J.R. Smith may be on his way out in Denver

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NBA FanHouse reports that the Nuggets are considering trading volatile guard J.R. Smith. Smith has been on the block off and on, but as Chris Tomasson of FanHouse reports, Smith’s biggest proponent is no longer in charge, clearing the way for a move.

There have been trade rumors before about Smith since he joined the
Nuggets in 2006, but they have lacked validity since Mark Warkentien,
once Denver’s vice president of basketball operations, was adamant about
not trading Smith. But Warkentien’s contract was not renewed earlier
this month and Smith’s biggest supporter was gone. It was Warkentien who
acquired Smith in 2006 from Chicago for the low price of two
second-round picks and the non-guaranteed contract of Howard Eisley, who
was waived.

The possibility of this move along isn’t shocking, considering Smith’s on and off-court behavior. Notorious for his off-court escapades and absent conscience in shot selection, Smith has been difficult for the Nuggets to integrate successfully and though he’s been fine at his current price, any increase in salary for his new contract due this summer makes too high of a price for a team in transition.

The bigger impact here is that this is another Nugget potentially being moved. The Nuggets are supposed to be gearing up for another run at a title after a promising 2009 season, despite falling flat in 2010. But after the rumors of Carmelo Anthony’s desire to relocate, and the possibility that Chauncey Billups may not want to stick around for a rebuilding effort, and now the possibility of Smith also being moved, there’s a shadow diagram behind the contending blueprint.

It’s a design for rebuilding, in the classic firesale mode. That new GM job keeps looking more and more attractive, doesn’t it?