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Rumor: Cleveland Cavaliers considering trade for Jameer Nelson

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How much of an upgrade is Jameer Nelson over Mo Williams really?

NBA: Los Angeles Clippers at Denver Nuggets Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

According to Mitch Lawrence of Sirius XM Radio and Forbes.com, the Cleveland Cavaliers are searching for a point guard, and they may have their eyes on one of the Denver Nuggets guards in Jameer Nelson.

Considering the source, Lawrence is a self proclaimed New York and LeBron James guy, it’s reasonable to assume this rumor is coming from the Cleveland side, not Denver. It’s also fairly intuitive. Outside of Kyrie Irving, the only other true point guard on the team is undersized rookie Kay Felder, and while he may be a hero to guys like myself who are 5’8” at best, he’s not a guy you want to be giving major minutes in the playoffs when a championship is the only acceptable outcome. The point guards Lawrence mentions other than Nelson, Rajon Rondo and Deron Williams, are similar in that they are veterans with a bevy of playoff experience. None of the three seem to be all too pleased about their situation so it’s likely all would welcome a trade to a championship contender.

For the Nuggets losing Nelson would be somewhat counterproductive to their goal of making the playoffs this season. Just like with Cleveland, one has to wonder how successful the team will be down the stretch relying on a rookie point guard to play major minutes. However, there’s two key differences. First, the Nuggets are trying to just make the playoffs, they don’t have any delusions of being a championship contender (note: this is not to say that the Cavs aspirations are delusional) and Jamal Murray is a much better player right now than Kay Felder. The loss of Nelson would be easy enough to absorb from a standpoint of roster build. Murray would slide into the backup PG role and Denver would just keep right on rolling with Wilson Chandler and Will Barton manning the wings off the bench.

The other wrinkle in this would be if there is a disagreement between the Denver front office and coaching staff on who should be getting the bulk of the minutes as the backup point guard. Let me emphasize this is purely speculation on my part, but if Tim Connelly were to be on the development Murray train while coach Michael Malone is on the win now Nelson train Connelly could force the coaches hand by taking away his option to play Nelson. I’m not sure that’s the case though. The Nuggets organization on the whole values Nelson as a veteran in the locker room (his qualms with being a guidance counselor not withstanding) and despite some poor late game decisions that are seared in Nuggets fans’ memories right now, for the most part Nelson has been an effective back up point guard. One thing’s for sure, we know what the fans want, and they want Murray.

If nothing else, the Nuggets rumors are at least trending up. After the team pulled their first deal of the season, trading the fabled Cenk Akyol for Mo Williams, then waiving Williams, then re-signing him and waiving him again, it appears as though now there could be a chance they’ll trade someone who actually plays for them. Undoubtedly as we get closer to the trade deadline on February 23rd there will be all sorts of Nuggets players’ names being thrown around, and more than likely at least one of them will be wearing a different jersey by the 24th. Keep it locked on Denver Stiffs for all the latest rumors and news as they unfold.