Are the Nuggets gearing up for a midseason trade?

What is the point of diminishing returns when it comes to roster depth?

This is a question the Denver Nuggets will most likely have to confront over the next few seasons, whether it’s sooner or later. Their much trumpeted youth and depth (see every 2011-12 season preview ever written) have indeed proven to be two of the team’s most valuable dimensions. Last season, when injuries to key players such as Danilo Gallinari, Timofey Mozgov and Rudy Fernandez might have depleted the team’s rotation, Denver was able to bring guys like Kosta Koufos, Corey Brewer, and most notably rookie Kenneth Faried up from the lower ranks to fill in the gaps and help keep Denver a winning team, a luxury many NBA teams would not have had.

Additionally, with many of its players on rookie or otherwise reasonable contracts, Denver’s payroll structure featured another positive aspect: financial flexibility.

But the Nuggets model of last season is not one that’s well built for sustainability. The flip-side implication of having a young, deep squad of talented players is that it will not be too long before they’re going to get paid. And as the clock has ticked forward from last summer to present day, we have seen many of those dominoes start to fall.

The Nuggets have had a busy year, procuring the contract extensions of Arron Afflalo, Gallinari, Koufos, Wilson Chandler, most recently JaVale McGee (who came by way of extending Nene). And another signing is apparently on the near horizon. Chris Dempsey of the Denver Post recently reported Ty Lawson as saying his extension – as perhaps the Nuggets’ highest paid player – is “definitely going to get done” soon. So, depending on whether Lawson is extended,, and if so for how much, by the start of the regular season Denver should have somewhere in the neighborhood of $62 million to $71 million in guaranteed salary* for the 2012-13 season.

That’s well above the $58.044 million salary cap and, in the event of extending Lawson, at least flirting with if not slightly exceeding the $70.307 million luxury tax threshold.

[Correction: Big thanks to LotharBot for clarifying Lawson’s contract extension situation in the comments: “If Ty Lawson signs an extension, the higher salary will take effect next season, not this one. The 2012-13 season team salary, for the current roster, is going to be in the low-mid 60s.”]

In contrast, at the beginning of last summer Denver had $38,674,414 in guaranteed salary on the books for 2011-12. Now, it isn’t really fair to compare this very low figure with the greatly increased 2012-13 projections above, as the Afflalo extension was a near-foregone conclusion, and whether Nene had agreed to extend or not, it was pretty clear that money would need to be spent on a big man. Yet even taking that into consideration, there’s no way to escape the impending reality that the financial flexibility the Nuggets possessed last summer has mostly disappeared, assuming the current roster remains mostly intact.

Which at last brings us back to the question regarding diminishing returns on roster depth.

Running with the Ty Lawson max contract scenario for the sake of illustrating the point (though I don’t necessarily believe he’ll get that much), the Nuggets will have committed as much as nearly $59 million in 2013-14 and $62.5 million in 2014-15 in salary to seven players (albeit some of this is not fully guaranteed due to Al Harrington’s contract). Meanwhile, those seven do not include young draft picks Faried, Jordan Hamilton, Evan Fournier and Quincy Miller, or Mozgov who, if retained, will be up for an extension next summer.

While nearly every one of these contracts may be fairly reasonable in its own right, as a collective they form a fairly hefty salary bundle comprised of a group of players which, young and developing as it is, has not yet produced any definitively transcendent star players. It remains to be seen if one or more of these players can truly break through to the next level, or to what extent the front office will be committed to adhering to a philosophy of building a team which has, in George Karl’s words, “a top-10 player at every position”.

But considering that there is a limitation to the number of minutes which can be distributed among this deep roster of players, many of whom seem to be on approximately the same tier, as well as the fact that the Kroenke family has in recent years shown a keen propensity for staying firmly out of luxury tax territory, it seems that the Nuggets organization could soon reach a point where something might have to give.

They may need to consolidate some of their numerous assets for a single more potent one – or in other words, make a 2-for-1 or 3-for-1 trade to at once land a higher impact player and create more financial breathing room.

I suspect that if Denver does pull the trigger on such a move it won’t be right away. Masai Ujiri in so many words has already basically indicated they intend to keep the current roster intact: “Our existing roster we felt deserved to move forward and compete together. Those guys earned that right.” So I don’t expect them to do much more than perhaps cut Julyan Stone (whose unguaranteed contract and recent injury make him the odd man out by default) to clear a roster space for signing second round draft pick Quincy Miller.

At the very least, keeping the current crop of players around for a while longer will give the front office and coaching staff the opportunity to further evaluate their talent in order to clarify which players they value most highly as keepers. And for the time being, that’s probably a perfectly reasonable approach in terms of holding onto a small wealth of somewhat similar assets in order to allow the cream to rise to the top.

But the time for making some tough personnel decisions may be rapidly approaching. And the good news for Denver, despite its ever-increasing payroll, is that the large number of assets they hold in pocket translate into a different kind of flexibility: trade options.

So my humble prediction (and I’m admittedly not going out on too risky of a limb here) is that the Nuggets will basically stand pat through training camp and the beginning of the regular season, but will then seek to make some kind of deal by the trade deadline which will consolidate their talent pool and restore a little more financial flexibility over the next few years.


*(I based these salary estimates on a combination of figures from Storytellers Contracts and my own calculations based on news reports of the more recently signed players’ salaries. You can see how I got there here, here, and here. I’m no cap expert, and I made some assumptions (such as Miller replacing Stone) and used a bit of guesswork, so please consider these speculative at best. Feedback on this is more than welcome.)

