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Rumor: The Denver Nuggets are quietly looking in to trades for Emmanuel Mudiay

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ESPN’s Zach Lowe is reporting that the Denver Nuggets are quietly shopping their young point guard

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

Update (2/3/17 11:32 AM): According to Chris Dempsey with the Denver Post, both coach Michael Malone and GM Tim Connelly have reached told Emmanuel Mudiay he is NOT being shopped.

According to ESPN’s Zach Lowe, the Denver Nuggets are “quietly exploring what they might get for Emmanuel Mudiay and multiple picks.” Mudiay is Denver’s starting point guard and was briefly marketed as the face of the future of the franchise but has had an underwhelming first season and a half and has been slow to improve in several key areas.

The rumor should be taken as just that: a rumor. It was one sentence in a long article that was actually about Phoenix Suns guard Eric Bledsoe and the rumor is accredited to “sources.” Still, with Mudiay’s poor play and Jamal Murray’s emerging aptitude as a ball-handler and playmaker, it makes some sense that Denver would be interested in moving on from Mudiay.

Moving on from Mudiay would be tough for the Nuggets on several levels. On one hand, they handed Mudiay the keys to this team the moment he was drafted, trading Ty Lawson and clearing the way for Mudiay to learn on the fly. They also marketed Mudiay as the future of the team in their “New Day” marketing video. Trading him away might be a tough sell in the short term for casual fans who could see this as a failure of the rebuilding process.

Nonetheless, the Nuggets have a lot of young talent on the roster, especially in the back court, and moving on from Mudiay could open up opportuntiies for players who are more likely to reach their potential. It could be a very interesting trade deadline for this team and Mudiay’s inclusion in a rumor from a well-respected NBA writer could signal that there might be more action at the deadline than previously thought.

For the 2016-17 season, Mudiay has been averaging 12.1 points, 3.5 rebounds, and 4.2 assists to go along with 2.6 turnovers. He’s also shooting just 37.4 from the field, the 13th lowest mark of all players to play at least 20 minutes per game.