Lakers, Kings showing California love? [UPDATED]

For months, Denver Nuggets fans have pondered over a wide variety of  trade scenarios involving Raymond Felton, and in nearly every one it seems a different NBA team is involved. Up until this point, all of those dreamy trade concoctions were nothing more than fun, time-killing fabrications. But now, for the first time since obtaining Felton from the Knicks, the Nuggets have two teams that have gone public in expressing their interest in our current backup point guard: the Lakers and Kings.

In a recent article titled, Hawks assess trade interest in Smith, Adrian Wojnarowski (aka, “Woj”), of Yahoo! Sports, delved into some of the hottest trade rumors circulating throughout the NBA, and amongst the speculation lay this gem:

The Los Angeles Lakers and Sacramento Kings are two teams with interest in prying Raymond Felton(notes) from the Denver Nuggets, league sources said. The Nuggets believe strongly in Ty Lawson(notes) as their point guard, and Felton, with a $7.5 million expiring contract, is expendable.

Since this point in time, Chad Ford submitted a TrueHoop blog post similar to the one Wojnarowski published, where NBA Draft rumors are the focal point. Apparently, the Kings interest in Raymond Felton was so provocative that it led Ford to title his blog post, “Latest draft buzz: Kings’ No. 7 for Felton?” Naturally, Ford tackled the Felton issue in the very first paragraph, and this what he had to say:

Would the Kings be willing to send the No. 7 pick to the Nuggets for Raymond Felton and the No. 22 pick? The Kings have had interest in Felton, but it’s probably going to take them giving up the No. 7 pick to get him. I wouldn’t be shocked to see the Nuggets grab Jonas Valanciunas or Bismack Biyombo if they could get up to No. 7.

It’s kind of funny. After all this time, I was thinking the most we could get for Felton would be a late first, or early second-round pick — that is, if we wanted to move him for selections in the Draft. Case in point: I’m sure you all recall with lucid distinction (sarcasm meter on high), that only a few weeks ago I had this to say in the comments section my Nuggets Draft Tweets post:

The Heat at No. 1, Kings at 5, Lakers at 12, 16, 26 and 28, and Hawks at 18 are all teams that could potentially be willing to part with their picks for Felton. Just looking at that list, I’d definitely see if we could target either the Heat, because they have the first pick in the second round; or the Lakers, because they have FOUR picks in the second round. Both of those teams are in desperate need of a good point guard and would likely be able to retain Felton after his contract expires (would Felton even think about leaving once he goes to either of those locations?). The intriguing aspect about the Lakers is that we could probably ask for three of those four second round picks and I think they’d consider it since they’re so late in the round, plus, it’s not like the Lakers actually use its draft picks anyways.

But now here we are with the Draft nearly upon us, and Chad Ford — one of the more respectable reporters of the Free World — is stating that, “it’s probably going to take [the Kings] giving up the No. 7 pick to get [Felton].”

Wait! What? I missing something here?

Correct me if I’m wrong (actually dont, because I’m positive on this one), but Raymond Felton does only have one year left on his contract with no options of any kind, right? If that’s the case, then why in the world would the Kings be willing to give up the No. 7 pick in the Draft without the guarantee that Felton would sign an extension to play there after his one-year contract expires? In theory, Felton could simply play one season with the Kings, get his numbers up to the All-Star level they were at in New York, then abruptly leave for greener pastures after receiving a hefty pay-day from a different club along the way. I’m almost positive Chad Ford understands this. I mean, how could he not considering he comes up with these types of scenarios for a living? Whatever, maybe there is something I don’t know. Maybe there’s rumors that next Collective Bargaining Agreement will almost certainly harbor some kind of system that allows a team’s future free agents to return at a drastically increased amount, enticing them, even more than what is currently implemented, to stay with their incumbent franchises? Whatever the situation, the bottom line is that the Kings definitely understand the risk its taking, right? Come on, there’s just no way Kings’ management would knowingly put the franchise in such a potentially disastrous situation, that’s just too amateur. But… what if they really are that desperate? Or what if there really is some kind of overwhelming confidence trickling throughout the franchise that practically assures them they’ll be able to retain Felton after 2012? I just don’t know. But what I do know, is that if the Kings were willing to part with the No.7 pick in exchange for Felton and our No. 22, the Denver Nuggets would have made some of the most downright divine lemonade out of the nearly spoiled-rotten lemons we were originally presented when Melo decided he was too cool to play in the Mile High City.

