As the rumors and rumblings surrounding a potential Anthony Davis trade pick up steam, they’ve primarily been focused on a select group of teams. And to this point, one of those teams has not been the Denver Nuggets. But it seems there’s a belief the Nuggets could be a possible option to take the dive into talks, throwing their hat into the ring against the Los Angeles Lakers and company.
Although it’s unknown what the Nuggets would offer for the New Orleans Pelicans star, rumors have slowly ramped up that Denver could be a name to monitor. As The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor first reported, front office executives believe they are the “off-the-radar” team who could make a deal happen for Davis.
“But the Nuggets are considered by front-office executives as the off-the-radar team that actually has the assets to complete a deal, should they choose to enter the sweepstakes.” O’Connor details.
It’s an interesting and understandable point, as the Nuggets have an intriguing amount of young talent which could be put into a potential deal.
What Nuggets Could Send in Anthony Davis Trade
All trade talks are hypothetical at this point simply due to the unknown of what types of deals could be put on the table from opposing teams. One thing we do know is that shortly after the trade request from Davis came to light, Brad Turner of the Los Angeles Times reported a package from the Lakers would have to “start” with Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma, Ivica Zubac and a first-round pick.
Based on that, the Nuggets would almost certainly have to include at least one or two first-round picks. That’s a unique situation as they traded a first-rounder to the Brooklyn Nets, but it’s top-12 protected through the 2024 NBA Draft. At that point, if the pick hasn’t been sent to the Nets, it would become 2024 and 2025 second-round selections, per Real GM. Obviously, the Nuggets look playoff bound currently, so the pick would be available this year.
Beyond that, you’d have to wonder the stance on Nikola Jokic, but I think it’s unlikely the Nuggets move their young center in the deal. They have other pieces who could be added, including the likes of Jamal Murray, Will Barton, Gary Harris, Malik Beasley, or expiring contracts such as Paul Millsap and Mason Plumlee.
Rookie first-round pick Michael Porter Jr. could be an interesting trade chip, although his timeline for return with a back injury will be an interesting point.
Potential Nuggets Trade for Anthony Davis
Note: Deal created with ESPN’s NBA Trade Machine.
*Nuggets send a future first-round draft pick to Pelicans
Much of a possible Nuggets-Pelicans deal for Davis depends on how the Pelicans view the assets on Denver’s roster, which of course can be said about all trade offers. But a decision such as whether to include Barton or Harris would be a talking point, as well as how the Pelicans view Porter Jr., who’s been dealing with back issues since college. He played just three games for the Univesity of Missouri before going pro.
Prior to injuries, Porter was widely expected to be the No. 1 pick in the 2018 NBA Draft and averaged 36.2 points with 13.6 rebounds during his senior season in high school. He’d be a solid addition for the Pelicans, but they’d have to be patient when it comes to his return.
Murray would likely be a sticking point in any deal, as his value and upside seem to be rapidly increasing. Through 47 games this season, the third-year guard is averaging career-highs in points (18.5), assists (4.9) and rebounds (4.4) per game. He’s also an inexpensive piece (for now) who can help the team have success in the immediate future.