According to Mike Singer of The Denver Post, the Denver Nuggets were listed among the teams as engaged with the Sacramento Kings on a potential deal for forward Harrison Barnes along with the Orlando Magic regarding forward Aaron Gordon. Teams have been circling these two players as the trade deadline is approaching, and Denver has been involved in the Gordon market for a couple of weeks.
“The Nuggets are interested in the veteran forward, a league source told The Denver Post, but the price for the 28-year-old is unclear. Barnes has two more years left on his contract following this season.”
Both players would represent a defensive upgrade for Denver on the wing who currently have mostly offensive-minded players in the rotation. Singer reported that, while Denver has discussed the idea of a Barnes trade, the Magic appear keener to move Gordon than the Kings are to move Barnes.
There are benefits and detriments to adding each player. With Gordon, his game has been largely predicated on athleticism to this point in his career. Similar to Blake Griffin, now of the Brooklyn Nets, he’ll need to develop his skill-level and outside shooting to make up for when his athleticism inevitably goes away. He also only has one season left on his deal after this one. Gordon is shooting 40 percent on three-pointers this season, and he would be able to play off of Jokic as a cutter and shooter while having the size to body up some of the bigger wings in the conference. Gordon is also only 26 in September which keeps him in the core age for the rest of the Nuggets’ future pieces.
Barnes has two years left on his deal and, while it feels he has been in the league for a long team, he’ll be just 29 in May. Barnes has gotten better offensively throughout his career, but his defense has suffered. Barnes, like Gordon, has the size to match up with bigger wings. He also would likely be cheaper to acquire with the additional three years on his body. Barnes isn’t the shooter at 36.9 percent from distance that Gordon has been so far this year, though he has a longer track record of quality outside shooting.
Whoever they choose to target, Denver is taking their contention window seriously. They know what their primary weakness is, and they have the prospects to try and stifle that weakness heading into the playoff run. If Denver gets either one of these players, they would be set up in a good position heading into the next season and a half.