According to Tim Bontemps of the Washington Post, the Denver Nuggets and Los Angeles Lakers are discussing a deal that would involve the Nuggets sending out one of their expiring contracts and a future draft pick to the Lakers to create cap space. The Lakers would then likely use that pick to bolster their offer to the San Antonio Spurs for Kawhi Leonard.

Bontemps doesn’t go into any detail as to which player the Nuggets would be trying to send to L.A. beyond listing the Nuggets three large expiring deals: Kenneth Faried, Darrell Arthur and Wilson Chandler. The logical choice for the Nuggets would appear to be Faried who is more expensive than Arthur and was not a large part of the Nuggets rotation last season like Chandler. Speculatively, the Lakers might prefer Faried as well who could fill the shoes of Julius Randle. Randle is a free agent himself and if the Lakers are successful in building their super team, it seems unlikely that they will be able to afford to retain Randle’s services.

From the Nuggets side, dumping salary is the name of the game right now, but it’s sort of like doing a slimy business deal that makes you feel queasy when it’s all said and done. Does Denver really want to help another Western Conference team leapfrog them? Do they really want, of all teams, for that team to be the Lakers? Perhaps the front office realizes that there’s no way to stop what LA is trying to do so they might as well try to accomplish there goals as well. In the Masai Ujiri days the Nuggets were more than happy to facilitate helping the Lakers last efforts to create a super team (lolz) when they helped the Orlando Magic work a deal that sent Dwight Howard to LA. However in the end of the day the Nuggets actually wound up with the best player in that deal by getting Andre Iguodala in return, in this case they likely get nothing or perhaps our favorite player: cash considerations.

It’s not the worst thing, the Nuggets have two rosters spots currently available to them but have been adamant about wanting to re-sign Will Barton and also one has to believe they’d like to retain Torrey Craig if possible as well. That of course still leaves no one to fill the role of backup point guard (Devin Harris is also a free agent) so at minimum it appears the Nuggets need to at least open up one more roster spot to achieve their goals

The bottom line though is still the bottom line. The Nuggets are reportedly going to give Nikola Jokic a max deal when free agency opens, that’ll cost them just north of $25 million towards the cap next season. Add in Paul Millsap, Gary Harris and Mason Plumlee and that’s a total of $85 million wrapped up in four players who in all likelihood are going to be on the roster for next season and beyond (the Nuggets can get out of Millsap’s $30 million after the season if they choose to). The three next most expensive contracts on their books though are Faried, Chandler and Arthur respectively. With none of those players in their long term plans and with Chandler’s heir apparent now on board in Michael Porter Jr the Nuggets will likely be aggressive to get off those contracts, even if it means dealing with a team as vile as the Lakers.

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