Grade the Trade: Denver Nuggets proposal moves world champion center

Nikola Jokic, Denver Nuggets. Daniel Theis, Indiana Pacers. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
Nikola Jokic, Denver Nuggets. Daniel Theis, Indiana Pacers. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images) /

Denver Nuggets star Nikola Jokic is probably the best center in the NBA. There’s some debate about whether it’s him or Philadelphia 76ers star Joel Embiid, but the argument has become one-sided since Jokic spearheaded an NBA title for Denver last spring.

While The Joker has given the Nuggets some serious star power in the starting lineup, there’s a lot less to say about their depth.

In a recent article for Bleacher Report, Andy Bailey penned mock trades for each of the 30 NBA teams. When he got to Denver, he suggested that they swing they swing the following deal for Indiana Pacers center and FIBA world champion, Daniel Theis:

Should the Denver Nuggets trade Zeke Nnaji and Reggie Jackson for Daniel Theis?


It’s not the worst mock trade that’s ever been published on Bleacher Report, that’s for sure.

Behind Jokic, the Nuggets only have an elderly version of DeAndre Jordan and Jay Huff, who’s on a non-guaranteed contract. By bringing in Theis, they’d be adding a guy who can do a bit of everything but isn’t great at any specific skill.

For his career, the German has averaged 7.6 points and 4.9 rebounds per game while shooting 54.3% from the field and 32.4% from long range.

He’d be a solid backup for Jokic, who could need a few extra breaks this season, after spearheading Denver’s championship run deep into the spring last year.

Theis’s contract runs through the end of next season but includes a team option for its final year. If Denver was to decide they don’t want to pay his near-$10 million salary next season, then they don’t have to.

Plus, he perhaps gets the worst whistle in the NBA which means Nuggets fans could enjoy a laugh at Theis’s expense. The play below was not whistled as a foul.

Final grade for Denver Nuggets-Indiana Pacers mock trade:


If you’re the Nuggets, you don’t necessarily have to reinforce your big-man rotation. The current core was good enough to take home the title last year, so why really offload pieces that you don’t have to?

The intriguing part of this deal is that the Nuggets can fill somewhat of a need while making room for some of their younger guys to grow.

For example, by offloading the veteran Jackson, they could pave the way for Peyton Watson — who some have pegged to be primed for a breakout season — to play some extra minutes.

Nnaji is entering the final year of his rookie contract and has yet to really find a nitch in Denver’s rotation. Sending him to the Pacers could be a win for both sides if they’re able to find a role for him to thrive.

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