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Joel is a long time Denver Nuggets (and Broncos) fan from Colorado who's been living in Japan since the mid-90s, and blogging about the Nuggets since 2008. You can contact and follow him on Twitter: @denbutsu.
  • Trevor

    I think either Aaron Affalo, Wilson Chandler, or Gallo will be traded by next summer. Possible two of the three could get traded if one can show they can carry a team in scoring and show they are a legit NBA star. A team built around Lawson, a strong scoring wing and an improved Farried/McGee could get the Nuggets over the hump.

  • TJ McBride

    Great first post Denbutsu. It makes total sense to trade 2-1 or 3-1 for either another wing player (assuming that we trade a couple that we have) or another big scoring threat off the bench just in case Hamilton does not pan out. There is a lot to happen this season and i’m sure that Masai has seen these same points that you have pointed out about expiring contracts. Lots will unfold in the near future and i’m excited to see what Masai has in store for NuggetsNation.

    • Landry

      Why are we so freaking negative about what we can get from a trade… we have literally the deepest unit 1-12 in the NBA. We have 9 legit starters in Ty, Dre, Gallo, Chandler, Mozgov, McGee, Al, Faried, and AAA. And solid bench producers in Brewer, J-Ham, Koufos, and Stone. So in total we have 9 starting caliber players and 3 above average bench players for our roster. So if were going to get in impact player it may as well shore up our one weakness and it sure as hell is not offense, its freaking defense.

      Frankly I wish we could trade for Tony Allen for AAA because we need an elite defender and J-Ham could cover Tony Allen’s scoring deficiencies as a 3 pt shooter. Otherwise I don’t think the Nuggs have a single weakness because we can outscore the entire NBA as the GK system has demonstrated this year.

      • Mike

        I like your point about going for defense. Andre Iguodala and option?

        • ThomasDenverFan

          I would like Iggy better than Allen because Iggy can drive well which would allow Ty to shoot perimeter

          • Keith

            Perhaps by mid-season when Philly realizes how dumb the Brand Amnesty and Nick Young signing are, they’ll start to look at dropping salary. They’d probably want Gallo. And honestly it wouldn’t be a bad exchange. Defense and passing to Denver, shooting and size to Philly.

            • ThomasDenverFan

              Given we have Jam i wouldn’t mind

  • LotharBot

    If Ty Lawson signs an extension, the higher salary will take effect next season, not this one. The 2012-13 season team salary, for the current roster, is going to be in the low-mid 60s.

    Even when Ty extends, the payroll situation won’t be that bad. Most decently-run teams pay their top 8-9 players somewhere in the 60 mil range and then fill out the roster with small contracts. Next season we’re looking at somewhere in the low 60 mil range for 9 guys (Ty, Dre, AAA, Gallo, Chandler, Al, Randolph, McGee, Koufos) with 5 more on rookie deals (Faried, JHam, Fournier, either Stone or QMiller, and our 2013 first rounder.) That’s 14 players, and maybe 3-5 mil of room under the tax line to keep one of Moz or Brewer.

    So on the one hand, we don’t have the financial flexibility to go out and sign a bunch of guys to max deals, though Denver isn’t exactly a marquee destination for those sorts of players. On the other hand, we’re not stuck in tax hell with 57 mil tied up in 4 guys (see: 2007 Nuggets). We’ve got a full roster that we can keep roughly intact next season while staying under the tax line.

    So if we make a roster move, it’s not going to be about shaving a little money off the cap. It’s going to be about that distribution of minutes mentioned above — getting a single impact player in place of 3 less good players.

    • DAN

      Lotharbot, I’m impressed! Very well reasoned and researched post. I agree. That’s what I was thinking.
      All our contracts are reasonable and therefore tradable. Trade is a much more reliable and possibly cheaper means of aquiring talent. And I believe we will make a move at some point this season.

    • denbutsu

      Thank you for the clarification, LotharBot. As I said in the footnote, I’m no cap expert, and it sounds like you are more well versed in those details than me. I’ve edited the post to include a quote from your comments as a correction.

      It’s so awesome that the Nuggets have such a knowledgeable fan base. As a new blogger here, that will surely help keep me on my toes – nothing’s going to get past you guys!

  • Young Pep Dash

    Ty Lawson, Kenneth Faried and Javale McGee are all untouchables. I would argue that Afflalo shouldn’t be involved in trade talks unless you’re bringing back a young gun at the 2 of the calibre of a Eric Gordon because AAA has shown he gets better each year and he is one of the core guys that every team wishes they had and we shouldn’t look to move him.

    Gallo and Chandler are basically our two biggest assets to move in a trade IMO. I am by no means convinced yet of Gallo being a $10 million a year player and a young star of this team like so many fans seem to think that the idea of moving gallo instead of chandler is unthinkable.

    Unpopular opinion alert – I think Gallo has maxed out his potential.

    • dynamo.joe

      I don’t necessarily think Gallo has maxed out his potential, but I do think that if he doesn’t return to the level he was playing at in Dec/January of last season that Masai will start looking to move him.

      I don’t have a problem with a guy having trouble coming back from injury (maybe he tried to come back a little early? That kind of desire is a good thing). There is some mitigating factor there, but if it lingers, you gotta move on.

