The days before the NBA draft are rife with rumor and innuendo, but even with that said this year is particularly fertile. Nearly every lottery spot is in play in some form or fashion, and in one of the latest rumors Jonathan Givony of Draft Express (and ESPN) offered up the Denver Nuggets as one of seven suitors for the fourth overall pick currently held by the Memphis Grizzlies:

Denver would have to leapfrog the offers of several teams ahead of them according to the piece, including the Orlando Magic, the New York Knicks, the Chicago Bulls and others. Denver being willing to throw their hat into that ring would mean the exact player they want would have to be there, considering both the cost of moving up and the heavy salary cap burden that oft-injured Chandler Parsons would also bring ($49.2 million over the next two seasons).

For both salary cap and player impact reasons, the Nuggets would likely have to part with Gary Harris to get up to the #4. Memphis needs bigger contracts to match Parsons and they are looking for immediate return as well. The other option is to trade Jamal Murray along with expiring contracts like Kenneth Faried and Darrell Arthur to make up the salary difference. That would let Memphis re-enter the free agent market before Jamal Murray’s extension date, and give them the chance to build more around him.

Regardless, losing either man is a tough pill to swallow for a team that has been touting them as part of the young core, so the player at #4 would need to have superstar potential. Whether that would be a falling Luka Doncic or some other player obviously isn’t known, but to outbid teams with higher lottery draft picks to offer Denver would likely be forced into trading one of its young guards. It’s hard to see a scenario where they move up without that outcome.

Despite that, it might be worth it. This is a crucial summer for structuring this Nuggets team for the long haul, and if Denver believes their young guards overlap too much in position and skill set then grabbing yet another key building block at a different position might be the successful way forward.

Hold on tight, Nuggets fans – it’s going to be a strange 24 hours.

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