Trade season is in full swing. Mason Plumlee started out this season in a Blazers uniform, and now he’s sporting Nuggets gold and sky blue. Meanwhile, Jusuf Kurkic has packed up his bags and made his way over to Portland. And, if rumors are any indication, Danilo Gallinari could be next on the Denver Nuggets trading block.
Gallinari first wound up with the Denver Nuggets in 2010. He was part of the package that sent Carmelo Anthony to the New York Knicks.
But now, ESPN columnist Marc Stein is suggesting that he could be sent to either LA or Toronto next. According to his column:
The Raptors and Clippers are among the teams said to be monitoring Gallinari’s availability, amid a growing belief that Denver is prepared to move him, given that the Nuggets anticipate that Gallinari will bypass the final season of his current contract (valued at $16.1 million) and join Millsap on the open market…
Which Way To Swing
Gallinari has value as an offensive weapon, one of the Nuggets’ best swing men in recent years. A trade to the Clippers or Raptors would give either team a respective boost in firepower for their playoff pushes.
Both of those teams are in similar boats right now: They started the season strong, cutting themselves a niche as a Top-2 team in their respective conferences. However, they’ve recently fallen into slumps due to unfortunate combinations of bad injuries (Chris Paul and DeMar DeRozan) and bad play. Now, both teams are hanging on for home court advantage in the first round.
The Clippers have long been connected to a potential Carmelo Anthony trade. But now that it seems like Carmelo’s not going anywhere, they could pursue Gallinari instead – a fair alternative. Denver Stiffs suggests a package of Austin Rivers in exchange, with Brice Johnson and Alan Anderson tossed in for salary fillers.
The Raptors, meanwhile, could offer young any combination of Terrence Ross, Cory Joseph, and Jared Sullinger for Gallinari. None of them are older than 26 years old have plenty of potential that Denver can unlock in its way back to the top.
Denver Nuggets – How Does The Future Look?
Speaking of which, what is Denver’s way to get back to the top? At this time, they’re not yet capable of jumping the hurdles to make it to the second round of the Playoffs, but that’s okay. That’s exactly Nuggets owner Josh Kroenke’s plan: wait to build a contender before trying to leap that hurdle.
In a 2016 interview with the Denver Post, Kroenke stated, “I don’t want a team that is one and done every year.” In order to jump that hurdle, the Denver Nuggets need talent to grow in their own backyard. Kenneth Faried and Wilson Chandler are still on board as veterans to lead the way. And, since they’ve been smart in curbing their spending when they know they won’t break through (pretty much the anti-Knicks in that regard), the team also has plenty of cap space for a huge free agent.
Denver’s future has the potential to be bright. They have the space on their payroll, and they have time on their side. But they need to land the right players too, if they want to compete once again.