  • BroncosHK

    I think at the moment, the players that Denver definitely not going to trade are:
    Ty (he’s the engine of this Denver offense)
    McGee (at least give him one year to see how he develop)
    Faried (we need this type of energy guy and he’s still on his rookie contract)
    JHam (he’s on his rookie contract and this year suppose to be his breakout year)
    Randolph (his contract is cheap and is a very serviceable player at the least)
    Brewer (a good bench player who gives you 100% effort when Karl call his name)

    The rest of the team are tradable, and I agree that between AAA, Chandler, Gallo, I think we have to trade at least one or two to get a proven player in return, they all have great upside, but as the article mention, their contract begin to grow bigger, and start to pay more than they perform, I think it’s time to package them and cash in for some top tier player (of course that player need to be able to play Denver style and unselfish).
    Al, he was a player I love and hate last year, we had games that he won for us, and also lost for us on his own. I think if we can package him along with one of AAA, Chandler, Gallo along with maybe our 1st rd pick next year for a good player in return, I would be more than happy to do that.
    Mozgov and Kufos, I think we have to wait until mid season, one of them definitely has to go, but give it half year to see who really fits better for us.
    Dre, I think we have to keep him for this year, his contract is a little too big, but I think he’s a guy that can keep Mcgee under control, and happy (all those lob pass from him to Mcgee).
    Quincy Miller and Fourier, not sure what to expect out of these guys, but if the right package comes up, I would deal them along with the others.

    That’s what I think Denver should do this year, a trade or two before trade deadline would be essential for us to get to a elite level, but as a Nuggets fan, I can see great future for this team and I can’t wait for the season to start.

  • j_kobbie

    Wouldn’t the “extension” begin after this contract ends(next year) like Gallo’s did?

    That said… Gallo has till Jan 15 to prove he is worth 5 million more than Wilson. Arron is quality, and has made strides each year, but hopefully he hasn’t hit his ceiling. He needs to turn the corner and become more of a threat on both ends.

    If he doesn’t I could totally see them packaging Gallo, AAA, and Mozgov for an impact player. Throw in Big Al’s partially guaranteed contract if need be… I like him but 5 knee surgeries this summer… 5.

    • Greg

      Gallo is only making roughly 2-2.5 mill more than Wilson

      • Woobly o Balls

        Na it’s actually $15.8 more over 4 years so an average of $4 million more each season so Greg YOU lose. 1-0 j_kobbie

        • John

          Actually on “The Price Is Right” I would have lost… I was embellishing for emphasis… My point being, Ill Will’s contract is much more palatable for what appears to be the same skill set and talent level.

    • Eddi0

      I think you are spot-on with who we need to trade: some sort of package of Gallo, AAA, Harrington and Mozzie for an impact SG and/or SF.

      Gallo-has yet to prove he can play through an entire season without getting hurt. Dude’s made of glass and is being paid $4M more than Chandler.
      AAA-I personally believe he has hit his ceiling. If slightly above average defense and 10-12 pts, 2-3 rbnds, 2-3 assists/game is worthy of a starting role then I might need to consider a different line of work.
      Harrington-like the stretch 4 concept but not sure Al on his last legs (pun intended) is what we need. Nicholson would have been great here.
      Mozzie-he’s gonna get paid next year (think Asik type money), we won’t be able to afford him.

      I think we need to think of a stud SG to trade for, with Chandler holding down the SF position. Personal favorites would be either James Harden or Paul George.

      I personally would really like a line-up of (post trade of aforementioned players):

      SF-Chandler/Brewer/Q Miller

      • John

        I like your thinking…

        I haven’t seen enough of George(2-3 games) to offer a valid opinion, but have heard good things, and liked what little I did see.

        I do like Harden, having watched probably 30 OKC games in the last 2 years. I’m not sure he is at STAR level yet, but certainly looks like he has the tools to get there.

        I think he would be a great pickup if you didn’t have to sell the farm to get him.

      • Mike

        isn’t Harden a FA at season’s end? We would need him to sign a contract extension, or make another trade to free up some space and just offer him a deal season end.

      • dynamo.joe

        I don’t have a problem with trading Gallo if the right deal comes along, but….

        …dudes made of glass we should just go with Chandler….

        …is that the same Chandler that played 15 minutes for us and then had season ending surgery? Way to upgrade!

        Even if that was a fluke, Chandler is a guy who can create shots for himself, but then can’t hit the shot. Who finishes well at the rim but can’t get past his defender into the paint.

        Anyone who pays Mozgov the kind of money Asik is getting gets what they deserve. At best he should get a contract like Randolfs’, $2M/yr or so. Maybe even better a series of $2M/yr 1 yr contracts so you always have a cheap expiring to thrown into trades. If I was spending Stan Kranky’s money it would be worth $2M/yr just to have Mozzy show up to games in Lavender suits.

        • eddi0

          Please look at Gallo’s complete injury history since he’s been in the NBA…in short he’s had significant injuries EVERY year he’s been in the NBA. Chandler has a pretty clear injury history, save last year. I consider both of them to be about equal in terms of overall talent with Gallo being a more offensive oriented and Chandler more defensive. With that said I would prefer Chandler because of his injury history, his defensive abilities (defense wins championships) and his salary is effectively $4M less/year.

          I guess you could liken this argument to Ford vs. Chevy, I just prefer Chandler (for the reasons listed above).

          Mozzy will command more money because of his size (has two inches over Randolph and about 50 lbs). Mozgov showed he can handle the best (Bynum) defensively in the playoffs so some team (prob in the West) will pay handsomely for his size/defensive abilities (plus he does have a nice face-up jumper). Asik, I believe, is not as talented as Mozzy but is a true defensive center, hence the $8M/year. Someone will “overpay” for him…

  • Poz_303

    Great write up Denbutsu. And congrats on joining RMC.

    I am going to disagree with you. I dont think Denver make any mid-season trade. A lot may depend on how the team is performing, but assuming they start this season like they did last year, minus the injuries, and Denver should be solidly in a playoff position going into the trade deadline.

