Paul Millsap trade rumors persist despite Atlanta’s reported hesitation, and it is very easy to see why many NBA franchises would like to get their hands on one of the league’s 20 best players. One team included in the whispers surrounding Millsap has been the Denver Nuggets and, frankly, that makes a ton of sense.
It’s fair to suggest that Millsap doesn’t fit Denver’s timeline perfectly as he’ll hit free agency this summer at the age of 32. In the same breath, the Nuggets have a myriad of young, cost-controlled assets that could be packaged and that could provide a match with the Hawks in a perfect way.
More than that, though, is that the Nuggets absolutely need to make a trade. Really. Any trade.
Denver has dropped five straight games to sink to a 14-23 mark on the season. On the bright side, that places the Nuggets just a stone’s throw from the eighth spot in the jumbled West. On the negative side, that is a fairly dismal mark for a team that many suggested could have playoff potential this season.
The pieces just don’t fit in optimal fashion. Denver has been a darling in this space throughout the season as a team with a roster full of intriguing pieces. However, Nikola Jokic and Jusuf Nurkic don’t function well together, the Nuggets have a collection of oddly fitting pieces on wing (Gary Harris, Malik Beasley, Jamal Murray, etc.), and the point guard position has been a disappointment with the continued floundering of Emmanuel Mudiay.
What should the Nuggets do? There is a rational argument against packaging pieces for the right to pay Paul Millsap $150-plus million from the ages of 32 through 36. What there isn’t an argument for is simply holding the line with fingers crossed that this collection of talent will somehow mesh before the middle of February. Denver has the pieces of a playoff team, even in 2016-2017, but the best way to unlock them is to clear the deck to some extent. Until then, this five-game losing streak is probably a harbinger of ugliness to come.