Denver Nuggets Offseason: Should Linas Kleiza be Traded?

Sean StancillSenior Writer IJune 10, 2008

The Nuggets decided not to trade Lithuanian SF Linas Kleiza at the deadline because of personal ties to the organization and his tremendous upside.


Kleiza averaged 11.1 PPG, 4.2 RPG, and 1.2 APG during the regular season and14 PPG, 6.5 RPG, and 0.8 APG against the Los Angeles Lakers in the first round of the playoffs. 


Here are several trades that will address the Nuggets' needs through the departure of Kleiza:


1. Linas Kleiza for Shaun Livingston


Simple: the Nuggets need a point guard and the Clippers need scoring, as they were the third worst in the league at 98.8 points per game.


When healthy, Shaun Livingston was one of the best young point guards in the league, with his ability to control the tempo of the game, find ways to get his teammates involved, and still manage to score the basketball. 



2. Linas Kleiza 20th pick for Josh Howard


The Mavericks are obviously fed up with Howard's antics, so I believe this is all it would take. After Howard's highly publicized drug acknowledgemnt, his lackluster performances, and his personal life clashing with the NBA season, a change of venues might help him.


Dallas only has one pick in the draft, No. 51, which is just about meaningless. Naturally, Mark Cuban and the Mavericks would love to improve their team through the draft, and Dallas didn't get any younger with the addition of 35 year-old Jason Kidd at the trade deadline.


The Mavs will have three starters next season over 30 years old:


PG Jason Kidd   35

SG Jason Terry  30

SF Josh Howard 28

PF Dirk Nowitzki 29

C   Erick Dampier 32


The Nuggets could play tall ball with Howard at 6'8", and Carmelo Anthony the same height. Both Josh and Melo have the ball-handling abilities of a point guard, and Howard posseses the speed to play shooting guard. He also had prefered to play uptempo basketball in Dallas, where Avery Johnson wanted to slow it down.


Here's how I see it:


PG Allen Iverson 

SG Josh Howard

SF Carmelo Anthony

PF Kenyon Martin

C Marcus Camby 


Here is my response to the argument of shot distribution:


With the trade, the only obvious piece Denver needs is a point guard.


The Nuggets will take Ty Lawson with the 20th pick in the draft, and then should attempt to deal Allen Iverson on draft day, to gain a higher pick and address the center position. Lawson attempts roughly around 13 shots a game, leaving Howard and Melo with 20 apiece, and Martin-Camby with table scraps.


PG Ty Lawson 6'0"

SG Josh Howard 6'8"

SF Carmelo Anthony 6'8"

PF Kenyon Martin 6'10"

C Marcus Camby 6'11"


Denver would have a system similar to the Lakers (Lamar Odom 6'10", Pau Gasol 7'0", Andrew Bynum 7'0"). The Nuggets would have four position players over 6'8", making their team extremely difficult to defend against.