Wilson Chandler Trade Rumors: 5 Teams That Should Trade For Nuggets SF
Wilson Chandler trade rumors are picking up steam, and though the Denver Nuggets may need him for their playoff push, here are 5 teams that should pick up the phone if he’s available.
With a narrow one-game lead on the Portland Trail Blazers for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference, the Denver Nuggets are a young team that should be trying to improve with the arrival of the 2017 NBA Trade Deadline.
The Nuggets have a few veterans that could be used as trade chips to add more depth to their young core of Nikola Jokic, Gary Harris, Jamal Murray and Emmanuel Mudiay, but we’ve also heard Jusuf Nurkic‘s name come up in trade rumors despite him being only 22 years old.
Are the Nuggets going to try and cash in on the value of established players like Danilo Gallinari, Kenneth Faried or Wilson Chandler? Will they add more current talent to bolster the roster for a playoff run? Or will they stand pat and hope this current group can hold on for the postseason?
USA TODAY Sports’ Sam Amick reported last week that Chandler wants out of Denver. Ill Will denied that report in an interview with Chris Dempsey of The Denver Post, but the nine-year veteran also confirmed that he’s frustrated with his current role in Denver — despite averaging a career-high 15.4 points and a career-high 6.7 rebounds in 30.4 minutes per game.
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Though he’s 29 years old and has only one guaranteed year left on his contract after this season (plus a $12.8 million player option for 2018-19), Ill Will could be of great use on the wing for a playoff team, either as a starter or as a sixth man like he’s been for most of this season.
Chandler is a solid wing defender and a somewhat efficient source of offense. He’s been around the league long enough to help any playoff team, but which teams might be interested if the Nuggets actually make him available?
Here’s a look at a few potential Wilson Chandler trades, and why working out a deal for the veteran swingman may be harder than it seems, even if the Nuggets are interested in moving him.
PF – James Johnson
Will Pat Riley trade Goran Dragic or Dion Waiters in the wake of the Miami Heat‘s 11-game win streak? If he wants to tank and continue rebuilding through the draft, trading for Wilson Chandler would make no sense.
But now that Miami is only two games out of a playoff spot, perhaps Riley decides to ride out this momentum and is more willing to see what this core could do with someone like Ill Will to replace the injured Justise Winslow.
The Nuggets would get a versatile 4 in James Johnson to fill a position of need, but they’d probably push for Tyler Johnson over Wayne Ellington as the second piece of the deal, which would kill any potential negotiations if the Heat were interested in a Wilson Chandler trade.
Portland Trail Blazers:
Al-Farouq Aminu is a great defender, but his lack of offense has demoted him to bench duty and Evan Turner is still an odd fit. A two-way player like Chandler could really help the Portland Trail Blazers as they brace for a late playoff push.
They’d have to give up a young player, but that player would also have to have enough talent to entice Denver, since the two teams are competing for the eighth playoff spot in the West.
Maurice Harkless or Meyers Leonard would work as far as matching salaries, but Leonard’s new extension makes him drastically overpaid, and Chandler is better than Harkless. Unless the Nuggets were desperate to get younger, a move like this would only make them worse and hinder their playoff pursuit.
C – Jusuf Nurkic
A straight up swap of Wilson Chandler for Kent Bazemore works, but since Bazemore is younger, perhaps including Ill Will as part of a Paul Millsap deal would make more sense? He’d be an ideal veteran leader who’d address a position of need at 4, helping bolster the defense in the process.
Millsap trade rumors have been swirling for months now, so even though the Atlanta Hawks have taken him off the trade block, they still seem trapped between being good enough to make the playoffs but not quite good enough to do anything once they get there.
If they decide to deal Millsap rather than overpay for a 32-year-old in free agency, trading for Chandler and young center Jusuf Nurkic would be a decent return. But Atlanta could probably do better in a Millsap trade, Nurkic would just be Dwight Howard‘s backup and the Hawks already have Bazemore at the 3.
5. New York Knicks
Don’t laugh. As much as Denver Nuggets fans would pretend to be bitter about the return of Carmelo Anthony, all would be forgiven if he helped nudge this team back into the playoffs for the first time since 2013.
The New York Knicks have been actively shopping their superstar for weeks, with Phil Jackson dragging his name through the mud in the process. Something needs to happen to alleviate this uncomfortable impasse in the Big Apple.
