Could Cleveland (which is still bitter about the missed opportunity) and Denver (which should be thrilled it signed Paul Millsap outright rather than trading assets for Love) connect on a trade that actually happens?
Denver’s primary playmaker is a center, Nikola Jokic. Irving, oft-criticized for lacking full point-guard skills, could fit well with him offensively.
Plus, the Nuggets have plenty of other intriguing assets worthy of Irving. Jamal Murray and Gary Harris stand out. Wilson Chandler and Will Barton could help make salaries match and upgrade the Cavs’ wing depth. Denver also has all its first-round picks.
I hear Denver will not give up Murray and Harris in a deal.
Are the Nuggets refusing to trade Murray and Harris in a package – or is neither player available, even separately? Again, this is the type of detail that gets clouded as trade negotiations get leaked.
Both Murray and Harris would be a high price to pay for Irving, but Irving is more valuable than each individually. Even though Irving is unwilling to provide assurances beyond his current contract, which he can opt out of in two years, Denver is good enough to capitalize on his talent right now. The Nuggets can assess how much they value the present vs. the future, but with Millsap and Jokic, this is a team ready to make noise.
If Denver isn’t willing to trade Murray and Harris for Irving, OK. But if the Nuggets aren’t willing to trade Murray or Harris – and Jokic looks even more untouchable – for Irving, I don’t see how a deal gets done.