Why didn't the Nuggets complete a sign-and-trade for Andre Iguodala?

Brandon Rush would have looked good in Nuggets uniform. - Jennifer Stewart-US PRESSWIRE

The Nuggets lost out on Andre Iguodala, but why didn't they get something in return?

The Milwaukee Bucks certainly didn't cash-in when they completed a sign-and-trade for free agent J.J. Redick, but they did get a little something in return for their departing asset. From Sam Amick of USA Today:

...the Clippers, Phoenix Suns and Milwaukee Bucks agreed on a deal that will net the Clippers small forward Jared Dudley from the Suns and free agent shooting guard J.J. Redick. Clippers point guard Eric Bledsoe and small forward Caron Butler go to the Suns in the trade, with the Bucks receiving two second-round picks for their cooperation in a sign-and-trade with Redick in which he will be paid a combined $27 million over four years.

Yes, the Bucks only received two-second round picks, but the Golden State Warriors were forced to cough up a lot more assets in order to get the Utah Jazz to eat the approximate $25 million in player salaries sent their way. From Sam Amick, of USA Today:

In order to clear the necessary cap space for the move, the Warriors agreed on a trade that will send Richard Jefferson, Andris Biedrins and Brandon Rush to the Jazz. Golden State gets guard Kevin Murphy while giving the Jazz first-round picks in 2014 and 2017 as well as two second-round picks.

The "prizes" above:

1.) Brandon Rush: a 6'6" guard that shoots better than 41-percent for his career from three-point land. He's also 27 years-old and coming off ACL surgery that kept him out of all but two games last season. Rush easily could have stepped in and competed for Denver's vacancy at the starting shooting guard spot or been a nice bench player. Rush is in the last season of his contract and will make $4 million this year.

2.) 2014 first-round pick: will likely be a late-round pick as the Warriors won 47-games in 2012-13 and look to improve on that mark. But what if something goes wrong in Golden State? If nothing else, this pick could have been paired with another pick or player(s) to make a move for a pick or player(s).

3.) 2017 first-round pick: who knows what this could turn into. Maybe something or maybe nothing. There is no guarantee the Warriors will still be a rising team out West as windows open-and-close quickly. Again, this is an asset that has value.

4.) Two second round picks: not a ton of value in these, but again they are assets.

The "costs of doing business":

1.) Andris Biedrins: $11 million expiring salary and a guy who could not break into Mark Jackson's rotation.

2.) Richard Jefferson: $9 million expiring salary and a guy in the twilight of his career.

According to Larry Coon's NBA Salary Cap FAQ, free agent signings and trades do not become official until: July 8-11 (dates vary by year). This season it's July 10th. Could the Nuggets still try to inquire about getting an asset or two that Utah received? Doesn't sound like it as The Salt Lake Tribune broke down the trade.

So, the Nuggets traded Arron Afflalo, Al Harrington, and a 2014 first-round pick (the worse between the Nuggets' and Knicks' picks) to the Orlando Magic to acquire Iguodala. The Nuggets failed to obtain a single asset in Iguodala's departure.

Denver likely would have needed to eat either Jefferson's or Biedrins' contracts in order to snag one of the first-round picks the Warriors shipped out, but why not snag Rush in the deal? The Nuggets easily could have traded Andre Miller's contract of $5 million to the Jazz (who need a point guard to mentor Trey Burke and Miller played college ball at Utah) and taken back Rush.

Next, the Nuggets could have turned to the point guard free agent pool to find a backup for Ty Lawson. Denver has been rumored to be interested in Jarrett Jack, but there is another option out there that makes a lot of sense too. Chauncey Billups.

After trading away Billups to the New York Knicks (remember he was also traded by the Nuggets earlier in his career), Denver would need to mend some serious fences. Billups recently told Neil Devlin, of the Denver Post:

Now healed after an Achilles tendon tear, Billups yearns to play two more seasons. And on the eve of NBA free agency, Billups said he has been pleased with the interest, perhaps hooking on with a team "that can win it."

If not, he will pursue other options - ideally, something in the front office, although he hasn't ruled out coaching...

And Billups went even further with Eric Goodman on Mile High Sports radio:

Why not sign Billups and let him play out his last couple seasons with the Nuggets and then move him into a job in the front office? He likes the coaching hire, he wants to work for the team and he could do a lot of good changing the perception in Denver to players around the league.

But nothing will change the perception of Denver like winning. The team needs to win, but without Iguodala that path will get a little longer and has become a little unclear. Not getting any assets in return for Iguodala makes that path a little more difficult.

Update:

The Nuggets could definitely still do a sign-and-trade with the Warriors. It would seriously help the Warriors out, but it could also give the Nuggets some assets and flexibility of their own. You ABSOLUTELY have to read this post: click here for it.

From the Nuggets' perspective, accommodating a sign-and-trade with a conference rival that significantly helps that team become more flexible isn't necessarily good business. But if the Warriors were willing to include an asset or two (perhaps future draft considerations, cash, and/or the rights to Nedovic), Denver could add a couple pieces and create a trade exception of their own, worth Iguodala's new salary. That's better than getting nothing for a player the Warriors could sign outright anyway.

Nate_Timmons on Twitter
ntimmons73@yahoo.com

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