It’s the craziest week of the year in the NBA. The February 23rd NBA trade deadline is approaching like a freight train, packed with rumors, conflicting reports, and utter chaos, quickly charging toward every NBA city in America (and Canada). In some cases, rumors turn into actual deals within hours, as was the case with the DeMarcus Cousins trade that seemed to unfold right before our eyes. Most deals, however, come out of nowhere in the form of the infamous “Woj Bomb,” when the most plugged in reporter in the NBA, Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski, drops a HUGE story out of the blue on twitter.

So it is with a healthy grain of salt that Nuggets fans can turn their attention to the latest rumor in ESPN’s Zach Lowe’s latest trade buzz column. In it, Lowe seems to suggest that the Clippers have had interest in Wilson Chandler but don’t have the assets available to trade that Denver is seeking. This paragraph in particular is of interest:

(The Nuggets, for their part, are seeking a lottery-protected first-round pick and swap rights on another pick for Danilo Gallinari and Wilson Chandler, sources say. They want that No. 8 spot in the West, but they think they can get it even if they surrender one of those guys.)

First of all, let’s take this rumor at face value. It makes a bit of sense that Denver would be willing to part with either Chandler or Gallo for a future asset like a draft pick. Both guys have been among Denver’s most valuable players all year but, when fully healthy, the Nuggets roster has too much depth. Will Barton could slide into the backup small forward slot, opening up minutes for Jamal Murray at shooting guard. Likewise, Juancho Hernangomez has shown that he is capable of playing spot minutes as a backup power forward or small forward. Denver may be able to get away with trading one of either Wilson or Gallo and still stay afloat in the western conference playoff race.

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If Denver isn’t adding a superstar player, it doesn’t really make sense that they’d go after a role player. They have every type of role player a team could need on the roster already. So the idea of moving one of those guys for a future asset (or two) makes sense, especially when you consider that the team might not be interested in re-signing Gallo this summer for the monstrous payday he will likely command.

The Nuggets might also be thinking much longer term with regards to this rebuild. If Nikola Jokic is the cornerstone piece of a contender, and they really believe in Jamal Murray, Gary Harris, Hernangomez, and Mason Plumlee, they’ll need a pipeline of rookie-scale talent in a few years down the road when all of those guys are set for a payday, beginning with Plumlee this summer. It’s possible Denver believes in their current core and are willing to just build around that while adding a steady stream of middle first-round draft picks every year.

However, the most important thing to remember about this rumor – and all rumors – is that it probably isn’t 100% accurate. This isn’t a knock on Zach Lowe, the greatest sports journalist alive. Rather, it means that rumors come from all different sources and with all kinds of hidden motivations.

This rumor was almost certainly relayed to Lowe directly from a reputable source, but that source could be a rival team looking to drive down the price for one of those guys. It could also come from a player agent, hoping to get the ball rolling on teams calling about these guys. It’s possible that the rumor was submitted by Denver in the hopes of improving a deal that is already on the table.

The fact that this rumor states that Denver is seeking a protected first round pick is especially strange. Why would Denver be the one to make that qualifier? Wouldn’t Denver seek a first round pick and then negotiate protections?

It’s difficult to know exactly what to make of this latest rumor but the recent string of rumors surrounding Denver’s two small forwards makes it seem like there isn’t just smoke here, but also a bit of fire. It also makes sense that both guys are getting interest form around the league and that Denver is open to moving one of them.

Lastly, also in that same column was the following blurb about Washington Wizards small forward, Otto Porter:

…the Wiz threw their phones on the floor when the Clippers inquired about Otto Porter, per league sources.

Porter is a restricted free agent this summer and likely going to get offered star money and Washington is likely going to match. He has the highest three-point field goal percentage in the NBA this season, is a phenomenal off-ball player, and a very good perimeter defender. He would be absolutely perfect next to Nikola Jokic, sort of a super, small forward version of Gary Harris. It sounds from that sentence like Washington either isn’t interested in moving Porter, or they aren’t interested based on anything the Clippers have to offer.