NBA Trade season: Nuggets trade activity hard to predict

Ron Chenoy-US PRESSWIRE

We're getting pretty trade talk heavy around here, but nobody is actually sure the Nuggets will even be players in the trade market this season. But it is always fun to speculate about what the team needs and perhaps what types of trade targets are available.

As a group, the SB Nation basketball blogs will be talking about the trade season tipoff and answering the questions below in various fashions. Be sure to check out some other sites to see if perhaps another team's wishlists include any Denver Nuggets -- I'll try to link to any that do! Let's get started ...

Is your team a buyer, seller or both on this NBA trade season?

I certainly don't expect the Nuggets to be in fire-sale mode this season. And if the Nuggets do decide to dip their toes into the trade waters again, I think it would be to upgrade the roster. We have been talking here on Stiffs for what seems like weeks now about possible deals and possible trade assets the Nuggets possess.

Perhaps the one forgotten trade asset for the Nuggets is their $13 million trade exception that they acquired in the multi-player deal that involved Nene and JaVale McGee. Denver has a calendar year to use the exception before it expires and the Nuggets can elect to use the entire thing or just part of it (say J.J. Redick and his $6.1 million salary). Basically it's like having a gift card where you can acquire something for nothing ... essentially.

(Take a look at this incredible breakdown on the Nene trade exception from a while back.)

If buyer, what are the needs?

If the Nuggets were looking to make a little splash in the trade pool, they could easily look to add a shooter to help out their 23rd NBA ranking from beyond the arc (33.8%). But the Nuggets also might feel that the slow outside starts from Ty Lawson, Danilo Gallinari, Andre Iguodala, and Jordan Hamilton (Ham due to lack of minutes) may turn around; so a shooter might not be a big concern.

Another area the Nuggets might be looking for is a more polished big man. This would likely require a bigger splash in the trade pool with more moving parts. Denver has done a good job rebounding the ball this season, as they rank 5th in the NBA with 44.92 boards per game. But the Nuggets don't currently have a power forward that is capable of stretching the floor, unless you count the crunch-time move of sliding Gallo to the four and Kenneth Faried to the center spot.

A few bigger names might be available at the power position, but the big question still remains. What would Denver have to give up and would that trade be a clear upgrade for the team?

....what specific players should your team target?

J.J. Redick, Orlando Magic, $6.1 million expiring contract.


FG 3PT FT Rebounds Misc
G M M A Pct M A Pct M A Pct Off Def Tot Ast TO Stl Blk PF PPG
2012 - J.J. Redick 23 31.0 5.0 11.2 44.4 1.7 5.0 35.1 2.4 2.7 91.8 0.1 2.2 2.3 5.0 2.2 0.6 0.0 1.6 14.1


O.J. Mayo, Dallas Mavericks, $4 million this season and a player option for $4.2 million for 2013-14 season.


FG 3PT FT Rebounds Misc
G M M A Pct M A Pct M A Pct Off Def Tot Ast TO Stl Blk PF PPG
2012 - O.J. Mayo 24 35.7 7.2 14.9 48.2 2.8 5.4 51.2 3.3 3.9 85.1 0.7 3.4 4.0 3.5 3.0 0.9 0.2 2.4 20.4


LaMarcus Aldridge, Portland Trail Blazers, three years left on his contract - $14.6M for 2013-14 and $15.7M for 2014-15 (has different incentives where he could make up to $1M additionally each season).


FG 3PT FT Rebounds Misc
G M M A Pct M A Pct M A Pct Off Def Tot Ast TO Stl Blk PF PPG
2012 - LaMarcus Aldridge 21 38.2 8.4 18.0 46.4 0.0 0.3 0.0 4.2 5.3 80.2 2.1 6.0 8.2 2.3 2.2 1.0 1.3 3.2 21.0


Paul Millsap, Utah Jazz, $8.6M expiring contract.


FG 3PT FT Rebounds Misc
G M M A Pct M A Pct M A Pct Off Def Tot Ast TO Stl Blk PF PPG
2012 - Paul Millsap 25 31.3 5.5 11.5 47.9 0.4 1.0 45.8 3.7 5.2 70.8 2.6 5.6 8.2 2.8 1.8 1.1 0.9 3.1 15.2


Josh Smith, Atlanta Hawks, $13.2 million expiring contract.


FG 3PT FT Rebounds Misc
G M M A Pct M A Pct M A Pct Off Def Tot Ast TO Stl Blk PF PPG
2012 - Josh Smith 20 34.4 6.9 15.7 44.1 0.7 1.6 40.6 2.1 3.9 53.8 2.2 5.9 8.1 3.7 3.0 1.4 2.1 2.7 16.6


Anderson Varejao, Cleveland Cavaliers, three years left on his deal; $9 million for 2013-14 and $9.7M for 2014-15 (5% trade kicker in contract).


FG 3PT FT Rebounds Misc
G M M A Pct M A Pct M A Pct Off Def Tot Ast TO Stl Blk PF PPG
2012 - Anderson Varejao 24 35.9 5.5 11.5 48.0 0.0 0.2 0.0 2.7 3.6 75.6 5.6 9.0 14.6 3.4 1.8 1.5 0.5 2.8 13.8


What are your top three trade ideas (and briefly explain justification for each side)?

