On August 30th, the Denver Nuggets traded Joffrey Lauvergne to the Oklahoma City Thunder. Denver will receive two future second round picks in this transaction. Following the trade, the Nuggets have 14 players signed to guaranteed contracts through the 2016-17 season. Three players will enter training camp on non-guaranteed deals. What does this mean for the Nuggets moving forward?
Denver Nuggets Trade Joffrey Lauvergne To OKC Thunder
What Denver Lost in the Trade
Joffrey Lauvergne contributed quality minutes off the bench for Denver throughout the 2015-16 season, starting in 17 games. In 17.6 minutes per game, he put up a workman-like 7.9 points per game on 51.3 percent from the field. The Nuggets will certainly miss his presence in late game situations, where Lauvergne shot an impressive 89.9% from the free throw line. For a team that is looking to improve interior presence, this is a questionable move, especially considering Lauvergne’s 4.9 rebounds per game that is now lost in this transaction.
Nuggets Front Court in 2016-17 Season
The Nuggets now enter the 2016-17 season with limited depth at the center position. Denver likes what it has seen in Jusuf Nurkic and Nikola Jokic, but both players offer more questions than answers at this stage. Jokic provided a jolt in Denver’s rotation last season, putting up a respectable 10.0 points and 7.0 rebounds per game in his first campaign. Limited by injuries in 2015-16, Nurkic put up a solid 8.2 points and 5.5 rebounds per game off the bench. It would have been redundant to keep all three players in the Nuggets front court rotation next season, but the rotation is far from established at this time.
Precursor of Things to Come?
The Nuggets actively pursued trade partners for Kenneth Faried entering the 2016 NBA Draft. Such action leads to the belief that Denver is looking to shake up its front court rotation. In what appears to be a roster-focused move, is trading Lauvergne a precursor of things to come? With depth at both guard positions, the Nuggets could be positioning themselves for future trades by stacking trade assets. With no known trade partners at this time, one thing is clear: Denver will be active in addressing its front court needs as the season approaches.
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