Some candidates the Nuggets would likely consider with the No. 7 overall pick in the Draft would be: Jan Vesely, Jonas Valanciunas, Kawhi Leonard, Tristan Thompson, Bismack Biyombo and Alec Burks. There is an outside chance that Kemba Walker would fall to us, and then of course we’d enter the classic, “Best Player Available vs. Team Need” debate, but excluding this scenario I think all the players mentioned above would fit well with the Nuggets going forward. Yet two guys out of this bunch specifically garner my interest, and that’s Biyombo and Brooks. Biyombo is quite possibly the biggest enigma the Draft, yet if he pans out could be the next Ben Wallace, while Brooks is almost certain to have a solid NBA career at the shooting guard spot. Personally, I’d love to land Burks. I think he’s wildly underrated and could be a multi-time All-Star. Plus, it’s not often that the University of Colorado gives the NBA future stars, so when it does, I think it’s of the utmost importance that the Nuggets look to keep them in state where they’ve made us so proud already. No, this isn’t’ the Jazz and Jimmer Fredette. We wouldn’t be giving in to the pressure of  thousands of irrational denizens who know nothing about building a franchise by reaching for our version of Jimmy Chitwood just to please a fan-base. We’d actually be taking a prospect we never even thought of trading up for, but one that has possesses the elements it takes to succeed at the next level. After all, the last time a University of Colorado player graced the Nuggets roster, it worked out pretty well. Just sayin’.

As for the Lakers, I’m not trying to toot my own horn here (on second thought… yeah, I am… sadly) but I’ve suspected them to be interested in Felton for a while now. He’s the perfect fit alongside Kobe and Pau, as he won’t overshadow their already occupied “Superstar Members Only Club (number of members allowed: two),” plus the Lakers have been in dire need of a more youthful point guard who can stretch the floor and distribute at a high level for years.

The real question Nuggets fans have to be asking is, “What would the Lakers be willing to give up for Felton?”

As mentioned above, whenever discussing Felton trade scenarios we have to always remember: He only has one year left on his contract. This eliminates the possibility of the Nuggets simply being able to ship him off to whichever team offers the most in return, as everyone knows he could get up and walk away after serving only one season of duty for that team (although Chad Ford is making it seem as if the Kings might do its best to defy this sentiment). But with the Lakers, it’s different. They’re one of only a handful of franchises that could rest assured Felton would be comfortable re-signing, because let’s be honest, who wouldn’t want to play for the Lakers? This level of franchise security, pride and affluence would conversely allow the Nuggets to ask for more than what they might regularly receive in exchange for a one-year rental. So, if Felton is going to be on the Lakers roster for years, it only makes sense that the Nuggets receive a significant amount of value (roughly equal to the amount Felton possesses) in return. But who, or what, can the Lakers offer that meets these standards? Realistically only a few guys.

The one name Nuggets fans are tossing around — and rightly so — since the surfacing of these latest rumors is Lamar Odom. Of all the players on the Lakers roster, it’s Odom who probably offers the most accurate amount of value packaged in a single player equal to Felton. But still, the chance the Lakers disassemble a back-to-back NBA Championship roster for the sake of bringing in Felton seems unlikely. Odom just came off one of the best seasons of his career in which he received NBA 6th Man of the Year honors, and with Bynum always at risk for another injury, he’s some of the best insurance the NBA has to offer. Artest might be the more realistic player available, as he’s already publicly expressed his desire to escape L.A. in fear of being made the scapegoat if the Lakers fail in the future. Odom on the other hand, just wouldn’t appear as cooperative. He’s already married to a Kardashian sister, has his own TV show and would likely be thrilled with the opportunity of starting for L.A.

