The Denver Nuggets have a big season ahead of them. Not only are they expected and predicted to maintain their success last season with their first NBA title, but they also have to do so with a little less talent.
Bruce Brown and Jeff Green were impactful players on and off the court for Denver, and now Brown is in Indiana, while Green is in Houston for the second time in his career.
Versatility is the brand of this team. Aaron Gordon is one of the most versatile forwards in the whole NBA, as he can guard any position on the court. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope can guard point guards down to some power forwards if needed. Michael Porter Jr. has improved on the defensive end in the past few seasons.
Their bench unit is a bit young and inexperienced outside of a few players. Zeke Nnaji, Julian Strawther, Jalen Pickett, Hunter Tyson, and others have not been given a lot of minutes for Denver or are rookies. Christian Braun will probably be Denver’s sixth man, but even he is not a very tenured player.
That is where the trade market comes in. Last season, Denver traded away Nah’Shon “Bones” Hyland to the Los Angeles Clippers and traded for Thomas Bryant from the Los Angeles Lakers. They also picked up Reggie Jackson off of the buyout market. Those moves weren’t groundbreaking at the time, and Bryant and Jackson did not get a lot of playing time in the playoffs, but those acquisitions were still important.
Bleacher Report recently posted an article suggesting trades for all 30 NBA teams before the regular season starts. Chances are, most trades that will happen this season won’t happen until at least November. The NBA’s player movement will probably be very stagnant for a while.
With that being said, who did they suggest the Denver Nuggets should trade with?
Looking at this mock trade, the Denver Nuggets trade for a quality rotation wing in Jae’Sean Tate, while not giving up much in return. Sure, a bit of youth goes out the door, but some costs must be spent to be able to compete year in and year out for a championship.
He’s a solid versatile forward and gives a lot of hustle on defense. Being 6’4″ at the small forward, and even sometimes power forward spots is a bit concerning, but he plays taller than his height. His role on the Houston Rockets is in question a bit. He has a team option for next season for $7 million, and given Houston’s depth at the wing, he could have that option declined.
Houston recently signed Dillon Brooks in free agency, who will be their starting small forward. They also drafted Cam Whitmore, who looks to be a tremendous rookie this season. Add in Tari Eason, a second year defensive-minded forward, and veterans in Jeff Green and Reggie Bullock, the forwards on the Rockets’ roster are plentiful.
Zeke Nnaji is not much to give up. His time on the team might be coming to an end at the end of this season, anyway. He will be a restricted free agent if Denver offers him the qualifying offer, which isn’t a guarantee. He will be unrestricted if the Nuggets do not offer him the qualifying offer, though.
The one piece that could sting to get rid of is Peyton Watson. He’s a bit raw as a prospect, but he’s predicted to make a solid jump in production this season. With more minutes available to the bench unit, he could make an opportunity for himself to be a regular member of Denver’s rotation.
All in all, this is a solid trade, but considering the amount of belief the Denver Nuggets organization has in Peyton Watson, they might hesitate to pull the trigger. If Watson underperforms this season, it wouldn’t be surprising if they traded him or another young player to get more talent on the roster.
I’d give this trade a B. Not an overwhelmingly amazing trade, but it’s a respectable trade offer.