    Also, if we trade two moderate contracts for a “top tier” player, likely their contract would be the equal of the two Denver players we would be trading (eg. AAA & Chandler for Igoudala). Hence that would not give us any financial flexibility. And as has been mentioned in another comment, not many top tier players want to come to Denver.

    So my belief is the Nuggets roll the dice with this group for the entire season. Certainly this gives the FO the best opportunity to assess the talent on the roster.

    They then will have expiring contracts to Mozgov and Brewer (assuming they extend Ty this summer). Mozgov, depending on how he performs during the upcoming season, may be difficult to retain.

    I think the best chance of a trade may come at the 2013 draft. Rather than picking up an inflated salary, the Nuggets may look to trade a couple of players for a high lottery pick. This would give them most financial flexibility and possibly add a future all-star.

    Not sure how good the 2013 draft field is but generally a top lottery pick should give you a future NBA starter (at worst).

    • Zack

      The 2013 NBA Draft is not supposed to be very good (think Muhammed/Noel and not much else). That may change a little bit as the college season starts and progresses, but I see this draft as a down year to be drafting in the lottery. Obviously, the 2012 draft was stacked with a lot of NBA caliber players. I think the 2013 draft is the wrong one to be trading players to move into the lottery for.

  • junior

    i think my dream player to trade for is josh smith!!!! imagine having lawson, afflalo, chandler/galo, smith, and mcgee out there?!!!! but like I said this is my dream trade so the chances of it happening are most likely slim. We would probably have to give up galo or chandler hopefully galo, mozgov and probably afflalo or brewer.

  • Jooshipoo

    What do you guys think about a player like Josh Smith for Wilson Chandler and Mozgov. He can play inside and outside, athletic to run with our fast breaks, and is s proven all star in his prime

    • Woobly o Balls

      Atlanta hang up the phone

    • dynamo.joe

      You and Junior are right. We should trade for a player who plays the same position as the best guy on the team. Down with Faried!!!

  • bayesk

    duplicitous = deceitful. you’re looking for ‘duplicate’. great points and analysis, however.

    • denbutsu

      Doh! Thank you for the correction, I appreciate it. I edited the post to change it to “similar”.

  • Wesley Vanhecke

    I don’t know how you can call it, I embrace every player on te roster to represent the team I most love to see out on the floor. I even liked JR and Iverson. Since Gallo landed in Denver with the big trade I had my doubts… He looked clumsy. But I don’t enjoy Mozgov and Koufos in any important game. They look afraid and don’t bring lightning and thunder. I hope Massai pulls one last trade and should bring a type like Tyson chandler or mingle them in a Howard deal. I want for once at least Denver in a Western playoff final

    • Zack

      The Nuggets were in the Western Conference Finals 3 short years ago (where they lost to the Lakers 4-2).

  • KW

    I like the way we are giving one (or two) of our ugly ducklings a chance to turn into a swan BUT if we still are looking like Hawks West I’d like to see a trade. I am so sick of all the nonchalance about losing (from GK) and satisfaction with ‘progress’.

  • steve

    Some of you have said Josh Smith but he’s exactly what we don’t need. He’s an athletic Defender and we have a couple of them. What we need is a post player that can open it up for everyone.

    I’d much rather have his teammate Al Horford. He’s a post player that can also step away and hit the midrange. He’s a solid Defender and can play both PF and C but he’s more of a PF.

    I doubt ATL would move him but they need players at all positions. I would think a package of Afflalo, Chandler and Mozgov and a future 1st would at least tempt them to take a look. Al is paid 12 mill per for the next 4 years so his salary isn’t enormous for his talent level.

    • Reezy B

      My thoughts EXACTLY! The perfect guys for our team would be IMO Al Horford or Lamarcus Aldridge… Both can run the floor and have great offense. Horford has better D but LA’s turn arounds are money!!! In the end i would take LA because he is perfect at the 4 and it will solve our problem with our down low and inside out game, plus wayyy better at the pick-n-roll and the pick-n-pop. Horford is a banger down low, but McGee just got paid and i know ATL rather keep their proven Center over potential. I would love to have Farried come off the bench strictly for rebounding, defense, and energy! I like the A.I. talks but DONT LOVE them… he fits our team, but not our teams need! which is= When an opposing team slows the game down, especially in the final two minutes, who can be our true number one option. Someone that we can actually run an offense around instead of leaving it to dribble and create plays. LA can open up the paint for driving and kicking out because they have to respect his jumper… or he can handle the rock down low and make a pretty high percentage type of shot. I know portland has not been in the spotlight but the one good thing they have is LA.

      • Austin

        Portland is not going to trade Aldridge cuz he is there glue guy who they are trying to build they’re team up from

    • Zack

      I would love that trade! (Horford for Chandler, AAA, Moz and 2013 first round pick). I think Horford is probably just about untouchable (with the exception of getting a superstar) so my guess is they hang up the phone if the Nuggets call about him.

      But I like the idea.

  • Richard Greenslade

    I am with Poz_303, as I have written here and elswhere: the Nuggs should do a 2 or 3 for 1 to obtain a lottery pick. The trick for Masai will be to do this without being forced to take on a horrible contract in exchange.
    For example, the Bobcats might give us their lottery pick for chandler, moz and our 1st pick IF we take Tyrus Thomas with his bad knees, attitude and contract. Masai does seem very capable of finessing this kind of situation, so I’m cool.
    Concerning the tradeability of our contracts, the one that worries me is Gallo. If he can’t stay healthy, it’ll be very hard to unload that deal.