This might not be the ideal trade destination for Melo, but if he’s going to play for a non-contender, it might as well be somewhere he’s familiar with, somewhere he enjoyed playing, and somewhere he could restore his league-wide reputation with some good will and veteran leadership for his old squad.
SG – Will Barton
C – Jusuf Nurkic
It’d be unfortunate for Wilson Chandler to be traded for Carmelo Anthony a second time, but Melo would address a position of need at the 4. It’d be fun to see him in a Nuggets jersey again, he could help the youngsters develop, and he’d undoubtedly aid the final playoff push.
For the Knicks, they’d be getting a quality wing who’s locked in through 2017-18, with a player option for 2018-19. They’d also receive a quality sixth man or starter on the wing in Will Barton, and a great young player no matter whether they opted for Jamal Murray or Jusuf Nurkic.
SG – Will Barton
SG – Jamal Murray
The Knicks would probably prefer Murray since he could possibly be groomed into a point guard, but this deal still feels unlikely. The Nuggets have the assets to trade for a star, but they may be hesitant to use them on a 32-year-old, especially with all the bad blood that’s there on Denver’s part.
A homecoming for Melo would be a lot of fun, but the Nuggets might prefer to retain Chandler and keep their youth intact until a better deal presents itself.
4. Orlando Magic
In the past few months, we’ve seen the names of Elfrid Payton, Nikola Vucevic and, most recently, Serge Ibaka come up in trade whispers. Nobody knows what the Orlando Magic are plotting as the 2017 NBA Trade Deadline approaches.
Will general manager Rob Hennigan continue to fruitlessly push for a playoff spot to save his job? Or will a quick look at the standings — where the Magic sit five games out of the eighth seed — help him realize the franchise is due for another rebuild through the draft?
Either way, Ibaka’s status as a free agent this summer all but guarantees the Magic’s need to trade him at the deadline, since there’s no way this 20-34 team will be able to convince him to re-sign.
Despite being an expiring contract who will be searching for the largest contract of his career, the 27-year-old Ibaka still has value around the league as a stretch-4 who’s knocking down threes at a 38.5 percent clip and protecting the rim with 1.6 blocks per game.
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As the league’s absolute worst defense that needs an upgrade at power forward, the Nuggets would love to acquire a skill set like Ibaka’s. They’d also have a good chance of re-signing him over the summer as a young team on the rise with plenty of cap space to blow on him.
Ibaka would help batten down the hatches for Denver’s playoff push, while the Magic would get a quality two-way wing who could help them keep their playoff delusions alive (if that’s what Hennigan chooses). If a rebuild is the preferred path, Ill Will still probably wouldn’t make the team good enough to miss out on a quality draft pick.
Trading Ibaka would also help the Magic move Aaron Gordon to his true position of power forward, and they’d be getting something in return for a player who’s likely to leave for nothing in free agency. However, as much as it’d make logistical sense for both sides, Orlando might be able to locate a better deal for Ibaka on the open market.
3. New Orleans Pelicans
The New Orleans Pelicans are reportedly looking into Jahlil Okafor, but if they want a player who’d really help Anthony Davis return to the playoffs in the next year or so, Wilson Chandler would provide a huge upgrade on the wing.
If the Pellies could get a mulligan on that Solomon Hill contract and ship him away in the process, even better. It may come at the cost of their 2018 first round draft pick, but New Orleans was reportedly including protections on that pick in their preliminary trade talks for Okafor anyway.
2018 1st round pick
Hill is a decent enough wing to be Danilo Gallinari’s backup, while the 2018 first-rounder could be valuable if the Pelicans are once again unable to put substantial talent around AD this summer — a distinct possibility with both Jrue Holiday and Tyreke Evans hitting free agency.
The Pelicans would be adding a great two-way player who could start on the wing, though it’s worth noting Chandler’s 33.8 percent shooting from three-point range wouldn’t exactly spread the floor.
Unfortunately, trading for a 29-year-old wing with only one season left on his contract would do little to right the ship for New Orleans, and including next year’s first-rounder might not be worth it for that kind of short-term, duct tape solution. The Nuggets may also want no part of the remaining three years and $36.8 million left on Hill’s contract.
2. Oklahoma City Thunder
The Russell Westbrook Show has been thrilling, but the Oklahoma City Thunder are only seventh in the Western Conference standings. Barring an act of (Point) God, they’re unlikely to get very far in the playoffs this year.
For a team that severely needs some scoring on the wing, Wilson Chandler is one potential solution OKC should have on its radar.
