One of the most active teams in trade talks this summer, according to recent NBA trade rumors, has been the Denver Nuggets. The Nuggets have some assets that other teams want, and they are looking to make a big splash in the trade market now that free agency has slowed to a crawl.
According to the Parent Herald, the Nuggets are prepared to offer power forward Kenneth Faried and point guard Emmanuel Mudiay to the Oklahoma City Thunder for superstar point guard Russell Westbrook.
Denver is looking to improve the talent level on their club after a 33-49 regular season in 2015-16. Kenneth Faried is a high-energy player, but he doesn’t possess the skills necessary to be a primary scoring option on a playoff team. Faried would be an excellent pickup for a team needing a role player to compliment their main scoring weapons.
Emmanuel Mudiay is still developing, but he has great potential as a point guard with terrific size (six-foot-five, 200 pounds) and athletic ability. With the Thunder in a rebuilding phase after the loss of Kevin Durant in free agency, they could bring Mudiay along slowly and perhaps have another NBA All-Star point guard in the near future.
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Oklahoma City has changed their perspective completely after Durant signed with Golden State. They are now concerned that Russell Westbrook will just follow Durant out of town, and they are applying damage control in an attempt to cut their losses, as reported by ESPN. Westbrook is going into the final year of his contract (he will make $17.8 million next season), and team officials are concerned that Westbrook will seek out a team that will give him a better chance at an NBA title once his current deal expires.
Because the Thunder are now in a tough spot with Westbrook, they are weighing all their options, and one of those options is to trade the six-foot-three guard and get what they can for him now. A deal for Faried and Mudiay would have advantages for Oklahoma City. Faried would help ease the loss of Serge Ibaka, who was recently traded to the Orlando Magic for Victor Oladipo. Mudiay would replace Westbrook, and while he is not yet at Westbrook’s level, Mudiay is very talented and has a chance to be an outstanding NBA player in time.
The Nuggets would immediately make Russell Westbrook the cornerstone of their franchise. They wouldn’t be a true title contender even with the addition of a superstar like Westbrook, but getting a player of his caliber would be a huge step up as the Nuggets try to build a winner in Denver.
Russell Westbrook was chosen 4th overall in the 2008 NBA Draft out of UCLA. At the time, many pundits felt he was not worthy of being picked that high, but as it turned out, they were greatly mistaken. Westbrook was an immediate starter and impact player for the Thunder, averaging as many as 28.1 points per game (2014-15) during the course of his eight years with Oklahoma City. The five-time NBA All-Star had arguably his best season in 2015-16, posting impressive per-game averages of 23.5 points, 7.8 rebounds, and 10.4 assists.
Kenneth Faried has been a consistent performer during his five NBA seasons, averaging 12.3 points and 8.7 rebounds in only 26.6 minutes per game. While not a skilled offensive player, Faried plays with a great deal of passion and is known to be a fierce rebounder and defensive player.
Emmanuel Mudiay is coming off a strong rookie campaign for the Denver Nuggets. The Nuggets’ first-round pick (7th overall) in 2015 started all season for Denver and posted 12.8 points, 3.4 rebounds and 5.5 assists per contest.
Denver and Oklahoma City have been the subject of numerous NBA trade rumors this off-season, and now they may be looking at each other as potential trade partners. If this deal goes down, it will be a franchise-altering transaction for both the Nuggets and the Thunder.
[Photo by Sue Ogrocki/AP Images]