    • Zack

      I don’t really like the idea of getting a 2013 first round lottery pick. I just don’t see the talent level compared to years past (especially to this last draft where we got Q. Miller at 38). My guess is if Quincy had stayed in school and improved a little bit, he would have been a top 10 pick in this years draft (maybe top 5 even). That’s how weak 2013’s draft is and how stacked 2012’s was.

    • Young Pep Dash

      2013 draft meant to be weak. 2014 is meant to be stronger. All speculation of course

  • Sammm192

    Lawson is here to stay, Afflalo is a great player for his contract, and they hope Gallo, Faried, and Mcgee will pan out. With Brewer, Chandler and Hamilton all playing g/f they need to make a move.
    Corey Brewer to Orlando for JJ Reddick. Denver needs a shooter and Reddick would thrive in the Nuggets system. Then Chandler for a lottery pick next year, Minnesota?
    I am convinced you cannot win a championship without a 3pt sharpshooter, and this teams best case scenario is probably a 4 seed. worst case is a lottery pick in the draft.

    • Sammm192

      PG Lawson, Miller
      SG Afflalo, ???
      SF Gallinari, Chandler, Brewer, Hamilton
      PF Faried, Harrington
      C McGee, Mozgov.
      They need a Terry/Harden/Allen type player and at least 2 more bigs.
      Brewer for Reddick would tide us over until Fournier gets here, Chandler should be a hot item, get a decent first round pick out of him. Needs to be dealt before training camp.

      • Ryan

        Yes thank you we need to trade Chandler

    • Young Pep Dash

      Redick deal doesn’t work salary wise and I’m not sure Orlando does it anyway.

      No way is chandler alone worth a lottery pick

      • John

        Pretty sure Nuggets still have 13 million in a TPE from the Nene deal… Brewer for JJ “could” work, but JJ is 5 inches shorter, and doesn’t play much defense.

        So I’m not sure if the 10% increase in 3pt % off the bench, is worth the significant drop in steals, blocks, and overall pesky D that Brewer brings.

        Additionally, in the 27 min / game that JJ played he averaged 11 pts. which seems pretty equivalent to the 9 that Brewer did in 21.

        Now if JJ was shooting 46%, instead of 36% from 3, I would be down.

        • Young Pep Dash

          Sorry i always forget about the trade exceptions

    • DAN

      Don’t count out J Ham as a shooter. I think he will fill that roll four us this year, he is also a very good rebounder.

  • Ryan

    We should trade Chandler he didnt fit well with the nuggets system

    • Young Pep Dash

      Is this what you’ve scouted over his 30 games coming off the bench in Denver?

      Thats some real thorough scouting

  • Chris

    All non basketball guys that say trade Chandler are clueless about basketball, Affolo is the one that has to go, he has no explosiveness to his hame, he’s really stiff, and he can’t finish around the rim like a two gaurd should, you count how many times he dunked the ball since he’s been a nugget.

    • Sam

      I’m not sure why it matters that he never dunks. Afflalo actually became one of the more consistent scorers towards the end of the season besides the playoffs. He’s never really meant to be more than a #3 scoring option on the court. Plus he’s a solid defender.

      I like Chandler, he’s a good player but he just adds to the glut of 2/3 players and from what I’ve seen didn’t really fit in (granted he hasn’t gotten to play too much so far). He would be a starter on most other teams and could be a great trade piece. I do think a 2-for1 is the best option because it clears a roster spot and we could get a pretty good player.

      Lastly, you shouldn’t go around calling people clueless on a friendly basketball website where people just post their opinions. Especially if you’re going to fill your posts with redundancy and misspellings.

    • ThomasDenverFan

      Fully agree Handler everything that Aaron can but is bigger and isn’t afraid of beating in the lane and be finesse around the hope he has so many moves plus he can shoot outside as well he is just more aggressive overall

      • dynamo.joe

        Where does this ‘Chandler can shoot from outside’ nonsense come from?

        Chandler career 3pt% 32.3
        average SF 3pt% 36.1

        he doesn’t even rate mediocre.

        AAA career 3pt% 40.5
        avg 2guard 3pt% 36.8

        AAA is at least a superior 3pt shooter, possibly elite. Can he create his own shot? No, but this idea that AAA isn’t the shooter we need has to stop.

    • Trevor

      I’d trade them both. Chandler + AAA + a big is probably going to get us the best return, assuming Lawson and Galo are deemed untouchable. Both are good solid players that can contribute on any team but they’ve reached their potential and the Nugs need more umph from their wings.

    • TWizz09

      I’m not sure which games you have been watching, but AAA takes it to the paint a lot and finishes. He is a person that moves without the ball, which is something Denver needs. Not to mention that this guy has improved basically every year he has been here.

  • Trevor

    Living the dream denbutsu. I was part of the PSD community during its early years and remember when you joined, and shortly after took over the Nugs forum. Always respected you’re opinions and commitment to research. Congratulations man.

  • Young Pep Dash

    I would trade Gallo before I trade Chandler and Afflalo

  • Young Pep Dash

    denbutsu – the mystery man of RMC

    Are you an old man who has been covering Denver since WWII or are you a thirteen year old girl?


    • denbutsu

      Ha, right in between those two.

      • magster

        Ah. So a 35 year old man-woman!

        • DAN


  • John

    At this point I see no difference between Afflalo, Chandler, and Gallo. All three are solid 15pts / gm guys… all three are young, willing defenders, slightly better than average 3pt shooters, can create there own shots, and unfortunately – not dominant. In other words all are good, none are great. We either need one of them to become an alpha male, or trade for one.

