Kevin Durant’s shocking decision to join the Golden State Warriors has sparked numerous rumors and fan theories about what will happen to his former Oklahoma City comrade Russell Westbrook. One fan theory has the explosive point guard going to the Denver Nuggets.
Westbrook has yet to agree on a multi-year contract extension with the Thunder. He will become an unrestricted free agent at the end of the 2016-2017 season. Sam Presti will be forced to trade him anytime this year until the February trade deadline, if he continues his estrangement with the Thunder front office.
Nugg Love’s Ryan Mccabe recently presented a scenario in which the Nuggets could trade and build an elite team around the five-time NBA All-star. It starts with the Nuggets offering a trade package of Emmanuel Mudiay, Will Barton, Jusuf Nurkic and two future first-round draft picks to the Thunder.
The trade would be beneficial for both teams. The Nuggets get their franchise superstar while the Thunder acquire young, promising prospects to kick-start another rebuilding campaign.
The next step for Nuggets is to trade for the right pieces to surround Westbrook. The 6-foot-4 dynamo doesn’t need a super team around him. What he requires is a group of reliable veterans and role players who can bail him out at key moments during games.
Enter Paul Millsap. The Atlanta Hawks power forward is a low-key competitor who silently gets the job done every night. ESPN noted that the ten-year veteran averaged 17.1 points, 9.0 rebounds and 1.7 blocks per game last season. He isn’t the flashy leaper Blake Griffin is, but he is as reliable as a power forward can be in the NBA.
The Nuggets can acquire Millsap in exchange for energetic rebounder Kenneth Faried and shooting guard Gary Harris. Faried’s fresh legs would speed things up for the Atlanta Hawks. Meanwhile, Harris will have the opportunity to develop as an elite two-way player under head coach Mike Budenholzer.
If all these trades come to pass, the Nuggets will have a roster featuring Westbrook, Millsap, Danilo Gallinari, Wilson Chandler, Mike Miller, Darrell Arthur and Nikola Jokic. With Harris out of the picture, Kentucky hotshot Jamal