Denver Nuggets’ title contenders’ hopes got derailed when Jamal Murray suffered a season-ending knee injury, and consequently, they got eliminated in the Conference semifinals. Relatedly there have been rumors that NBA rookie Michael Porter Jr. perhaps won’t remain with the Nuggets beyond his rookie contract. Despite having a serious back injury, he was selected by Denver in the first round of the 2018 NBA Draft. With his enticing skill set as a 6-foot-10 small forward, Porter recorded 19 points per game while shooting 44.5 percent from beyond the arc in the 2020-21 season justifying his draft.
Why should the Denver Nuggets consider trading Michael Porter Jr.?
The Denver Nuggets’ choosing to trade Michael Porter Jr. in the offseason could have to mainly do with the finances, an NBA trade source (Sportskeeda) mentioned. Although Porter has shown tremendous potential on the offensive end to demand a max contract, the Nuggets might not be in a position to offer him that, not without dipping into the luxury tax.
Jamal Murray’s max contract has already come into play while in the summer of 2022 Nikola Jokic is set to be offered a supermax extension. Denver Nuggets are expected to bring Will Barton back on a long-term deal after he just turned down his player option worth $14.6 million. Denver could be paying over $110 million combined to just the four players if they hand Porter a max contract too in the 2021-22 season.
If the Nuggets are really considering trading Michael Porter Jr. this offseason, given his abilities, these are a few teams that could pursue a Porter trade –
The Sacramento Kings, who don’t seem to have much of a bright future in the NBA, getting an exciting player like Porter could be a boon that could further help excite their fans. Sacramento doesn’t have many building blocks on their roster other than De’Aaron Fox and Tyrese Haliburton. Due to injuries, Marvin Bagley hasn’t panned out yet, while with an overcrowded backcourt, Buddy Hield could be on his way out and Harrison Barnes is a potential trade candidate. Also, Richaun Holmes is expected to depart in free agency. The Kings are on the lookout for a versatile forward to pair with Fox and Haliburton, and Porter could be just that! Perhaps this trade would give them a chance to make the postseason which they haven’t been since 2005-06.
The Grizzlies had one of the most impressive seasons this year in the NBA. Led by Ja Morant, and with Jaren Jackson Jr. missing the season in the majority, the Memphis Grizzlies still made a push for the playoffs this season. Besides Morant, Memphis highly depended on Dillon Brooks, Jonas Valanciunas, Kyle Anderson. They lost in the first round of the postseason, but they could stride in the right direction in no time. Memphis could acquire Porter instead of relying on Anderson, which would also help Brooks play shooting guard. Valanciunas is a potential trade candidate this offseason, but Jackson, Xavier Tillman, and Brandon Clark the Grizzlies are potential replacements for him. Due to Porter’s ability to play either forward spot, Memphis would get a ton of possibilities with their lineup.
The Washington Wizards could enter a new era in their franchise’s history if there’s a potential Bradley Beal trade which would also shake up the entire league. But if Beal is okay to give Washington another chance to put together a better roster, the Wizards could then definitely inquire about Porter. As this season prolonged, the duo of Beal and Westbrook performed well together, leading Washington to an unexpected playoff appearance. Keeping Westbrook around seems like a good idea if Beal remains.
If there is a small forward that can shoot the ball efficiently around Beal and Westbrook, Porter as a small forward is perfect with Rui Hachimura as the power forward. This would indeed be a formidable lineup.
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