    Listen everybody says no one wants to come to Denver(small markets)… all that becomes moot when you win. Denver is the same size as both Boston and DC(roughly 600k but Denver is growing faster). Both are huge media markets(DC more than Boston for obvious reasons), but only one has had success in the NBA.

    I bet Bill Russell just smiles and looks down at his two handfuls of rings, when asked if he would have been better off in LA, Chicago, or NYC.

    Marquee players will always make big Ad money(Shoes and Cars)… it is the mediocre players that really benefit from the big market venues.

    If Masai would trade some (but not all) of our depth, and put a bonafide STAR(preferably one that doesn’t start every season overweight and can play defense) with the talented core we already have, the rings would flow… and everybody would be happy.

  • nuggz2

    If we’re throwing out the dream scenarios, I would like to see Moz and Chandler for Iguodala And Gallo and Harrington for Josh Smith with future picks (2014 or later) to make that happen. I think this would give the Nuggets better defense and solid rebounding without having to sacrifice much scoring.

    It seemed to me last year the Nuggets struggled when settling for jumpers and 3’s. Why not bring in better finishers. Everybody wants them to get a 3 pt shooter but they were already the number one scoring team in the league while ranking near the bottom in 3pt%. Stopping other teams from scoring seemed to be an even bigger problem. Besides you can always find a 3 pt specialist via free agency or the draft and Hamilton and Fournier still deserve a shot.

    Contract wise I’m not positive the FO would want to spend that much especially with Ty’s extension coming up. Iguodala’s expires in two years and Smith’s next year. If extensions weren’t worked out with either, they would still be getting flexibility back getting rid of the contracts of Al, Gallo, and Chandler while keeping the core of Ty, AAA, Faried, and Mcgee to move forward.

    • Andrew

      Dare to dream! I love the Moz and Chandler for Iggy deal. I would also love to get Josh Smith for Harrington, but if Nuggs give up Chandler, I would hope we would retain Gallo at SF and maybe instead send AAA instead, since we will have Iggy.

      • ThomasDenverFan

        I agree see below. i like Chandler better than Gallo he has better defense than Gallo.

    • ThomasDenverFan

      Change it to AAA and Mozzy for Iggy and Gallo and al for J smooth and we have a great idea with Ty Iggy Chandler Jsmooth and Mcgeezy starting and Dre Jham Brewer Manimal and K2 as the rotation of that would still the bench.we still have go to people in Iggy and Jsmooth and we would be one of the best defensive teams and i think Ty could take that next level step with people worrying about Iggy and Jsmooth. i would like these moves alot.

      • CJP32

        This trade works salary wise:

        76ers send Iggy to Denver for Afflalo, Harrington and Mozzy

        Hawks send J Smooth to Denver for Wilson Chandler and Corey Brewer

        • ThomasDenverFan

          I still would rather keep Chandler over Galljust my preferenceo

          • John

            The difference is Chandler is tradable and Gallo is not… at least until January.

            • eddi0

              Gallo could likely not be tradeable in the future with his $10M/yr contract. Dude needs to step it up moving forward and earn his pay.

        • John

          So it would be –

          PG – Ty, Dre, JStone
          SG – Iggy, Evan, (???)
          SF – Gallo, JHam, QMiller
          PF – JSmoove, Manimal, AntRand
          C – McGee, 2K, (???)

          We just lost our 3 best defenders, and best 3pt shooter. I could still go for this trade, but I have a feeling we would have to give up several other assets(multiple picks) as well, which would be too much.

          • ThomasDenverFan

            This is true and another reason why i would rather trade Gallo and might be worth waiting to make the trade

          • Andrew

            Yeah, I could go for it, too, but who are the three best defenders? AAA, Brewer and Chandler? Or did you mean Moz instead of Chandler? I, personally, don’t like Chandler as much as Gallo, and it goes back to the playoffs two years ago when Chandler looked like a scared little kid out there. Gallo has his definite faults (that flop this year still grates me) but at least he gives full effort. I don’t care how talented Chandler is, he’s a wallflower and does not seem to care at all. Just my opinion. Also, and this is a question, could JHam and QMiller both play SG and SF, if needed?

            • Zack

              IMO I personally think JHam can play the 2 guard and Q Miller can play the 3 if need be.

            • ThomasDenverFan

              I feel Chandler just didn’t know the system and it was his first playoffs while Gallo doesn’t only flop during.the play off. she is the one that isn’t spending time at Denver. while granted Chandler is recovering but he also has been spending.time with alot of the team. in my opinion he wants to be here and has changed since when.she was traded here. i think you will see he dedication to the Nuggets this season. and he can do everything Gallo can do plus he is quicker and stronger than him. im sorry i just don’t think Gallo is all that great in comparison to Chandler.

              • John

                Yes, exactly.

                IMO – The Nuggets best overall defenders are #1 Brewer(actually, this is according to teammate testimonials), #2 AAA, and #3 Chandler.

                I would probably have ranked Stone #1 if A.) he ever played and B.) he wasn’t out for the next 5 months…. hope they let him heal and don’t cut him. One more year with Dre Miller and he will have all his moves. He already picked up the little off-tempo stutter-step drive down the lane off the pick…

                Q. Miller can develop just fine in the D League for a year. He is uber-raw, and while I think he was a steal at #38, I don’t see anything in his game that warrants cutting Stone to bring him on the team now vs. next year.

              • John

                um…. I think Gallo is “out of town” because he is playing in the Olympics. I am pretty OK with that.

