Denver is a team in transition. What they are transitioning too is a question nobody around the league can answer, Denver appears a confused mess. But they are transitioning.
With that, basically their entire roster is available via trade — including quality players such as Ty Lawson and Kenneth Faried. That is in addition to the often rumored Arron Afflalo and Wilson Chandler, who have been shopped for a while.
Zach Lowe of Grantland had his usual, fantastic breakdown of Denver approaching the trade deadline.
They’ve been seeking multiple first-round picks for both Wilson Chandler and Arron Afflalo, talking with obvious contender types like the Blazers and ambulance-chasing with banged-up playoff teams like the Wizards. Snagging two firsts for Timofey Mozgov emboldened the Denver front office to chase big returns, and the rest of the league is waiting for Denver to step back as the deadline approaches. Anyone could have JaVale McGee for a fruit basket.
The more interesting questions surround Ty Lawson and Kenneth Faried. Denver isn’t shopping those guys, but Jusuf Nurkic is the only true untouchable on the roster, per several league sources who have dealt with the Nuggets. The sense around the league is that you could land Lawson or Faried with a Godfather offer. They are gettable. Boston and Denver have had exploratory talks about Lawson, per several sources.
Lawson isn’t inexpensive — he is owed $25.6 million total for two seasons after this one — but he provides production on the court. He is averaging 16.9 points and more than 10 assists a game, and especially in a more up-tempo system he could be a key part of a quality team.
It’s much harder to imagine Faried getting moved. Never say never, but four-year, $50 million extension kicks in next season, which is going to scare teams off. Faried brings energy through that points (15.4 a game) and rebounds (11 a game). But he’s not a guy you run the offense through, he’s best suited to be the third option on a team. Picture how he played so well for Team USA last summer because defenses had to focus on James Harden, Anthony Davis, and others — that opened up room for Faried to do his thing. That thing is valuable, but teams will balk at the price tag.
More likely is Denver taking back less than it is asking now to move Afflalo or Wilson. Those talks are still going on but are not yet heated, reports Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.
Denver is the poster child for this coming trade deadline — they are talking to a lot of teams about a lot of different players, but they are not likely to get a deal done before the Feb. 19. Maybe they pull off a small deal, but it’s not going to be the big deals we used to see at the deadline.