The Denver Nuggets are keen to upgrade their roster and with DeMarcus Cousins on his second 10-day contract, there might be a need for backup center before the trade deadline. Jalen Smith has been made available in deals and could the Nuggets could buy low on a 21-year-old?
Boogie has brought much-needed reliability and toughness to this bench unit and his presence has helped other parts of the roster fit in. Instead of playing as an undersized five, Zeke Nnaji has been able to slide up to the four slot and focus on other parts of his game.
Matt Moore, Locked On Nuggets, said that he has heard that the Nuggets, among other teams, have called the Phoenix Suns about their young big man. He pointed to Boogie’s age and lack of explosiveness as two reasons to treat him as a short-term solution, saying that the Nuggets should go in another direction if the opportunity presents itself.
The idea behind a trade would be to bring in a young center who has the upside of a long-term solution behind Nikola Jokic.
In his second year in the NBA, Smith is averaging 6.8 points, 5.5 rebounds, and 0.7 blocks a game while shooting 46 percent from the floor and 24 percent from the 3-point line. Those figures aren’t good right now and it explains why Smith is on the trading block.
The tenth overall pick in the 2020 draft found himself in a very peculiar position this season as the Suns declined his third-year rookie option, making him an unrestricted free agent at the end of his second season.
Instead of picking up the option and having him under team control for next year (and the following if they wanted), Phoenix believed it’d be better to move on from the asset and let him walk. But while he is still in a Suns jersey, they might as well test his trade market.
Funnily enough, by declining his option, the Suns might have hurt his trade value more than it helped. By not picking up his option, they showed their hand to the rest of the league. Yes, the Suns don’t have to pay him for his two remaining rookie years, but a team trading for him also loses that right.
Because the league knows how much Phoenix doesn’t value their big, a trading team wouldn’t have to part with any serious assets to get a deal done. The Denver Nuggets might be able to trade for Jalen Smith without losing any first-round picks, possibly even second-round picks.
If the asking price is too high, Denver could just move on and try and sign Smith in free agency.
This next week will be critical for DeMarcus Cousins. While he has been an excellent pickup for the Nuggets, Boogie has struggled mightily to shoot the ball. It’s only a small sample size but with major injuries in his past, how much can we trust that Cousins will greatly improve?
Additionally, the Denver Nuggets have an excellent player development track record. There’s reason to believe Smith could be another young prospect success story for Mile High Basketball.
These rumors at the moment are exactly that, rumors. The Nuggets are winning games and Boogie has helped with winning despite poor individual performances.
At the end of his next 10-day deal, if the Nuggets aren’t winning, if it looks like the backup center spot isn’t fixed, let’s start thinking about those rumors ahead of the 2022 NBA trade deadline.