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Trade: Nuggets acquire Mo Williams, immediately waive him

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In a (non) move, the Denver Nuggets make a trade that benefits them financially.

NBA: Cleveland Cavaliers at Denver Nuggets Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

The first Denver Nuggets trade of the New Year came to fruition early Wednesday morning, but it wasn’t the large move Nuggets fans expected.

According to Adrian Wojnarowski of the Vertical, the Atlanta Hawks will send the Nuggets Mo Williams and cash in return for the draft rights to Cenk Akyol.

Before anyone gets too excited about the move, the Nuggets aren’t really doing anything with the deal. As WOJ explains, the Nuggets will waive Williams immediately.

Williams’ salary of $2.2 million was guaranteed, so even though the Nuggets waived him immediately, he will still count against the salary cap, bringing the team $2.2 million closer to the salary floor. The player the Nuggets sent out in Akyol was the same player the Nuggets received when trading JaVale McGee to the Philadelphia 76ers. Akyol will likely never see an NBA floor, so the move truly is financial.

The Nuggets are effectively paying themselves here. The Hawks sent them cash to remove Williams from their books, and the Nuggets inched closer to the salary cap floor that they need to reach before the end of the season. Everyone wins in this scenario, including Williams, who’s now free to sign a deal wherever he wants while continuing to receive guaranteed money.

The first Nuggets trade is in the books, and while it wasn’t a major deal the majority of fans expect, it will likely start the wheel in motion for the Nuggets and the rest of the NBA. Stay tuned.