Insane rumor has Nuggets eyeing splashy free agency acquisition this summer

Denver Nuggets v Golden State Warriors
Denver Nuggets v Golden State Warriors / Thearon W. Henderson/GettyImages

The story of the offseason in Denver has been Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and whether or not the Nuggets will be able to keep their veteran starting guard. All hope is not lost yet, but it appears more likely by the day that KCP will leave for a big deal in free agency.

On Thursday Caldwell-Pope officially opted out of his contract, making him an unrestricted free agent and since then, the reporting is indicating that he’ll sign with a new team - the Magic and Sixers are the favorites. The Nuggets still have his Bird Rights and could match any offer, but it sounds like Calvin Booth and the Nuggets aren’t looking to enter a bidding war.

Nuggets interested in adding Klay Thompson

Caldwell-Pope leaving town would be a tough hit for the Nuggets, but it sounds like the team is already starting to pivot. One fascinating new rumor surfaced from an article by Sam Amick and Joe Vardon of the Athletic, stating that the Nuggets could target Klay Thompson as a replacement for KCP.

A future Hall of Famer, Thompson has won four titles with the Warriors, the only team he’s ever played for. But it seems the sides are far apart in extension talks and Klay now seems likely to walk in free agency this summer. The usual cap space teams have been mentioned as possible suitors like the Sixers and Magic, but the Nuggets getting in the mix is a very intriguing new wrinkle.

How could the Nuggets acquire Thompson?

This rumor is particularly crazy because even if KCP leaves, the Nuggets won’t have any cap space. They could offer Thompson a veteran minimum contract or the taxpayer's midlevel exception, but that’s about it. That deal is just over $5 million which would be a massive pay cut for Klay, a deal he could definitely beat on the open market - likely by quite a lot.

There are other, more involved scenarios where the Nuggets could offload more salary to get under the luxury tax line and offer Thompson a full midlevel exception, but even that would still be well below the next expected contract for Klay. If the Nuggets shed that much money they could work out a sign-and-trade for Thompson, but that would involve the Warriors playing ball, and helping another West contender seems unlikely.

Is there any actual chance of this happening?

So barring something completely out of the blue (certainly not impossible) it seems like the only way Thompson comes to Denver is if he’s ready to take a massive pay-cut just to chase another ring with the Nuggets. It wouldn’t be an unprecedented move, but it would be an indication that things with Thompson and the Warriors turned very ugly and he basically wants to stick it to them with a conference rival.

Even at his advanced age, signing Thompson to a contract that small would be an incredible boon for the Nuggets. He’d instantly be the best shooter on the team and provide a new world of spacing and gravity around Jokic and Murray. But for now, I remain extremely skeptical that this move is anywhere close to happening.