Again, the Lakers possess picks No. 11 (though the quote states 12, it’s actually 11), 16, 26 and 28 in the second round of this year’s draft. Some players projected by Draft Express to be available then include: E’Tuan Moore, Jon Leuer, Jordan Williams, Shelvin Mack, Isaiah Thomas, Andrew Goudelock, Malcolm Thomas and Greg Smith. Guys like Jeremy Tyler, Norris Cole, Nolan Smith, JuJuan Johnson and Charles Jenkins are slated to go just before No. 11.

Though second-round picks aren’t nearly as exciting as first-rounders, the amount the Lakers possess is rare and presents a unique opportunity for the Nuggets. Though I’d still love to land Odom if anything from L.A., we need to be open to the idea of taking on Artest and a number of second-rounders (preferably four) in exchange for Felton. With four second-rounders and a first rounder at No. 22, the Nuggets would almost certainly be able to move into the top 10 of the Draft. If this meant getting someone like Burks, T. Thompson, Biyombo, etc. to pair with Artest, then that has to be looked upon as a solid move as we’d have turned an expiring contract with no intentions of re-signing and our 22 selection into a top ten pick and one of the best defensive players in the NBA. There are obviously a multitude of different scenarios that you could come up with, so please, feel free to in the comments section.

  • Alex

    I hate to be the one to undervalue Felton, but if we were offered Odom for Felton and Pick No. 22 with no Lakers picks, wouldn’t we still have to jump all over that? Odom-Nene wouldn’t be the toughest defensive front line, but it would be pretty good on the offensive end and also an upgrade on the boards.

    • Kalen

      Yeah, definitely Alex. As much as I like Felton, Odom is still another notch above him. I would hate to give up No. 22, but I don’t see how we could pass up on a chance to land a big as skilled as Odom.

  • Kevin

    I’d rather see us work with the Kings. We could package Felton and No. 22 for No. 7 and No. 36.

    We could get Kemba Walker and Jeremy Tyler for that.

    • Kalen

      Maybe, but like the post says, we have to remember that Felton only has one year left on his contract. Do you really think the Kings would be willing to hand out the 7th overall pick in the draft if Felton isn’t guaranteed to be there long term? I doubt it.

      • Kevin

        True, but I have not heard Ray Ray say he has a preferred destination, just that he wants to start. Shit, he’d probably want to be here if we gave him the keys to the car.

        I’d only go for the Lakers deal if we can unload Harrington’s contract on them and pick up Blake as well.

        • ryanvdonk

          you really want steve blake? unathletic streaky shooter who couldn’t guard your grandma? harrington’s contract is bloated but at least he can contribute.

          • Kevin

            I’d like to get an okay backup PG and to get rid of Harrington’s bloated contract for the 2012 draft and free agency.

    • Ricardo Octavio

      Nuggets should trade Felton and 22nd pick for 10th pick and Corey Maggette, so they could get Klay Thompson. The nuggets should then trade Corey Maggette for a late first-round, early second-round pick.

  • Andrew

    1) That’s why you’re the Idea Guy, Kalen!
    2) I hate the idea of letting Felton go to the Lakers. Mostly because I hate the Lakers, but also because I like Felton. Still, unless we can work a better deal with the Kings or other, there is no sense in not doing a deal with the devil if the devil gives us Odom and good picks.
    3) I don’t put too much stock in Hollinger’s PER ratings, but it is interesting to note that both Reggie Jackson and Marshon Brooks have higher PERs than Alec Burks and Iman Shumpert. This seems to add a bit of credence to the thought that the talent in this years draft is in those middle picks, rather than the early ones…though I would still LOVE to have Alec Burks (The Mighty Golden Buffalo). http://espn.go.com/ncb/hollinger/statistics

    • Kalen

      Agreed on Burks. He’s being way undervalued right now because of the school he played at. I think he should be going around the top five.

