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NBA Rumors: Danilo Gallinari freshest name on trade market

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While the Denver Nuggets finally found a green pasture for Jusuf Nurkic, the trade rumors persist, with league sources commenting on the availability of starting forward Danilo Gallinari.

NBA: Toronto Raptors at Denver Nuggets Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

The Nuggets moved on from Jusuf Nurkic Sunday, moving their backup center and a 2017 first round pick to the Portland Trail Blazers in exchange for Mason Plumlee and a 2018 second round pick, but the trade rumors for the team haven’t been extinguished just yet.

ESPN reporter Marc Stein addressed another Nugget that could be on the trade market in his weekend column, shortly after the Nurkic trade was agreed upon. You can read Stein’s column by clicking here, and the section about Gallinari reads as follows:

Now that the Jusuf Nurkic trade we've been anticipating for weeks has materialized at last, league sources say Danilo Gallinari is a prime Nugget to watch between now and the deadline. The Raptors and Clippers are among the teams said to be monitoring Gallinari's availability, amid a growing belief that Denver is prepared to move him, given that the Nuggets anticipate that Gallinari will bypass the final season of his current contract (valued at $16.1 million) and join Millsap on the open market and don't plan to spend big to retain the Italian.

This has been something that some of the Denver Stiffs writers have been writing about since the beginning of the season. With a promising young forward waiting in the wings in Juancho Hernangomez, and a veteran forward under contract for next season in Wilson Chandler, losing Gallinari doesn’t hurt the Nuggets as much as it would have in previous years. Moving Gallinari for future assets is the best business decision the team can make.

The Nuggets did lose a trade asset by packaging the Memphis 2017 first round pick in the Plumlee-Nurkic trade, but they still have roster flexibility to make another move. Here are some packages I think could be on the table for the Nuggets from the Raptors or Clippers.

Los Angeles Clippers

The Clippers are full of aging veterans, superstar players, and a bunch of scrubs. The next first round pick they can trade is their 2021 pick (which won’t convey until after the next presidential election), so don’t expect draft assets to be offered in any package.

The best package I think the Nuggets could get is Austin Rivers, Brice Johnson and Alan Anderson (who would be waived) for Gallinari. Rivers has developed into a contributor for the Clippers, and, despite the stigma that was attached to him early in his career, is a good player. Johnson hasn’t played this season due to injury, but is a young power forward with some rim protecting and rebounding potential.

It’s not a trade I would be super enthused about, but Rivers could be a good guard to play alongside Jokic (and Plumlee now). He’s shot 43.7 percent on catch and shoot 3-point attempts, according to NBA Stats. He’s about league average on handoffs, with a points per possession on those plays of 0.93, putting him in the 59th percentile, according to NBA Stats.

Toronto Raptors

The Raptors have far superior assets to offer in a potential trade for Gallinari. They have the Clippers 2017 pick (which would be ironic if that pick helped the Raptors acquire Gallinari over the Clippers), and all of their future picks as well. They have a young player in Terrence Ross that is on a reasonable contract and is a streaky shooter that can help reserve units get buckets.

The best package the Raptors could offer the Nuggets includes Ross, Cory Joseph, and the better of the Clippers or Raptors 2017 first round pick in exchange for Gallinari and Jameer Nelson. This gives the Nuggets a bouncy wing who does little more than stretch the floor and a veteran guard that is a skilled defender, as well as replaces the 2017 first they lost in the trade for Plumlee.

While Ross is the higher paid player, I think the real value of this trade is acquiring Joseph. He’s a good defender for his position, and his contract is valuable as the salary cap continues to rise. I think it would also be nice for Jamal Murray and Emmanuel Mudiay to have a teammate that can help teach them solid defensive principles. Plus, Joseph is Canadian - I’m sure he and Murray can go to Avs games together and have a real good time.

Also Toronto Raptors

While I prefer the Raptors deal over the Clippers deal, I do think the Nuggets could get a better deal if they sought a third team for a potential Gallinari trade.

If the Nuggets want to take another step forward towards making the playoffs this season, I think they need to go and acquire Eric Bledsoe from the Suns. Zach Lowe of ESPN wrote about how well Bledsoe is playing this season, and I think his addition to the Nuggets would make them a really fun team over the next few years.

The Nuggets wouldn’t acquire any draft picks in this potential trade, with the addition of Bledsoe and Joseph being fair compensation for what they are sending out. They would wind up moving Will Barton and Gallinari to the Raptors, while sending Emmanuel Mudiay to the Suns. Phoenix would send Leandro Barbosa, a veteran guard that somehow hasn’t lost a step after all his years in the league, while Toronto send Ross and Jared Sullinger to Phoenix.

A guard rotation of Bledsoe, Harris, Joseph and Murray would be a great group of guards for the Nuggets.

Final thoughts

While there have been a couple rumors floated about the Nuggets this season, Stein was correct on the Nurkic rumors, and he’s one of the more trusted national reporters out there. Stay tuned to Denver Stiffs for whatever happens next.