According to Shams Charania of the Athletic, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, and Mike Singer of the Denver Post, the Nuggets are expected to finalize a trade with the Washington Wizards. The Nuggets will be sending out veterans Monte Morris and Will Barton. In return, the Nuggets will be receiving Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Ish Smith. As of now, there is no reported draft compensation for either team.
Monte Morris was beloved in Denver, both in the locker room and by the fans. He was the 51st pick, worked his way through the G-League, and was one of the steadiest backup point guards in the entire NBA. He was one of the guys who would reach out to new players, and was a fantastic teammate.
Will Barton was the longest tenured Nugget. He had been with the organization since 2014 and had many highs and lows with the Nuggets. Barton had seen it all with the Nuggets — the losses, the rise of the core that Denver has now, and the playoff runs that the Nuggets had been on. Unfortunately, Will Barton never really got to play a healthy playoff run and was used as fans as a scapegoat for much of his tenure with the Nuggets.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope is a great fit for the Nuggets. He is a good defender who can stay attached to guards and wings well. With his addition, it becomes clear that the Nuggets are going in on defense. He is a solid defender both on and off ball, and that’s more than could be said about the majority of the Nuggets’ roster last season. Shooting was another need for the Nuggets and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope fits the bill there too, shooting 39% from beyond the 3 point line on 5.3 attempts per game.
Both of Monte Morris and Will Barton were ball handlers and play makers for the Nuggets. The cost for getting Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, and a more defensive minded roster has been made clear. The Nuggets now have to address a lack of ball handlers and playmakers. It should be worth it in the long run, but only time will tell with how much this offseason improves the Nuggets defensively.
It’s clear Calvin Booth has a new philosophy with how to run things. The Nuggets were not a team to trade long tenured guys very often with Tim Connelly. This move sees two of the most familiar faces leave the organization in hopes that KCP will help sure up the Nuggets’ defense. Ish Smith is a fine third string guard. This move puts a lot of pressure onto Bones Hyland to run the bench unit.
Well folks — the offseason is here.