I noticed a new trade rumor as well as an old one floating around the internet involving the Denver Nuggets and figured it might be fun to address both of them.
Talking Trade with Oklahoma City?
The search for an additional big man continues as Denver has been listed as a possible destination for both Joe Smith and Chris Wilcox of the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Joe Smith would seem to be a no brainer, but he is pretty light in the rump and I would have to question his ability to play defense in the post. Offensively, I think he would be a great fit as he can set screens, play unselfishly and drain the midrange jumper. Wilcox is a more impressive physical specimen, but he is such an inconsistent player. As with Smith, I question his ability to be a stout defender on the block. He has the bulk, but I do not know if he has the heart.
The other issue is after having no problem with shipping Chucky Atkins out in exchange for almost anything I am now hesitant to deal him because of the horrible recent play by Anthony Carter. Until either Carter changes his ways or a big man is seriously injured I do not do either one of those deals.
I am also not so sure that the Nuggets need to add another big man. They can clearly survive a short term injury to one of their big men as we have seen Andersen, Martin and Melo miss time recently. Making a trade for another big man might give the Nuggets management one less thing to worry about when they go to sleep at night, but I do not think it is a necessity.
Linas Kleiza for David Lee?
I also saw a report that the Nuggets were on the verge of acquiring David Lee from the Knicks for Kleiza, but George Karl convinced the front office that Kleiza was too valuable to trade away. Kleiza is an important player for the Nuggets and over the past couple of weeks his three point shooting has come around and he has hit some big shots. As we saw yesterday Lee is an absolute beast. He is a great rebounder and scores all of his points in the paint. You never have to worry about him settling for jumpers because he never does settle for jumpers. Denver also needs to consider the possibility of Kleiza wanting to leave Denver after this season although he will be a restricted free agent.
Even though I personally would pull the trigger on that deal I can appreciate where Karl is coming from. The Nuggets do not have a player like Kleiza on the roster and having his perimeter offense on the bench is reassuring. Also, Lee somewhat duplicates Kenyon Martin. While Kenyon is not the rebounder that Lee is and he plays more on the perimeter offensively than Lee they are roughly the same size (or maybe even exactly the same size as both are listed at 6’9” and 240 pounds) and I can understand why Karl would balk at giving up a unique player for one that he sees as somewhat of a duplicate.