Wizards, Nuggets Finalizing Trade To Shake Up Rosters Before Free Agency

Denver Nuggets, Washington Wizards, NBA Trade Rumors
NBA Analysis Network

The Denver Nuggets made one of the first trades of the offseason, completing a deal with the Oklahoma City Thunder that netted them a second first-round pick in the 2022 NBA Draft. With plans of aggressively upgrading the roster around back-to-back MVP Nikola Jokic, people expected something bigger could be on the horizon.

Two players that had been mentioned as potential trade pieces on the Nuggets were point guard Monte Morris and wing, Will Barton. They have been with Denver for years, but their tenure has come to an end.

The Nuggets will be trading both players to the Washington Wizards in exchange for Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Ish Smith. Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium broke the news.

While this deal doesn’t involve any All-Stars, it is an important one for each team. For the Denver Nuggets, they are getting another strong 3-and-D player in Caldwell-Pope that they have had their eyes on for a while.

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He can step right into the starting lineup alongside Jamal Murray in the backcourt and provide the team with another strong defender alongside Aaron Gordon, who was often the only plus defender on the court. Caldwell-Pope will get plenty of open opportunities from the perimeter with the attention that Jokic draws and has plenty of experience playing alongside superstars so the transition should be relatively smooth.

For the Wizards, they have their starting point guard. It was their biggest need heading into the offseason as Raul Neto and Tomas Satoransky are both free agents. Morris proved last season that he is more than capable of running the show as a starter, stepping into the lineup for the injured Murray.

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Barton should slide right into the minutes that Caldwell-Pope was receiving. He can handle the ball a little more and run some offense, so he could even be deployed on the second unit to help in that area.

This deal will open up more minutes at the 3 for the Washington Wizards’ young players. Rui Hachimura, Deni Avdija and rookie Johnny Davis could find some minutes with Caldwell-Pope out of the mix.