After trade talks involving Jimmy Butler and the Bulls and Paul George and the Pacers broke down, the Cleveland Cavaliers appeared to be out of the running for adding another superstar to the roster in their quest to shorten the gap with the Warriors. The Cavs had reportedly failed to find a third team that would give up the necessary young assets to the Pacers or Bulls in exchange for Kevin Love to land George or Butler.
Butler has since been traded to the Timberwolves, but George remains the most available star on the market right now, and according to Marc Stein and Chris Haynes of ESPN, the Cavaliers are back in discussions about PG-13. In order to make that deal happen, the Cavs need another dance partner in the mix and may have found one in the Denver Nuggets.
According to Stein and Haynes, the talks were fairly serious on draft night, although they never got to a completed deal, but the Cavaliers remain aggressive in their pursuit of George. The Nuggets have been long rumored to be trying to shed Kenneth Faried’s salary as he fell out of favor in Denver, and this deal could provide a way out of his deal and land the Nuggets a stretch four to place next to Nikola Jokic in Kevin Love that they desperately need. All it will cost them are some young or future assets, that would go to the Pacers.
We don’t know exactly what Nuggets assets have been discussed, but we know from the rumors about Denver looking at Jimmy Butler that Jokic won’t be involved and Stein confirmed that Jokic and Jamal Murray are untouchable in trade talks. That means discussions likely focus on one of Denver’s other, lesser young players, like Juancho Hernangomez, Emmanuel Mudiay, or Gary Harris (the best of the trio), could be coupled with veterans like Faried and Wilson Chandler to match salaries, plus possible future picks moving.
The Cavs may have let draft night come and go without making a splash, but it’s clear that the interim regime in Cleveland isn’t going to wait on Chauncey Billups to make up his mind on taking over or not. They are pushing forward with efforts to land a star right now, and finding a potential third party in Denver is a major step.