After finishing the regular season with the second-best record in the Western Conference, most people thought that Nikola Jokic and the Denver Nuggets were finally ready to contend for the NBA championship title. Unfortunately, the Nuggets failed to live up to expectations in the NBA Playoffs 2019, where they suffered a massive defeat from the hands of the Portland Trail Blazers in the Western Conference Semifinals.
The Nuggets are in no doubt a legitimate playoff contender in the Western Conference, but if they want a better chance of bringing home the Larry O’Brien Trophy next season, they should consider a major upgrade to their roster this summer. According to Jordan Zirm of Uproxx, one of the superstars that the Nuggets could target on the trade market is Kevin Love of the Cleveland Cavaliers.
“After a banner regular season, the Nuggets needed seven games to escape the Spurs in the first round of the playoffs before eventually going down in seven to the Blazers in the semis. Adding Love alongside Nikola Jokic would give the Nuggets perhaps the best passing big men duo in the NBA, and Love’s playoff and championship experience would help steady a Denver team that’s still incredibly young.”
As Zirm noted, the Nuggets will only consider trading for Kevin Love if they decide to turn down Paul Millsap’s $30 million team option for the 2019-20 NBA season. Millsap is undeniably one of the major reasons behind the Nuggets’ success last season, but no one can deny that he’s no longer in his prime and has already shown a massive decline with his performance. Love would be an upgrade for Millsap at the power forward position.
Kevin Love will give the Nuggets an All-Star caliber big man who is an incredible rebounder and can shoot the ball from beyond the arc. Last season, the 30-year-old power forward averaged 17.0 points, 10.9 rebounds, and 2.2 assists on 38.5 percent shooting from the field and 36.1 percent shooting from beyond the arc. Love may have defensive issues, but pairing him with Nikola Jokic could help the Nuggets hide his weakness.
In the proposed trade deal by Uproxx, the Nuggets will be sending a trade package including Michael Porter Jr., Will Barton, and Mason Plumlee to the Cavaliers in exchange for Kevin Love. If the trade becomes a reality, it will not only be beneficial for the Nuggets but also for the Cavaliers.
Michael Porter Jr. has yet to play a single game in the NBA, but it’s worth noting that before he suffered an injury, he was projected to be the No. 1 overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft. Once he returns to his 100 percent health and brings back his old form, Porter Jr. and Collin Sexton could form the core of the next title-contending team in Cleveland.