                They(Nuggets brass) did have Hess go over for a week, work him out, and make sure he is on track.

              • ThomasDenverFan

                Im ok with him.playing in.the Olympics

          • Alex

            Why does everyone think Iguodala is a shooting guard?

  • denbutsu

    Big thanks to everyone for the positive feedback and corrections, I really appreciate it!

  • Mark from Charlotte

    NO COMMENT…………………………….

  • josh

    channing frye suns get wilson chandler, kosta kofous

    • Young Pep Dash

      Throw in our 2013 and 2014 first rounders to get it done

      • Zack

        Seriously? Chandler, Koufos, and 2 1st rounders for Frye. NO!!!

  • Frank

    The trade is Afflalo and Harrington for TYREKE EVANS, who is on the block!

    AAA is appreciated but overrated. Harrington is gonna fall apart next season so we might as well get ahead of the bad news. TYREKE is a BEAST who has worn out his welcome in Sactown for some strange reason, we should gladly pick him up and instantly nail both a STAR and an upgrade at the 2.

    Starters: Ty Tyreke Gallo Faried McGee. SO GOOD

    In this scenario we still have depth, a second unit of Dre Fournier JHam Chandler and Mozgov.

    Trade Koufos for salary cap relief or a new laundry machine.

    DO NOT TRADE GALLO, he’s a baller and the only player on our team besides our PG who can create his own show. Also he’s clutch and has ridiculous 3 range which no one else on our team has

    • DAN

      Frank, don’t think Sacto would like that deal.
      Not sure what all the love is for Iggy. Dude”s 28 averaged 12 pts last year, has never scored over 20 pg and is not a true star. Now he is a good player and great defender but I don’t see him as much of an upgrade over what we have.
      How about Gay? He is younger and would fit our system very well. He is a player that has real star potential but just hasn’t fit in since he got hurt and Memphis made their run 2 years ago. Have heard rumors that he might be available. Could be interesting…

      • ThomasDenverFan

        Gay wouldn’t be a bad pick if your not an Iggy fan either way it would be a good pick up

    • Colby

      I would love it if they traded for Evans. That would be a great move!

    • Young Pep Dash

      Ya had me until you said Gallo was clutch…


      I must have missed that. I only remember him crumbling under the pressure against the lakers and hitting one lucky off balance three against the hawks where he just threw the ball up with his eyes closed

      • Frank

        I’m sorry I made you spit out your coffee, but Gallo is as clutch as we’ve got. If you’re telling me theres someone else you’d want taking a crunch time 3 I’m all ears. We NEED Gallo without his ball handling and shot creation we’d be a lottery team next year FOR SURE.

        I don’t need to belabor this point because Masai’s a smart dude so there’s no chance we’re trading Gallo. I do like swapping Afflalo for Tyreke A LOT though

        • Mikey K

          Clutch three at the buzzer? I’d want Lawson or AAA taking that shot. Gallo is 3rd option. If Harrington’s having one of THOSE nights, I’d want him above any of the three, but since those come once every twenty or so games, I’ll go Ty or AAA first.

    • dynamo.joe

      Tyreke shot 20% from 3 last year. He also turns the ball over twice as much as AAA. Those 2 facts trump all the other areas in which he is superior to Arron.

  • owen

    Hey alrightttt henry abbott repost on espn denbutsu!

    • John

      Nice… Straight to the bigs… Good work, denbutsu!

  • Young Pep Dash

    A team like Philadelphia is not going to give up Iguodala for a bunch of B grade pieces when they are already loaded with players similar to chandler and afflalo. Unless you give them a big (don’t tell me Mozgov or Koufos, I mean a legitimate starter), a star or a high pick in return they aren’t giving up Iggy.

    Also Big Al still has minimal trade value especially to the teams which fans have suggested. For example, what is the motivation for Atlanta to give us an all star like j smith or horford for one or two of our wings and harrington. What would a team that would have a starting lineup of say teague, korver, chandler, horford, pachulia want with a veteren role player with bad knees. They aren’t pushing for the playoffs

    I’m basically saying think about how the other team has to also agree to a trade. What is the motivation of teams to give up their best player for a bunch of above average role players. THINK ABOUT IT

    • chugfish

      For realz. Most of these trades be cray.

  • smar

    any possibility that denver trades Andre Miller once juliyan stone gets healthy and dre is eligible to be traded? he could be great for a team team on the brink of contention like the pacers

    • smar

      he could be of value to philly too

  • smar

    maybe even a 3 team deal with philly and toronto sending calderon to philly AI to DEN

  • bballin

    I agree with Frank on this one. Gallo is as clutch of a player as we have. I think if anyone is expendable and good trade value it’s Chandler, if JHam can get some PT he might be as good or better then Chandler. He can get to the rim while actually having an outside shot. While Gallo drives me nuts with that Euro league garbage D, I still think he has a lot of room to improve and needs this year to stay injury free and become the player that most everyone sees in him.
    I also like the idea of trading for Evans, provided we don’t have to give up the farm for him. A change of scenery could do him some good, but he’s been known to be a cancer in the locker room and the last thing this team needs is a diva. If we can get him on the cheap and leave ourselves room to cut him if he sucks I think it’s a good move. Prove to us he wants to be here, kinda like McGeezy did this year.

  • Alex

    You know who denver really needs to provide scoring, the ability to create his own shot, and hard nosed defense as well as compliment the current Core of Lawson, AAA, Faried and McGee?

    LeBron James. I know it would never happen because Miami just won, but imagine if they had lost to OKC.

