The theory goes like this: If the Denver Nuggets are going to trade Carmelo Anthony, then they are going to strip the roster down and rebuild. That means Chauncey Billups is gets moved, it means J.R. Smith is out and maybe more. In the NBA you sell the fan base one of two things — winning with stars or hope. If the Nuggets are going to trade their star, they better start selling young players and hope.
With that background we give you this nugget from Chris Sherridan at ESPN:
The Nuggets have talked with the Chicago Bulls about a trade for J.R. Smith.
It’s the trade season when everybody talks to everybody about everyone, so don’t put too much stock in this. That said, it makes some sense because Smith might fit well with the Bulls as a shooter off the bench, bringing some feistiness and a neck tattoo with him. George Karl and Smith butted heads countless times and Tom Thibodeau may or may not want more of the same. But you can see where Smith fits on a team that fancies itself in the Eastern elite (even if it is not).
What you can really take away from this is the Nuggets are laying the groundwork for a major roster shakeup after an Anthony trade. If there is one. If the two sides can agree on New Jersey. But clearly the Nuggets are thinking about a Melo-less future and are doing some planning for it.