Anthony Davis Rumors: Nuggets Refused to Include Jamal Murray in Trade Offers

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistJune 16, 2019

Denver Nuggets guard Jamal Murray walks off the court after the team's loss to the Portland Trail Blazers in Game 6 of an NBA basketball second-round playoff series Thursday, May 9, 2019, in Portland, Ore. The Trail Blazers won 119-108. (AP Photo/Craig Mitchelldyer)
Craig Mitchelldyer/Associated Press

The Denver Nuggets reportedly weren't willing to give up Jamal Murray in a potential deal for big man Anthony Davis.

Mike Singer of the Denver Post reported the news, noting such a notion was "a non-starter for the Nuggets." Singer cited a source who said the team would have been more aggressive in its pursuit of the Kentucky product if it was confident he would stay in Denver beyond the 2019-20 season.

Instead, the New Orleans Pelicans traded Davis to the Los Angeles Lakers for the significant haul of Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart and three first-round picks.

An enticing argument can be made that the Nuggets should have gone harder after Davis, even if it meant including Murray in the deal.

They just finished with the second-best record in the Western Conference at 54-28 and are entering a 2019-20 campaign that is wide-open thanks to questions about whether Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson will be able to play after suffering serious injuries in the NBA Finals. If there were ever a time for Denver to go all in, this was it.

Davis is a three-time All-NBA selection, three-time All-Defensive selection and six-time All-Star who is unquestionably one of the best players in the league.

Pairing him with Nikola Jokic in the frontcourt would have instantly put the Nuggets on the shortest of short lists of title contenders and given them mismatches to exploit all over the court. What's more, it would have prevented the Lakers from adding Davis and becoming a serious threat to the Nuggets in their own conference.

The Toronto Raptors just won the championship by taking a similar risk and trading for Kawhi Leonard, who can leave them after one season.

Still, Murray is a home-grown player whom Denver selected with the No. 7 overall pick in the 2016 draft. It makes sense the front office values him and his bright future at 22 years old after he set career highs with 18.2 points and 4.8 assists a night in 2018-19.

He also bolstered his national presence in the second round of the playoffs against the Portland Trail Blazers when he scored 34 points in Games 3 and 4 and went head-to-head with the talented backcourt of Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum.

Ultimately, there was no guarantee the Nuggets would have gotten Davis for more than a year. They deemed that too risky of an endeavor to lose one of their building blocks.