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Five potential Nuggets trades for the 2016-17 season

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The Nuggets are in a great position to wait, but here are five ideas to consider over the next few months.

NBA: Preseason-Golden State Warriors at Denver Nuggets Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

The 2016-17 season is right around the corner and the Denver Nuggets are going into the next 82 games with a deeeeeeeeep roster. There are multiple logjams though, and each will cause a deserving player to lose minutes. However, sometimes having a deep roster actually works against a team when there aren’t enough minutes to go around. There are 2nd string guys that deserve starters minutes, 3rd string guys that deserve back-up minutes, and young guys that need to be on the court in order to gain experience.

Here’s the current depth chart the Nuggets have been employing in the preseason:

Nuggets General Manager, Tim Connelly, has made eight total trades during his three year tenure as the Nuggets GM. Five of the eight trades have been made at the NBA trade deadline during the All-Star break, and while none of them have been earth-shattering moves, they have been indicative of the direction the team was taking at that point in time. With the team firmly in the early stages of a promising rebuild, any potential Nuggets trade is likely going to be made as a consolidation of assets for a star or to help accelerate the rebuild building process.

With that in mind, here are five trade ideas the Nuggets might explore between now and the 2016-17 trade deadline:

Trade #1: Nelson to Atlanta, Splitter to Denver.

(The Hawks send a second round pick the the Knicks, who sell O’Quinn to make room for Kristaps Porzingis and Willy Hernangomez at center behind Joakim Noah.)

Pros:

  • The Nuggets’ frontcourt gets even bigger while maintaining the passing with Splitter in the lineup. Kenneth Faried is currently playing minutes as the backup center, but he provides little rim protection/deterrence. Splitter would provide a larger option who could operate as a passer like Nikola Jokic and Jusuf Nurkic.
  • Jamal Murray becomes the de facto option at backup point guard and is will get much needed minutes to grow and gain experience.
  • Nelson’s cap hit of $4.7 million comes off the books for next season and Splitter is an expiring contract. Extra money to use in 2017 free agency.

Cons:

  • With Nelson gone, the Nuggets won’t have a veteran point guard available to stem the tide.
  • The frontcourt becomes a bit more crowded with the addition of Splitter.
  • Splitter has a hamstring injury that will keep him out for the first few weeks and is an injury prone player overall, playing in over 60 games just once in six seasons.

Verdict:

A possibility, but flawed.

Trade #2: Nelson reunites with Stan Van Gundy.

(I cannot take credit for this deal. Our own Daniel Lewis and commenter NurktheSmirk have provided this idea several times, and for good reason.)

Pros:

  • Jamal Murray gets more minutes immediately.
  • Reggie Bullock is a 34% 3 point shooter over the course of his career.
  • $4.7 million comes off the books before 2017 free agency.
  • Nuggets do right by Jameer Nelson and reunite him with Stan Van Gundy in Detroit. The Pistons have a need at point guard right now with Reggie Jackson out for an extended period of time, and Nelson could actually contribute.

Cons:

  • With Nelson gone, there’s no veteran point guard available to stem the tide.
  • Nuggets must choose who to keep between Bullock and Lorenzo Brown.
  • Depth at either point guard or small forward will be shaky if injuries occur.

Verdict:

A solid proposal.

Trade #3: Beverley and Noel to Denver.

Pros:

  • Bench perimeter defense and bench interior defense improve immensely with the only defensive question mark being Jamal Murray.
  • Jamal Murray gets more minutes at shooting guard.
  • Beverley’s contract is great. He’s owed $6 million this season, $5.5 million in 2017-18, and just $5 million in 2018-19. That’s a bargain for a backup point guard who plays aggressive defense and shoots 37% from 3-point range for his career.

Cons:

  • Bench scoring diminishes with no Will Barton or Kenneth Faried.
  • Nerlens Noel will hit restricted free agency next offseason and he will likely cost upwards of $15 million per year.

Verdict:

I really like this deal. (editors note: Is Daryl Morey drunk when this offer is proposed or nah?”)

Trade #4: The Nuggets go all In.

Pros:

  • The Nuggets get their star player in Blake Griffin, who will help them compete for the playoffs immediately.
  • Allows Nikola Jokic to move back to center, a position where he has more advantages than at power forward.
  • Adds another elite playmaker into the starting lineup.
  • Jamal Murray gets minutes immediately.
  • The addition of Blake Griffin and a playoff appearance could help in recruiting free agents in 2017.

Cons:

  • Griffin is an unrestricted free agent after the 2016-17 season and could depart in free agency.
  • There are lots of true power forwards and few true small forwards or centers on the roster.
  • The Nuggets lose Jusuf Nurkic and possibly a first round pick in addition to Danilo Gallinari, assets that may improve in value down the line and bite the Nuggets in the rear.

Verdict:

Dangerous, but in all likelihood a fair deal if Denver desires immediate success.

Trade #5: Holy $#!?

New York determines that it wants to build around Kristaps Porzingis at center, where he should be and they make a trade to pair him with two forwards who complement his skill set very well and a first round pick from Denver. Detroit decides it needs to add more backcourt talent, so they turn Marcus Morris into Will Barton.

Pros:

  • The Nuggets reunite with Carmelo Anthony and gain back their star power.
  • The deal to acquire Melo doesn’t give up any of the “young core” the team has assembled.
  • Adds scoring punch and spacing to the starting lineup.
  • Jamal Murray gets minutes immediately.
  • The presence of Melo and a possible playoff appearance would help in recruiting players in 2017 free agency.

Cons:

  • Melo is under contract for $24.5 million this season, $26.2 million in 2017-18, and possesses an early termination option for the 2018-19 season. He’s also 32 years old already.
  • Guard depth becomes precariously thin.
  • Pushes Jusuf Nurkic to the bench, a place where he may be unhappy.
  • The forward trio of Melo, Gallo, and Ill Will are all injury prone going forward.

Verdict:

My god! It’s Nuggets of old meets Nuggets of new!