Ziller: NBA Trade Deadline Previews - Nuggets

Tom Ziller, of SB Nation.com, takes a look at what various NBA teams will look to do at the trade deadline. Ziller had an interesting take on the Denver Nuggets that might leave a lot of fans wanting more; after-all we've seen plenty of cries to trade just about every member of the team at certain points this year. And which player would bring back the most value for the Nuggets?

Here is what Ziller had to say about your Nuggets:

Read the whole article here, great stuff.

NBA Trade Deadline 2012: Nuggets' Clip May Already Be Spent

The Denver Nuggets had a huge offseason, locking up Nene and Arron Afflalo. Before the early extension deadline, Denver made a commitment to Danilo Gallinari. As such, the Nuggets' core is pretty well tied up with the exception of Ty Lawson, who should be receiving an extension of his own this summer or fall.

Those offseason moves may prevent the Nuggets from doing much of anything at the deadline.

NEEDS & TARGETS

The Nuggets have a strong point guard in Lawson, a two-guard in Afflalo and a small forward in Gallinari, plus a big man who can play effectively at either position in Nene. That would seem to put the priority on a second solid big man, perhaps one with a mid-range jumper, as Nene is used primarily at the rim. There are a number of options out there; either Carl Landry or Chris Kaman from the New Orleans Hornets would appear to make sense, though matching salaries on either would be highly difficult. If Denver does look for a power forward or center, a cheaper, younger target like Jason Thompson or even Ersan Ilyasova could make more sense.

Long-term, a viable back-up for Lawson -- current sub Andre Miller will be a free agent in July, and would be expected to seek a starting job somewhere -- and a bench shooter could also be needs.

Miller is the most tradable asset that Denver could conceivably be willing to deal; he soon turns 36 and is on the books for $7.8 million this season. If the Nuggets do make a play for a player like Landry or Kaman, Miller could be dealt to a third team for a trade exception. For instance -- and this is not a rumor, just an example -- the Nuggets could send Miller to the L.A. Lakers for their Lamar Odom trade exception, then use that for a Landry deal.

SALARY CAP SITUATION

The Nuggets sit at $59 million, just above the salary cap, per ShamSports.com. A small or slightly imbalanced trade could help the Nuggets gain an asset by helping another team slip under the luxury tax.

Well, Ziller doesn't leave much room for a blockbuster type deal, but is a blockbuster even in Denver's reality?

We know Chris Andersen has been on the trade block for a little while now; even though he has provided some nice minutes in spurts this season. But who else could the Nuggets be looking to deal? As Ziller points out, it might not be out of the realm of possibilities that Andre Miller could be involved in a deal because, even though he's loved by George Karl, of his expiring contract status and advancing NBA age.

Andersen, and his remaining two-years, $9.3 million salary, doesn't really leave trade enthusiasts salivating at what he could bring back in a deal. Rather, a move of the Birdman would help the Nuggets clear some salary cap space for the Ty Lawson extension and help dislodge the logjam that is the Nuggets front-court. Injuries to Timofey Mozgov, Nene Hilario, and Kosta Koufos make dealing the Bird a somewhat risky move, but he's an expensive luxury the Nuggets probably don't want to afford.

Miller is a little different story, as his $7.8 million expiring deal has some value as does the fact that the soon-to-be 36 year-old point guard is still a capable starter in the League. But again, the Miller and Andersen deals don't mean the Nuggets would be getting back big-time talent.

Ziller doesn't leave room for a big-time move and I think we all know who would bring in the most value. A trade of Nene would surely be the biggest move the Nuggets could make. Danilo Gallinari isn't going anywhere, but after that I'm not sure the Nuggets wouldn't listen to offers on any other name on the roster. Ty Lawson has been special for stretches this season, but I think if the right deal came along, the Nuggets front office would, at least, listen to overtures for the talented and speedy point guard. Who knows what sorts of calls the Nuggets are taking or making ... sure would be fun to be a fly on the wall in Masai Ujiri's office.

The risky thing, what types of players could come to Denver for a guy like Nene? Or a packaged deal that is centered around Nene?

These are not the targets that I see for the Nuggets, but here is a list of names out there in the rumor mill that could be available if the right trades came along and if some trades (Dwight Howard) do or don't get made:

  • Pau Gasol - rumors have been swirling all season. A deal to the Rockets could be back on the table.
  • Carl Landry - has a $9 million expiring contract this season and likely will look to move-on from New Orleans in the off-season.
  • Anderson Varejao - He has, at least, two years left on his deal and can average a double-double on a nightly-basis. A hustler and relentless defender, not a huge offensive threat.
  • Chris Kaman - A $14 million expiring contract and a big man with injury concerns. If he could be had for the right price, he'd be a nice piece for a lot of teams. But give up too much and Regret City could be where you reside.
  • Jason Thompson - A $3 million expiring contract and you get his Bird Rights with a qualifying offer of $4.1 million coming in the off-season. Thompson can rebound and shoot a little bit, but is suspect on the defensive end and hopefully he hasn't been corrupted by all the bad habits in Sacramento.
  • Ersan Ilyasova - A $2.5 million expiring contract and a player that can stretch the floor, like Al Harrington, and rebound a little bit too. He's not the greatest defender around and doesn't move too well, so he has his pros and cons.
  • Dwight Howard - keep dreaming.
  • Kevin Garnett - Not much left in his tank, might be a good move for a team right on the brink - like the Spurs, but a dangerous one for a team like the Nuggets.
  • Ray Allen - why do this when Arron Afflalo is rounding into shape?
  • Monta Ellis - high asking price for a shoot-first guy the Nuggets wouldn't want any part of.
  • Lamar Odom - Essentially a $8.9 million expiring contract as his deal for the 2012-13 season is a team option one. Odom is having a down year and could be a major gamble with his attitude issues.
  • Brook Lopez - great big player that is now experiencing foot issues, yikes.
  • Joe Johnson - makes lots of dough.
  • Josh Smith - he has looked impressive this season ever since coming into training camp and has just one year left on his deal ($13.2M for the 2012-13). Could be fools gold as he will be expecting another big contract soon. Buyer beware.
  • Deron Williams - the most interesting piece to me with this coming deadline. It seems that everything hinges on Howard down in Orlando. And if the Magic make a move to acquire Monta Ellis or someone else to pair with Howard, then what will the Nets do with Williams? If Orlando deals Howard to, say, the Lakers - do the Nets have a backup plan to deal Williams? The Nets were in love with Nene once upon a time and he is now inked to a long-term deal. The Brazilian isn't a superstar that Brooklyn needs, but losing Williams for nothing could be a very costly move for the Nets, as well.

A deal involving a package centered around Nene could certainly bring back some talent, but would a move like that be too disruptive to what the Nuggets are trying to accomplish? It's rare that you see a team trade big to go small, but you never know what kinds of deals are coming across the airwaves in Ujiri's office.

The Nigerian Nightmare, Ujiri, is surely working on something we probably haven't even thought of ...

Nate_Timmons on Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/Nate_Timmons
ntimmons73@yahoo.com

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