Unfortunately for the Thunder, as solid as a Russ-Victor Oladipo-Chandler trio would be in the backcourt, they’re a bit short on assets — unless the Nuggets are interested in adding two or three more young players to an already inexperienced core.
SF – Kyle Singler
PG – Cameron Payne
Without a first round draft pick to offer until 2022, one option would be a package including 23-year-old shooting guard Alex Abrines, 22-year-old backup point guard Cameron Payne and veteran wing Kyle Singler.
None of those pieces are particularly attractive for Denver, even with Abrines shooting 37.8 percent from three-point range. Singler has hardly played this season, Payne would struggle to find minutes with Emmanuel Mudiay and Jameer Nelson on the roster, and Abrines would be joining a shooting guard logjam of Gary Harris, Jamal Murray, Will Barton and Malik Beasley.
But the Nuggets are bringing Mudiay off the bench now behind Nelson, perhaps signaling that they’re losing faith in their flawed point guard. Payne could be some kind of long-term insurance, Singler could back up Gallo off the bench and Abrines’ shooting would be a welcome addition.
If that package doesn’t appeal to Denver, replacing either Kyle Singler or Alex Abrines with rookie Domantas Sabonis might be a more enticing offer.
PG – Cameron Payne
PF – Domantas Sabonis
Though Sabonis is largely out of his league starting for OKC, he’s a 20-year-old with stretch-4 potential. The Nuggets still need a long-term solution at power forward, and a package with three promising players might provide the Nuggets with a couple of mulligans if their current youngsters don’t pan out.
To avoid another shooting guard logjam or adding too much inexperience, a package of Payne, Sabonis and Singler might make the most sense.
PG – Cameron Payne
PF – Domantas Sabonis
That being said, the Nuggets might prefer to keep the best player involved in this hypothetical deal as they push for a playoff spot, since neither Abrines, Payne nor Sabonis would significantly help this season.
The Thunder may also hesitate to shed that much young talent for a 29-year-old with only one guaranteed year left on his contract, especially since he would only marginally move the needle for the Thunder this season.
1. Los Angeles Clippers
The Oklahoma City Thunder quickly come to mind as a team that’s desperate for wing help, but the Los Angeles Clippers have been the frontrunners in this category for the last half-decade.
Much like the Thunder, the Clippers would also have problems putting together a deal for Wilson Chandler, especially if we’re operating under the premise that they want to keep their Big Three of Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan together (because otherwise, trading for Chandler would make zero sense).
There are several avenue the Clippers could pursue to make the salaries match, but it might be hard to find a deal that actually appeals to the Nuggets. Our first option would be Wesley Johnson, Luc Mbah a Moute, Brice Johnson and Lob City’s 2021 first-rounder.
SF – Luc Mbah a Moute
PF – Brice Johnson
2021 1st round pick
The players involved in this deal aren’t even remotely attractive, with Wes Johnson and Mbah a Moute being two below-average wings that would be left to duke it out for the title of Danilo Gallinari’s backup.
Brice Johnson is still only a 22-year-old rookie, but he hasn’t played a single minute in the NBA because of a back injury. The real asset would be the first round pick, but unfortunately for the remote possibility of a deal like this, the soonest L.A. can offer one is 2021.
Our second option — Austin Rivers — would work for salary-matching purposes. Despite all the nepotism jokes, Rivers is having the best season of his career, averaging 12.1 points in 27.9 minutes per game while shooting 38.6 percent from three-point range.
He’s capable of playing the 1 or the 2, meaning he’d be able to slide somewhere into Denver’s rotation, especially if Mudiay continues to underwhelm and Nelson continues to age.
However, assuming the Nuggets want more for Chandler than a 24-year-old backup like Rivers, another option would be three-time Sixth Man of the Year Jamal Crawford, along with Lob City’s 2021 first round pick.
2021 1st round pick
The first-rounder is nice, but it wouldn’t be for another five drafts and with Gary Harris, Jamal Murray, Will Barton and Malik Beasley already fighting for minutes at the 2, the 36-year-old Crawford — plus the guaranteed $14.2 million on his contract for next season — wouldn’t make much sense for Denver.
He’d make even less sense when you realize Crawford is averaging just 12.2 points per game on 40 percent shooting.
The Clippers make the most sense as a team that’d be interested in trading for Wilson Chandler, but unless they manage to get a third team involved or absolutely swindle the Nuggets, they just don’t have enough assets to facilitate a deal.