Report: Wizards, Pelicans have called Nuggets about Will Barton trade

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Do the Denver Nuggets want to trade Will Barton? The Nuggets are just half a game back of Portland for the eighth seed in the West, they have found a new starting lineup and rotation that seems to work — it includes Barton as the backup small forward — and Barton is giving them 14 points a night and is hitting his threes.

If they are open to the idea, other teams are interested, reports Chris Haynes of ESPN.

Barton missed 11 games this season after spraining his ankle on Halloween, but of late his athleticism is back, and he is making plays at the rim.

I get why teams are calling about Barton — he’s a solid contributor making just $3.5 million a year, and he is locked in for next season at that price. In theory, with the emergence of Jamal Murray and having Gary Harris on the roster, Barton is expendable for Denver.

But again, if the Nuggets are serious about making the playoffs, why move him? Whatever combination of players and picks that would come back in a deal wouldn’t be able to contribute as much as Barton can right now. The Nuggets aren’t on the “stockpile” picks part of the rebuilding curve anymore, they want players. Good ones to give up Barton. And that is the ultimate question: What can Washington, New Orleans, or anyone else offer Denver that helps the Nuggets today? I’m not sure there’s an answer for that, but the calls will continue.