  • Isaac G

    If we can get the 7 pick, for Felton we should take Burks. If we didn’t deal the first round pick go after Faried if available or Jeremy Tyler. Still high on that guys ceiling. We need help down low more than at the Guard spots. We do need to trade Ray to either team however for draft picks as we are in desparate need of frontcourt help.

  • Kalen

    Sorry I didn’t have time to come up with some more trade scenarios guys, but I was in a hurry when I posted this. I’ll see if I can fine-tune it tonight. Make sure and check back tomorrow morning as I’ll also have our final Big Board up.

  • GK4Prez

    I have seen some rumors/tweets where the Spurs, are shopping Parker for a lottery pick, the Raptors and Kings seem to be interested.

    • Kalen

      Yeah, big time rumors heating up, including one for the Nugs. I’ll have more info in this post later.

  • Aussie Nugs Fan

    Yeah Kalen you are right, not sure why the kings would want to rent Felton for one season. But we should remember Felton isn’t exactly a superstar, maybe he would be happy to go to a smaller market team (which may be forced to overpay him a bit) which becomes his team.

    I’m not crazy about any of the guys in the no.7 range, I hate the Idea of taking a shooting guard. Kalen what would you say are the % chances that JR stays? I really think we should give him one more chance!

    There are so many options with this anyway, we could trade down to something like 15 (I have heard Indianna wants Jimmer) take Faried and get another asset or 2nd rounder.

    We will need to bring in another point guard but since ty is perfectly capable of 35+ mins/night a rooker or low salary vet would be fine.

    Felton for Odom would definitely be a good deal.
    Felton for Artest makes me sick to my core.

    • Kalen

      Trust me, I’d love J.R. to be back as much as anybody, but I just don’t see how he’s gonna re-sign with Afflalo and Karl here. He needs a fair shot at starting, and he’s just not gonna get it in Denver. I think he ends up in Chicago when it’s all said and done.

  • Slader

    Please not Felton for Artest. no no no.

    Nuggs should buy an early round 2 pick and try to come away with Charles Jenkins and Jeremy Tyler. Lot to be said for Norris COle as well.

    Trade Felton for a 2012 pick.

  • AussieNuggsFan2

    Felton, Gallo, Mozgov and pick 22 for Jason Thompson, Beno Udrih, pick 7 and pick 36

    • Ricardo Octavio

      I would give up Gallo or Mosgov.

      • Ricardo Octavio

        I would not give up Gallo or Mosgov.

    • Ricardo Octavio

      I would not give up Gallo or Mosgov, probably Nene instead.

  • Kevin

    I will not give up Gallo. No way. No how.

  • Aurress

    Yea, I agree with Slader. Why are we not trying to get future picks for Felton? If this is considered a week draft, why jump higher up in it?

  • ryanvdonk

    if we end up with a mid second round pick and haven’t addressed the PF position, a pick with lots of potential (though probably needs a couple years to develop) is Matthew Bryan-Amaning out of university of washington. kid is athletic and attacks the rim with authority…kinda reminds me of a young kemp if he can progress as a player. for a 2nd round pick could be a decent project.

  • Jan Hansen

    Good points made, but is it too much to ask for the writer to actually edit the piece before it is posted?

    • Kalen

      I did, although it might not have been very good. Are there any glaring mistakes? I thought I got most of them.

  • Andrew

    I disagree that Artest is one of the best definesive players in the NBA. Not anymore. He’s on the downside, big time. If we get enough good picks, ok, but make the Lakers take Harrington if we have to take Artest.

  • Ray

    Felton + Gallo + Mosgov + Kouf +TPE 2012,2013,2014 first for Arenas + Howard.

    Makes sense for both teams as the Nuggets are the only ones that can purge the worst contract in the NBA in one fell swoop. Nugs become instant contenders, which will be hard for Dwight to leave. Nene, JR, Kenyon would be hard pressed to leave that team.

    Kroenke would have to open his wallet though.

  • cougars8

    if we trade felton for artest and draft picks i will immediately start vomiting all over myself in disgust

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