Denver Nuggets’ trade potential in Pelicans’ Anthony Davis tango

Anthony Davis, New Orleans Pelicans (Photo by Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images)
Anthony Davis, New Orleans Pelicans (Photo by Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images) /

The New Orleans Pelicans have detailed the package they want in exchange for Anthony Davis. The Denver Nuggets might surprise the league by getting involved in the negotiations.

Several teams have already rang up the New Orleans Pelicans to try to strike a deal. However, David Griffin has sent everyone away. These potential suitors are now in search of one last asset to complete the deal for Anthony Davis.

David Griffin leaked the starting parameters of a potential deal. Three team deals are more complex, but leave room for creative front offices to make bold moves. The Denver Nuggets are one small market team poised to join the Anthony Davis transaction.

It helps that former New Orleans Pelican Tim Connelly is now President of the Nuggets’ basketball operations. Connelly spurned Washington because he knew Denver was on the brink of contention.

Denver came up just short in this year’s playoffs run. They were a two seed tested for seven games in the first round by the San Antonio Spurs. They fell just short of the Western Conference Finals, losing in a seventh game to the Portland Trail Blazers.

Those fourteen games of player experience in the playoffs gives Denver plenty of hope. Denver is one move away from the Finals next season, following Toronto’s year long example. Getting into the Anthony Davis trade negotiations would be one way to add a contributor to next year’s squad.

The Denver Nuggets have a package of young veterans to offer the New Orleans Pelicans. Gary Harris (23), Malik Beasley (22), Monte Morris (23), and Michael Porter Jr. (20) could form the foundation for the Pelicans’ two stars (Jrue Holiday and Zion Williamson) to excel. The Nuggets could part with just one of those players and net a decent return if they just want to get involved as a third team.

Monte Morris works an intelligent game wise beyond his years. He kept his team in good positions to win, making smart decisions as a ball handler. Morris had the NBA’s second best assist to turnover ratio. The New Orleans Pelicans were 24th in turnovers last season. Morris would help tremendously in cutting down on wasted possessions.

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Malik Beasley had quite the development leap this past season. He got over double the minutes (9 to 23) and responded by putting up efficient shots. He averaged just over 11 points per game last season on 47% shooting. He hit on just over 40% of his shots from three point range.

Beasley could carry the scoring burden for a second unit, serving a huge role in the New Orleans Pelicans’ next playoff push.

Michael Porter Jr. could give Zion Williamson a run for rookie of the year honors. Before his injury, Porter Jr. was one of the most hyped prospects behind Anthony Davis and Zion Williamson. Porter Jr. has the size to protect the paint and the shot to play out to the perimeter.

He is all the best parts of Ryan Anderson, Nikola Mirotic, and Julius Randle in one package. He can run the break almost as well as Davis. Williamson and Porter Jr. have skill sets that should work wonderfully together. Porter Jr. could be the best player offered to the Pelicans if we judge the trade in five years.

Much like Holiday last season, Gary Harris is the newest overlooked star to make a leap in the playoffs against Portland. Harris is three years younger than Holiday with a contract through the summer of 2022. Harris and Holiday would form a great defensive back court.

Jamal Murray would be the other back court piece offered by Denver. Murray and Harris could ease Holiday into his thirties, while growing into their primes with Zion. Murray has yet to hit his prime and has already posted a season with averages of 18.7 points, 4.8 assists, and 4.2 rebounds on 44% shooting.

Murray also posted a 37% clip from three point range. The Nuggets’ offer could provide the Pelicans with a decent upgrade on their lack of shooting throughout the roster. They could act as the third wheel in a trade, or try to land Anthony Davis outright.

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Parting with one young asset and a pick could net Denver a substantial contributor. Parting with a major haul to land Anthony Davis could make them a legitimate Finals contender instead of a lucky young upstart. Expect the New Orleans Pelicans to hear Denver out if they come calling.