Nuggets playing hardball in trade talks

The Nuggets are reportedly asking for too much in trade talks.
The Nuggets are asking for too much.

Despite widespread speculation that there is a fire sale in Denver, trade talks have stalled. Ty Lawson has been reportedly shopped since the trade deadline last season, but no deal has taken Denver’s interest. Lawson’s name has been attached to several teams since the completion of the NBA finals, including the Sacramento Kings. In theory, Lawson’s departure to the Kings makes sense, as it would allow him to reunite with old coach George Karl. The Nuggets asked for pick #6 in return, and although Lawson is a talented guard and an elite playmaker, Denver’s offer was optimistic. According to multiple sources, Denver and Sacramento begun tentative discussions on a new deal that featured Lawson, Kenneth Faried and DeMarcus Cousins.

It’s unlikely that Lawson will remain with the Nuggets before the draft (25th June), but it’s theoretical that the Nuggets will have to settle for significantly less if they want to move the disgruntled guard. Outside of Lawson, reports have surfaced that the Los Angeles Clippers are heavily pursuing Wilson Chandler again.

Chandler would be an excellent acquisition for the Clippers, who acquired Lance Stephenson last week. It’s not known how advanced talks are between the two teams, but Jamal Crawford has been dangled by the Clippers front office. Los Angeles reportedly tried to offload Crawford at the trade deadline last season but found no suitors. Crawford’s decline in production (39.6% fg last season) and porous defense has led to the Clippers exploring trade options for the seasoned veteran.

Kenneth Faried has been shopped by Denver management since the mid point of last season, but remains with the embattled franchise. Faried has been linked to Toronto, however Raptors GM Masai Ujiri has also inquired about the services of Taj Gibson, who is unhappy in Chicago. The Kings have also been linked to Faried, with rumors surfacing in the past 48 hours that the Nuggets were entertaining the possibility of trading Ty Lawson and Kenneth Faried to the Kings in exchange for DeMarcus Cousins.

Nuggets GM Tim Connelly has made no secret of his desire to rebuild the Nuggets. Cousins presents a strong case when discussing the best big man in the game, and would give the Nuggets a centrepiece to build around. However, looking at the proposed trade from the perspective of the Sacramento Kings, is the trade rational? Ty Lawson is an exceptional talent, but for his price tag (owed over $20 million over the next two seasons) he’s not a huge upgrade over Darren Collison, who enjoyed his best statistical season in his first year with the Kings.

Cousins to the Nuggets?
Cousins to the Nuggets?

Because of Denver’s track record of over valuing its’ players, it is likely that the reported deal has been pushed by the Nuggets front office, and that the Kings have no real intention of entertaining any negotiations around Cousins. Sacramento are in the process of constructing their new arena, and Cousins is their franchise player. Would the Kings move the face of their franchise for Lawson and Faried? It would seem unlikely. A resolution to the impasse will present itself by draft day.

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