Former Nugget already at the forefront of trade rumors as offseason begins

Mar 11, 2024; Denver, Colorado, USA; Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic (15) controls the ball
Mar 11, 2024; Denver, Colorado, USA; Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic (15) controls the ball / Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

The Nuggets and their fans are focused on the looming Game 7 of their Western Conference Semifinals against the Timberwolves on Sunday. But it’s already the offseason for a vast majority of NBA teams and that means rumors are swirling.

One team that has started their offseason and that will likely be extremely active in the coming months is the Toronto Raptors. The Raptors had a disappointing season and ultimately traded longtime franchise cornerstones OG Anunoby and Pascal Siakam before the February trade deadline.

One player who returned to the Raptors in the Siakam trade was former Nugget, Bruce Brown. Brown was a key role player for Denver during their 2023 championship run, leading the bench unit and often finishing games in the closing lineup for Michael Malone. Brown proved to be an incredibly reliable jack-of-all-trades who fit well on a contending team and seemed to rise to his best in high-pressure moments.

Brown was so successful in Denver that it led to him receiving a lucrative contract in free agency last offseason from the Pacers. But Brown struggled to play a major role in Indiana which led to him being traded to the Raptors. 

Brown doesn’t make a ton of sense for a rebuilding Raptors team, so the prevailing thought now is that he will opt into his $23 million player option, then Toronto will look to trade him to a contender. Brown is still just 27 years old and should be well sought after by teams looking to compete for a title in 2025.

What teams could trade for Brown?

Teams like the Knicks and Lakers were interested at the 2024 trade deadline and it makes sense for them to get back involved. Matching the $23 million salary will be the biggest hurdle for most teams, but if doable, Brown can be an extremely helpful player. Teams like the Heat, 76ers, Grizzlies, and Spurs would also make a lot of sense.

Could the Nuggets get involved?

If the price was right, there’s no doubt the Nuggets would welcome Brown back with open arms. They would have loved to retain him last season but couldn’t compete with the cost. Trading to bring back Brown is an interesting thought and could depend on how this playoff run ends. If the Nuggets flame out, they may look to trade Michael Porter Jr. this offseason.

MPJ will make just under $36 million next season and the Nuggets may look to move off of that contract as Porter has settled in as more of a role player. It’s possible they could send out MPJ to take back Brown and another small salary - maybe Chris Boucher or Gary Trent Jr. (he would have to sign and be traded). It’s probably a long shot, but nothing is off the table and a reunion in Denver would likely be desirable for both parties.