Alright - so we've seen all sorts of ideas being tossed around. I wanted to give folks a little something to talk about (no Bonnie Raitt), so let's see if we can't explode some heads and cause a bit of an uproar ... or maybe some celebratory remarks?!?

Trade scenario 1: The Young Star Deal

Aldridge_medium

Nuggets receive: LaMarcus Aldridge & Wesley Matthews (three years left on deal - $6.8M in 2013-14 and $7.2M in 2014-15).

Why Denver does it: They get the perfect low-post man to pair with JaVale McGee in Aldridge, 27. He averages nearly 20 points and 9 rebounds on the season, stretches the floor, and can defend at the four or five. The Nuggets essentially swap Matthews for Chandler and pay a touch more per year, but with one less year for the scoring guard.

Why Portland does it: They save some dough by getting Jose Calderon's expiring deal, stay young and productive with Danilo Gallinari, and get the young guy they should have drafted in Kenneth Faried. Gallo's deal isn't crippling for a team on the rise and he'd fit nicely with Damien Lillard and Nicholas Batum.

Why Toronto does it: They shed Calderon's salary and add Chandler to give them some wing scoring and defense. This also allows the Raptors to trade away Andrea Bargnani - perhaps for Pau Gasol?

Trade scenario 2: Making a Title Run

Anderson_medium

Why Denver does it: If the Nuggets believe they are a power forward upgrade away from making a title run, then they make a deal for Varejao without giving up Andre Iguodala or Danilo Gallinari. Adding the 30 year-old Varejao and expiring contract of Luke Walton would be a major move by the Nuggets and cost them a fan favorite in Faried, an unknown in Wilson Chandler, and a promising prospect in Evan Fournier.

Varejao's ability to rebound the ball is actually on par or perhaps an upgrade over Faried. He's a huge body that has played the power spot before when Zydrunas Ilgauskas used to patrol the paint for the Cavs. The defensive upgrade with Anderson is a tremendous one and no longer would the Nuggets have issues in the pick-and-roll defense and one-on-one post defense. He's a very reliable free throw shooter, can stretch the floor a bit, and finish in a number of ways around the rim. He'd also allow George Karl the luxury of closing games with Gallo at the four, Iguodala at the three, Andre Miller at the two, and Lawson running the point.

Why Cleveland does it: They subtract seven-years of age off their squad by dealing the 30-year old Varejao for 23-year old Faried. Kenneth's uptempo pace pairs perfectly with Kyrie Irving, but where to play him? Tristan Thompson has the starting spot with the Cavs now, so this could mean a move to the bench for Faried. Getting a young prospect in Fournier could intrigue the Cavs and if Chandler gets healthy they could have a veteran wing upgrade that they could keep or perhaps swap down the line. Timofey Mozgov gives the Cavs a little center insurance until Tyler Zeller proves he's ready.

Trade scenario 3: The Living in the Past - Have You Lost Your Mind Deal

Amare_medium

I swear that when I was talking to Jeff Morton about this trade on the phone, about a week ago, it had nothing to do with Amendment 64 passing in Colorado. Hear me out and if you still think I'm nuts (which I think I even do) then it is what it is ...

Why Denver does it: Because Masai Ujiri's role with the team has been usurped by some evil villain! No no no ...

We all know that Amar'e Stoudemire's, 30, contract for the next three seasons is uninsured - meaning that even if he misses 41+ games per season that the burden of the deal is squarely on Nuggets ownership. Stoudemire is owed $19.9M this season, $21.6M in 2013-14, and $23.4M in 2014-15.

He returned to practice on Dec. 18th and teams should be able to get a look at how he's playing before they make any sort of attempt to deal for the power forward (if he draws interest at all). If the Nuggets believed that Amar'e still had something left in the tank, they might be able to recapture a little bit of what the Knicks had going before they acquired Carmelo Anthony. He's a great pick-and-roll man on the offensive end, but his defensive woes are well known. Would pairing Stoudemire with McGee be the worst decision the Nuggets could make on the defensive end? It's possible.

But a move out of New York might be the best thing for Amar'e and he can dominate games on the offensive end and he'd open things up for Denver's shooters and can stretch the floor a bit himself.

Iman Shumpert (three years left on his deal: $1.7M in 2013-14 and $2.6M in 2014-15 and coming off ACL surgery) was on Denver's radar during the 2011 draft, but was taken 17th by the Knicks. He's a pretty raw offensive player with incredible athleticism and he's a tough defender. He can play either guard position and would help give the Nuggets some tough perimeter defense and fits the uptempo offense.

Why New York does it: They get rid of Amar'e's contract and upgrade over Ronnie Brewer at small forward to Andre Iguodala. This move would likely make NBA pundits think the Knicks were even better and it'd give them a great player to match-up with against the Heat's LeBron James or Dwyane Wade.

This would be an ideal trade for the Knicks and the biggest risk the Nuggets franchise has ever taken.

Nobody knows if the Nuggets will be active in the trade market this year, but it sure can be fun to speculate on what types of deals can be made with Denver's roster.

Nate_Timmons on Twitter
ntimmons73@yahoo.com

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