NBA Trade Rumors: Nuggets Guard Gary Harris 'Can Be Had' at Deadline

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistFebruary 6, 2019

NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA - JANUARY 30: Gary Harris #14 of the Denver Nuggets warms up before a game against the New Orleans Pelicans at the Smoothie King Center on January 30, 2019 in New Orleans, Louisiana. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)
Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

The Denver Nuggets are reportedly open to trading guard Gary Harris ahead of Thursday's deadline.

Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press reported Harris "can be had," though Ellis does not expect a deal to get done before Thursday.

Harris, 24, is averaging 14.8 points on 42.5 percent shooting with 3.0 rebounds this season. In the first year of a four-year contract worth up to $84 million, Harris has seen noticeable dips in his shooting splits while also being limited to 32 games because of injuries. He's missed the Nuggets' last three contests with a groin injury.

There is a clear logic as to why Harris would be on the trade block. The Nuggets recently got Will Barton back in the lineup, and Malik Beasley has emerged as a stellar sharpshooter in his third NBA season.

Paying a premium of around $20 million per season for a position they already have depth at is a poor allocation of resources. Harris is the best player of the three, but not by enough to justify his long-term cost.

The Nuggets can also begin negotiating extensions for Beasley and Jamal Murray this offseason. Murray is a mortal lock to get a max or near-max contract, while Beasley's played himself into the eight-figure-per-year range. With Nikola Jokic already on a max deal, the Nuggets are rapidly approaching the point where their young roster is getting too expensive to keep together.

Harris is the most expendable of their current core, and he should generate buzz in a league desperate for stellar two-way shooters. Denver is probably going to be hesitant to mess with its chemistry for this season; a conference finals berth is not out of the question for this group. But if a team comes calling with a solid veteran on an expiring contract and a first-round pick, trading Harris is an option worth exploring.