Jr. trade:


The only real argument for offloading Porter Jr. is his shakey injury history. Besides that, he’s been a solid starter for the Nuggets.

Plus, is Buddy Hield really going to move the needle for a Denver team coming off of a title run? I doubt it.

Sure, it’d be nice to feel better about health when spending the type of money that the team owes Porter Jr. but it’s not worth shaking up a championship core just three months after winning a title.

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