Upgrade Your Fandom

Join the Ultimate Denver nuggets Community!

Roundtable: did the Denver Nuggets win the trade deadline?

Brendan Vogt Avatar
March 25, 2021

The Denver Nuggets were the belle of the ball Thursday afternoon as we reached the NBA Trade Deadline. After acquiring center JaVale McGee from the Cleveland Cavaliers in exchange for Isaiah Hartenstein and two second-round picks (one of which is protected), the Denver Nuggets made a big splash. The second deal: Gary Harris, RJ Hampton, and a protected 2025 first-round pick to the Orlando Magic in exchange for Aaron Gordon.

Let’s go around the table:

It was a relatively quiet trade deadline, but the Nuggets made a big splash by acquiring Gordon. Did they win the deadline?

Brendan Vogt: The only team that might’ve made a bigger splash is Chicago. AK did well to upgrade at center and add another all-star alongside Zach LaVine. But the reality is this moniker belongs to a contender with the best chance of shaking up the title picture. Among those in contention, or at least on the fringes, only Denver took a home run swing. They won this deadline.

All that said don’t overlook the Los Angeles Clippers adding Rajon Rondo. They needed a point guard, and Rondo still has gas left in the tank. See the Western Conference Finals.

Harrison Wind: Out of the the teams that I currently consider true Western Conference contenders (Lakers, Clippers, Jazz), the Nuggets made by far the most impactful acquisition. The Jazz stood pat. So did the Lakers, although their biggest pickup could come via the buyout market with Andre Drummond. The Clippers added Rajon Rondo, and although he’ll fill their obvious hole at point guard, it’s difficult imagining him making a bigger impact in LA than Gordon will make in Denver.

The Nuggets needed another difference-maker to become true contenders. In a year where the Lakers — at least right now — seem vulnerable, Denver signaled to the rest of the league that it’s serious about pushing for a Finals berth.

With knowledge of the subsequent move, is the JaVale McGee trade significant?

Vogt: It can’t hurt. The Nuggets will probably have to adjust the end of the rotation on a game-to-game basis. Certain matchups might call for more McGee, others Millsap. But Denver needed rim protection, and that’s something McGee provides. While it sounds almost counterintuitive to refer to McGee as a veteran presence in the locker room, he’s experienced and matured plenty since his initial tenure here. McGee knows how champions carry themselves. That can’t hurt either.

Wind: Trading for McGee is a move that comes with zero risk. He’ll give the Nuggets more length, which they really lacked, and a shot-blocking presence on their second unit. He’s a veteran who’s played on championship teams in the past and knows his role when surrounded by elite players. That’s the situation he’ll be in with the Nuggets. If the Lakers sign Andre Drummond, McGee will be a valuable off-the-bench piece in a series between Denver and Los Angeles.

What did they miss out on today? Is there a particular player or archetype they failed to acquire?

Vogt: The Nuggets improved defensively, but they didn’t add any perimeter defense, and they shipped out their best perimeter defender. Lonzo Ball always seemed a pipe dream but had they found a way to get it done — I’d be ready to stamp this deadline with an A+. There’s also still a consolidation issue. Depending on how they use McGee, there’s a log jam of available forwards/bigs in Denver.

Wind: The Nuggets will miss Gary Harris’ on-ball defense and don’t currently have a guard on their roster who’s as consistent and reliable of a defender as he was. Denver will need Facu Campazzo and PJ Dozier to step up, particularly Dozier. Lonzo Ball would have been the perfect piece, but it’s pretty clear from the Pelicans’ decision to hold onto Ball that no team wanted to give up anything of significance for what was potentially going be a two-month rental.

I’m slightly more concerned about a potential playoff matchup against the Jazz (Donovan Mitchell) or Blazers (Damian Lillard) than I was prior to losing Harris. But then again, Harris’ health is always a huge question mark and you can make the argument that by adding Gordon, Denver is a more versatile defensive team now than it was 24 hours ago.

Should the Nuggets get involved in the buyout market?

Vogt: Mike Singer of the Denver Post already tweeted about Avery Bradley. It’s unlikely that A.) Denver lands a buyout guy. And B.) that any buyout guy moves the proverbial needle. I don’t expect this to come to fruition.

Wind: Sure, why not Avery Bradley. Otto Porter would have been a good fit if Denver didn’t acquire Aaron Gordon, but now he’d be redundant.

What does this mean for Will Barton III and Bol Bol?

Vogt: Barton probably slides down to starting SG in return to his natural position. The human element here is important. Barton lost out on contributing to a deep playoff run, lost the fans’ favor (he’s spoken candidly about this in the past), and now survived deadline rumors. He’s got his starting spot back, but there’s plenty for him to navigate.

How Bol responds to this will dictate his future with the Nuggets, assuming they haven’t made up their minds already. Valid questions are surrounding Bol’s engagement level, and those questions are critical now. He won’t get any playing time this season, and patience remains a virtue. Is he willing to do this uphill climb back into Malone’s favor and Denver’s plans? He might just move in the next window.

Wind: I think Barton will be the Nuggets’ starting two guard going forward, and Denver’s offense will continue to push for the No. 1 Offensive Rating. As for Bol, I’m still convinced that with his talent and length there’s still a role for him in the league, but it’s looking less and less likely that he finds that role in Denver. I’m mildly surprised that he wasn’t traded today.


Share your thoughts

Join the conversation

The Comment section is only for diehard members

Open comments +

Scroll to next article

Don't like ads?
Don't like ads?
Don't like ads?