Ranking the top 5 Denver Nuggets most likely to be traded this offseason

After a disappointing ending to their season, the Nuggets need to be aggressive on the trade market this summer to improve the roster and extend their championship window.
Denver Nuggets v Cleveland Cavaliers
Denver Nuggets v Cleveland Cavaliers / Jason Miller/GettyImages
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The Nuggets and their fans are still digesting their playoff loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves including a Game 7 home collapse after being up by 20 points in the second half. As disappointing as this loss was, it’s important to take a step back and appreciate just how good the Nuggets have been the last two seasons.

It’s extremely difficult to repeat as NBA champions and the Nuggets gave it a hell of a run. Ultimately they ran into a great team that matched up well with them and rose to the occasion. The Nuggets ran out of gas and the Wolves eked out one of the most competitive playoff series in years.

It may have only been a second-round series, but this felt like a Western Conference Finals and the Wolves may well go on to win it all. Despite the loss, the Nuggets are close. If they run it back with the same team next year they’ll be right back in the mix to compete for another title.

But on the other hand, the Nuggets are an aging team that lacked top-end talent and depth to complement their best players. These prime years of Nikola Jokic are precious and the team can’t squander a single moment. If there are opportunities to improve the team, Calvin Booth and the front office need to be active and aggressive.

Close isn’t good enough. The Nuggets have to be all in to give Jokic and the franchise the best possible chance to win a ring every single year until his magical run starts to wind down. That means exploring every option in the trade market this summer and seeing what’s out there. 

The Nuggets don’t have a lot of obvious trade assets so they’ll need to get creative and consider everything. Certain players (Jokic/Murray) are completely untouchable, while others are set to hit free agency, and others simply couldn’t fetch any positive return. So here are the 5 Nuggets who are most likely to be dealt this offseason.

5.) Christian Braun

Braun is the only recent draft pick who has become a success story for the Nuggets and was one of their only reliable bench contributors in the playoffs. He’s on a super cheap rookie contract and is one of the best assets the Nuggets currently hold. He’s a vital part of the team and a guy who could realistically move into the starting lineup sooner rather than later (he has already been closing some games in place of Michael Porter Jr.).

But that is what could make Braun attractive to other teams on the trade market. If the Nuggets want to make a significant upgrade, they are going to have to part with something that other teams want. Braun is one of the only tradable players on the roster who fits that mold.

There are plenty of young teams in the league that would love to get a solid two-way player like Braun with playoff experience. He could easily carve out a much bigger role playing for a lesser team and could grow into a really good player.

Braun makes sense as the centerpiece of a trade for a good veteran player who could be more helpful in Denver’s immediate pursuit of a championship. In the end, this is probably a long shot and the Nuggets are likely better off just keeping Braun. But if they are willing to put him on the table that would greatly increase their chances of landing a true difference maker.