    Denver could offer Gallo/Chandler, Mozgov/Koufos, Brewer, Hamilton, and picks for LeBron.

    His style of play would perfectly compliment the fast pace of Ty, Faried and McGee.

    Back to reality now…

  • Amazingmazy

    Possible trades:

    AAA, brewer for harden and 2nd rounder
    Manimal, chandler for jsmoove
    Manimal, brewer, chandler for k love

    • ThomasDenverFan

      Maybe the brewer AAA for harden but no to the others. if it is for jsmooth it would more than likely have to be gallo. i think they would rather have him and instead of animal put K2 in there. just don’t want to give animal up. plus Jsmooth can play the sf i think it is he true position anyways

    • Zack

      I don’t see OKC taking this trade. And I don’t know if the Nuggets would want to do it. Then you gotta pay Harden (and after paying Lawson we’ll be paying the tax).

      • eddi0

        Salaries likely would even out, Harden will likely get $7-9M/yr and AAA + Brewer would definitely be in that range. That is how you do it though, upgrade talent and keep salaries at or below same level by doing 2 for 1 trades. Seriously doubt OKC would ever let Harden go though, he’s a rising star but prob should be a starter on any other team (not a 6th man). Harden or Paul George is who I would be going after if I was Masai…just my opinion.

        • dynamo.joe

          The best 2 guard in the league is worth $7-9M?

          I would be astounded if Harden gets less than $12M and the only reason he won’t be north of $14M is because of his sub-par play in the finals.

          to the OP: I wouldn’t give up Faried for anyone this side of LeBron.

  • A$AP Sancho

    Just break the bank for James Harden next year.

  • Amazingmazy

    Based on replies 3 other trades

    AAA and chandler, mozgov for iggy(Philly doesn’t want him)

    Gallo, AAA, faired for jsmoove (atlanta might trade him v.i.a bleacher report)

    Brewer, Gallo, chandler, faired, AAA for love and 2013 first rounder (not a deep draft so it’s fair)

    • Daniel Y

      That Kevin Love trade makes zero sense. Minnesota would be taking back like 15 million dollars, the nuggets would have two rookies and a second year player for their wings, and Kevin Love is a complete douche bag.

  • Avarice

    Trade seems like a reasonable conclusion. Nuggs have top ten depth at all 5 positions, so I dont see a lot of room for dramatic improvement unless they trade for an allstar- and I can only come up with a few teams that would part with one for added depth. Two or 3 legit starters should be a fair trade for an allstar player. Lakers, Atlanta, Miami? I would love to get Bosh though I doubt they would trade him. I think Gasol and Josh Smith need to be on the Nuggets radars.

  • Warren

    This trade passes ESPN’s NBA Trade Machine…

    Nuggets Trade:
    -A. Harrington, PF — $6,687,400
    -W. Chandler, SF — 5,930,414
    -T. Mozgov, C — 3,140,429

    To Orlando Magic FOR:
    -D. Howard, C — $19,536,360

    Projected Wins for Nuggets next season, increase by +11 after this trade. They are projected to win 52 games next season before this trade, so their projected wins after this trade would be 63 Wins. That’s elite and NBA Title type of stuff.

    Here’s the link to the NBA Trade Machine URL for this proposed trade:

    • tommy

      and Orlando accept that because…

    • Joel

      To trade for Dwight (right now), we’d have to basically trade everyone that we didn’t just sign since they want to get rid of Turkoglu and both Richardsons

      That would mean getting rid of Gallo, Chandler, Mozgov, Afflalo, Harrington, and Brewer all for a guy who says he’ll just leave and will saddle us with Turkoglu’s terrible contract. In addition, we’d probably need to throw in a couple of first round picks.

      If we hold off til January, it’d get a little more interesting (for the Nuggets) since we could trade Javale McGee and maybe Andre Miller and keep at least Afflalo and probably Chandler

      • Joel

        Being realistic, they probably wouldn’t value Andre Miller so if he were included, it would totally be as salary cap fodder. The trade would center around McGee+Gallo

        • bballin

          The bottom line is that Howard would never resign in Denver it’s down to LA and Brooklyn. Giving up any amount of talent for a half season rental is asinine.

  • Amazingmazy
  • Warren

    Dwight Howard has an expiring contract. He’s not going to agree to a sign and trade with Denver. The proposed trade I linked above, if giving Orlando 3 very quality players, all under contract for the next 2-4 years, at reasonable salaries.

    You’ll see, Dwight Howard will get traded for less, or for one higher performance player also under an expiring contract.

    My proposal is totally reasonable.

    • bballin

      There’s nothing in this trade for us is the problem. Wilson Chandler is a valuable trade asset. Why would we give him up for a rental on Howard? So we can make a run at OKC and LA? There’s no guarantee we would even make it out of the west with Howard. We’d make it interesting sure, but OKC and arguably the Lakers have just as formidable lineups.
      The likely hood of a “super star” staying in Denver is minimal. We need to use Chandler (and the other pieces in a trade) for the next tier of star. Some who we can count on when we NEED a bucket or defensive stop. Someone who is almost a super star but with our supporting cast can get him there.

    • Joel

      If Orlando wanted reasonable, they’d already have taken Houston’s offer as it does everything Denver could legitimately do and more. The fact is, they want to use the Dwight Howard trade to empty their team of all big contracts plus take back good young players and high draft picks.

  • smar

    OJ mayo would be perfect for the nuggets but no way mephis gives him up

    • Austin

      OJ is part of the Mavericks

      • smar

        meant rudy gay my bad

        • Mikey K

          And I haven’t heard anything to say he couldn’t be had…