Unbeknownst to most, the Denver Nuggets have a $7.4 million dollar trade exception set to expire at midnight tomorrow night from the Allen Iverson trade. In addition, they also have a $3.6 million and a $3.3 million exception in their back pocket from the trades of Steven Hunter and Chucky Atkins, respectively.
For those of you who don’t know, a trade exception allows a team to acquire more in salaries than what they would send to another team in a trade scenario.
Normally, salaries would have to be within 125 percent of each other in order to be considered qualified trades, but this exception would give the Nuggets a way to circumvent that salary cap rule.
These exceptions would allow Denver additional flexibility in the types of deals they would be able to make since they wouldn’t have to match up salaries in a trade. It also creates a situation where it is easier to use draft picks as trade bait, since draft picks are worth no cash value.
While off to an amazing start, there are still some holes I see in this team that lead me to believe they are not quite of championship caliber. The most glaring weaknesses are the lack of quality rebounding, shallow frontcourt depth, and a shortage of outside shooting threats.
Their weaknesses could and should be addressed immediately in order to take this team to the next level.
Mark Warkentein, Nuggets Vice President of Basketball Operations and reigning NBA Executive of the Year, made a bold move last year at this same time to acquire Chauncey Billups, and we have all seen the impact that he has had on the Nuggets.
He has already stated publicly that he would not be shy about pulling the trigger on another deal if he felt it would make his team better.
Well, I have just the right deal that would address all their issues, and would immediately make the Nuggets a top three team.
It would be a three team deal involving the Denver Nuggets, Golden State Warriors, and the Toronto Raptors. In addition to simply making the Nuggets better, the moves would address concerns for both the Warriors and the Raptors as well.
In this deal, Golden State would receive Kenyon Martin, J.R. Smith, and Malik Allen from the Nuggets and would ship Stephen Jackson and Anthony Morrow to Denver and Monta Ellis and Andris Biedrins to Toronto.
This would allow the Warriors to grant Jackson his trade demand and eliminate the possibility of that situation getting out of control.
The addition of Martin would immediately improve their defense in the frontcourt and would give them an additional big man capable of running the floor in Nellie's frantic offense. His substantial salary would also be coming off the books in two years.
This would open up the possibilities for Golden State to become serious players in the underrated 2011 free agent sweepstakes to make a play at players such as Tony Parker, Pau Gasol, Caron Butler, David West, and Yao Ming.
J.R. Smith would fit right into the Nellie system and would thrive in the fast break heavy offense. He would immediately compensate for the departure of Monta Ellis and would allow Stephen Curry to take ownership of the point.
Malik Allen would basically be a filler. He has a modest contract that would expire after this season plus he could provide some veteran leadership and some tough minutes in the paint.
Toronto would receive Andris Biedrins and Monta Ellis from Golden State and would ship Chris Bosh and Reggie Evans to Denver.
As is well known, Chris Bosh will be a free agent after this season and has about as much chance at resigning with the Raptors as Jennifer Anniston has at keeping a boyfriend. Instead of losing Bosh with nothing to show for it, this would allow them to get two All-Star caliber players in return that would fit nicely into their plans.
Biedrins is a versatile big man capable of playing both the center and power forward positions. He is a good shot blocker and rebounder and has the potential to be a double-double contributor.
Before his ankle injury last year, Biedrins was averaging 15.6 points and 12.3 rebounds per contest. He would immediately make up for much of the production they would be losing with Bosh.
The addition of Monta Ellis would give the Raptors some much needed scoring from the guard position. He would likely get a lot of playing time at both the point and the two guard spot and would immediately become their top scorer and would give the Raptors the versatility they are looking to establish with their lineup.
To recap, the Nuggets would receive Stephen Jackson and Anthony Morrow from Golden State and Chris Bosh and Reggie Evans from Toronto.
The Nuggets would use their $3.3 million trade exception in order to acquire Morrow's salary and Stephen Jackson's and Chris Bosh's salary would be compensated for by the departure of Kenyon Martin's $15.8 million contract and J.R. Smith's $6.1 million contract.
The addition of Chris Bosh alone would make the Nuggets a frightening team. Bosh might be the most versatile and athletic power forward in the league. He would immediately improve their rebounding ability, and would give them a true offensive presence at the power forward position.
Bosh is a perennial All-Star and would be a scary pairing with Carmelo and Nene.
Stephen Jackson is a solid NBA player and would improve the Nuggets in many ways. He plays good perimeter defense, is a good passer, and thrives in the transition game. He would give the Nuggets another outside shooting threat on the fast break and off of the pick-and-roll.
He could give 'Melo a breather at the small forward or he could log some minutes at the shooting guard. Jackson would give the Nuggets a versatile guard/forward combo and could be utilized in numerous ways.
The additions of Morrow and Evans would receive much less fan fare, but would certainly be important additions.
Morrow is one of the most lethal shooters in the league. He would immediately improve the Nuggets three-point shooting and would spread the floor for 'Melo and Billups to drive to the rim.
Reggie Evans is a physical force in the paint and is one of the best rebounders in the NBA. He would give the Nuggets good frontcourt depth and would significantly improve their offensive and defensive rebounding, which would lead to many fast break points. Evans would be a key piece to the Nuggets bench.
The Nuggets are already a good team as currently constructed, but to truly compete with the NBA elite (i.e. Lakers, Spurs, Celtics, and Magic), there needs to be another season changing move made by the front office.
The additions of Bosh, Jackson, Morrow, and Evans would instantly elevate them to elite status and would make them one of the deepest teams in the league.
24 hours and counting. I'm crossing my fingers, hoping that a deal will be made.