Denver has an abundance of guys they like on the wing — Malik Beasley, Juancho Hernangomez, Torrey Craig, Michael Porter Jr. — and over the course of the season coach Mike Malone has cycled through all of them.
With wing being a position of need around the league, that depth has teams eyeing the Nuggets as a trade partner. While he hasn’t blossomed yet, the Nuggets have too much invested in Porter Jr. to trade him. Craig’s defense would be critical in the playoffs against either of the Los Angeles teams (and if the Nuggets want to get past the second round they likely need to beat one of those teams), so it would take a lot for Denver to move him.
That leaves Beasley and Hernangomez, and the Nuggets are open to moving either of their restricted free agents, but the price will be high, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic.
The Nuggets has been open to discussing deals around young talents Malik Beasley and Juancho Hernangomez, but have asked for a high value ahead of the February trade deadline, according to sources. Rival team executives in Las Vegas said they expect both could be moved in order for Denver to receive value prior to restricted free agency. Beasley and Hernangomez are expected to command lucrative deals in free agency, meaning the Nuggets risk losing them in July…
Beasley, 23, is coveted as a potential starting two-guard on the open market — with size, skill and shooting. Several teams with cap space in July, such as Cleveland, could make sense for him. Hernangomez, 24, is a versatile and valued forward for any team, and could be a major boost for contenders.
What would Denver want back? It traded its last two first-round picks, so the Nuggets may be open to restocking that way. Or, the franchise could combine one of them with another sizable contract — say Mason Plumlee‘s $14 million expiring deal — to land a bigger fish, a stretch four that they need. (The problem with moving Plumlee is then Denver would not have a good backup center option behind Nikola Jokic.)
With Jamal Murray‘s max extension kicking in next season and the need to re-sign or replace Paul Millsap, the Nuggets will have limited money to spend. It means the Nuggets may not have (or be willing to spend) a lot of money to match a Beasley or Hernangomez offer sheet from another team next summer. It makes sense for Denver to try and trade at least one of the two and focus on retaining the other.
But getting a deal put together is hard. We’ll see if Denver can find one before the Feb. 6 trade deadline.