As fans, one of our favorite things to do is play the role of NBA general manager. We love to analyze players, ponder team needs and above all, formulate trade scenarios that will facilitate the movement of assets towards the team we often fantasize about in the hopes these transactions will one day lead directly to an NBA title. In other words, we love trades. This article aims to celebrate that unbridled fandom by introducing three realistic trade scenarios involving the NBA Draft and of course, Roundball Mining Company’s favorite piece of trade bait: Wilson Chandler.
If you’re new to this site or still unsure as to why Chandler is perpetually the subject of trade rumors, read this, and if you’re still unsure, know these simple facts: Chandler is young. He’s in the first year of a very cap-friendly contract. He’s athletic. He’s versatile. He likes defense. Given the chance to start, at the very least he’s a 15 points per game scorer. Would the Nuggets be a better team with him on the roster? Yes. But he’s not better than Gallinari and with three other, very talented small forwards on the team fully capable of doing the same things he can, Chandler then becomes tradeable for one big reason: value.
In theory the Nuggets could trade Chandler for another proven veteran, but the chances they get equal value in return simply isn’t that great. Quality contracts are hard to come by in the NBA. Often times good players are either overpayed or on the verge of being overpayed. The best and most cost-effective contracts in the NBA are given to rookies, specifically those in the first round of the NBA Draft.
Add all this on top of the fact that 2012 NBA Draft is one of the best in recent memory, and you have the perfect recipe for a Wilson Chandler-Nuggets fan-trade scenario pie. Here are three pieces I’ve concocted. Feel free to slice up one of your own in the comments section below!
(Note: The Nuggets possess three picks in this year’s draft: 20, 38 and 50.)
1. Chandler for No. 8
Toronto gets: Wilson Chandler, 20th pick in the first round, 38th pick in the second round and a future second-round selection.
Denver gets: Eighth pick in the first round.
Why Toronto pulls the trigger: The Raptors have been desperate for a legitimate, starting small forward for years. They highly covet Chandler and had the intention of offering him a contract after his return from China. They’ve made it very clear they’re in need of an athletic wing and are open to the possibility of trading the eight pick in the 2012 Draft in order to obtain one. Adding Chandler, in addition to last year’s No. 5 overall selection, Jonas Valanciunas, completes their starting five rotation and gives the fanbase the hope of a bright, young future for years to come. Furthermore, the 20th pick gives the Raptors another opportunity to hit home run, while the 38th pick alongside the Raptors own pick at 37 gives them back-to-back opportunities in the early part of the second round to target additional players on their Draft list.
Why Denver pulls the trigger: The Nuggets need a potential All-Star. Yes, their starting five looks set for years, but at the same time, nobody is confusing Danilo Gallinari with Dirk Nowitzki or JaVale McGee with Tim Duncan. At some point the Nuggets must acquire a special player who can carry the team through rough stretches in the postseason. If Denver feels this player isn’t available at eight, they can package the pick along with another player to move up even further.
Who Denver targets with the pick(s): Damian Lillard, Dion Waiters, Jeremy Lamb and Perry Jones will all likely be options at this point. Each of these players has tremendous potential and a distinct skill set compared to the others. Nuggets management would be able to select which one they believe in most. There’s also an outside chance Andre Drummond and Harrison Barnes drop to No. 8, both of whom would be steals at that point.
2. Chandler for two, mid-first-round picks
Houston gets: Wilson Chandler, 20th pick in the first round and 38th pick in the second round.
Denver gets: 14th and 16th picks in the first round.
Why Houston pulls the trigger: This trade would essentially breathe life into a middling franchise that has been attempting to rebuild on the fly for years. After collapsing during the final stretch of the season to miss the Playoffs for the third straight year, general manager Daryle Morey will be looking to make a move — as he always is — to push the Rockets over the cusp of mediocrity. Much like the Raptors, Chandler is the missing piece to the puzzle for the Rockets. With the 20th and 38th picks in the draft, the Rockets will still be able to add young talent to an already up-and-coming team.
Why Denver pulls the trigger: Two picks are always better than one, especially in the first round. In such a deep draft, good players are bound to slip. Having two, near back-to-back picks will allow the Nuggets to select several players that would likely be Top 10 picks in any other draft. This trade doubles the team’s chances of landing a star player in a single year, only minutes apart.
Who Denver targets with the pick(s): It’s difficult to predict who will fall on Draft night. As of now guys like Meyers Leonard, Kendall Marshall, Arnett Moultrie, Terrence Ross, Terrence Jones and even Jared Sullinger all stand the chance to land somewhere outside the Top 10. Even the aforementioned Perry Jones could slip. If the Nuggets could land a combination of these two players — say, Terrence Jones and Marshall for example — it would increase the team’s already incredible depth as well as its talent level, star potential and assets, all at the same time.
3. Chandler for back-to-back picks
Boston gets: Wilson Chandler, Al Harrington, Timofey Mozgov and 38th pick in the first round.
Denver gets: 21st and 22nd picks in the first round, 51st pick in the second round.
Why Boston pulls the trigger: After making a magical run to the Conference Finals and falling one game short of a third NBA Finals appearance in five years, the Celtics feel they’re not through yet. But to continue this run they need to offer Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen an incentive to re-sign since both are free agents. This move convinces Garnett and Allen, in addition to numerous other free agents, that the Celtics are still contenders for at least two more years. If the Celtics don’t accomplish their goal after one year, Harrington’s contract is only partially guaranteed from that point on and Mozgov will be a free agent, leaving Chandler, Jeff Green, Pierce and Rondo as solid building blocks for the future.
Why Denver pulls the trigger: Possessing back-to-back-to-back picks in any draft is rare, but in this draft it’s the equivalent of hitting the lottery (figuratively, of course). At 20, 21 and 22, there will still be an array of talented players for the Nuggets to select from without running the risk of a team potentially thwarting its draft strategy. In addition, all three of these players will be on rookie contracts for the next four years, lending a monumental amount of cap space to sign veteran free agents that will help stabilize the team and assist in the development of these youngsters. The Nuggets will also have back-to-back selections at 50 and 51 which they could use, or combine, to move up further into the Draft.
Who Denver targets with the pick(s): As has already been mentioned in our first Big Board article, Andrew Nicholson, Royce White and Will Barton would all be excellent selections with the three picks. Players like Moe Harkless, Austin Rivers and Arnett Moultrie could slip, giving the Nuggets even more options to salivate over. This also gives Denver the luxury of selecting an incredibly talented yet risky prospect like Tony Wroten without suffering the consequences of wasting its one and only pick on that player, should he not pan out.