How the Nuggets boost their title hopes by trading Bones Hyland

Bones Hyland (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
Bones Hyland (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) /
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Bones Hyland is the Only Significant Trade Piece Denver Has

With the trade deadline now in direct sight, the rumors have started circulating around the Nuggets’ young guard, Nah’Shon “Bones” Hyland. While there are other small pieces that can be moved such as Jeff Green ($4.5mil) and Ish Smith ($4.725mil), as well as a $9.1 million trade exception that Denver can use, those are not likely enough to truly make an impactful trade.

They do also have Christian Braun, who they selected with their first pick in this season’s draft, but he fits exactly what Denver wants to do and was just drafted by current GM, Calvin Booth. Hyland on the other hand was drafted by former GM Tim Connelly, who is now with Minnesota.

Bones Hyland is the 26th pick from last season’s draft and has been a very polarizing player for Denver. At times he can be a pure microwave scorer off of the bench and an incredibly efficient deep three-point shooter and driver, but he is also prone to take some ill-advised shots and can be targeted on the defensive side of the floor.

The 6’3” combo guard is averaging 12.3 PPG and 3.0 APG in just 19.9 minutes per game this season, although his +/- (-136) is by far the worst on the team. With the team not knowing if Bones Hyland’s upside offensively outweighs his inconsistent game and lack of defense come playoff time, he may be on the move.

What Can the Nuggets get in Return for Hyland?

All rumors have indicated that the Nuggets are looking for one of three things if they decide to part ways with the Bones Hyland; a solid two-way wing/forward, a better backup center, or a first-round pick. Let’s look at the options:

1. A solid two-way wing/forward – While trading Bones for a two-way veteran may be losing value in the long run, the championship window is right now for the Denver Nuggets. Picking up a 16-game player who can thrive in a playoff setting could be well worth the investment even if Hyland becomes a solid starter after being traded. Players that could fit this mold are Jalen McDaniels, Kyle Anderson, or Gary Harris.

2. A better backup center – DeAndre Jordan has been a wonderful mentor and locker-room guy for Denver this season, but the fact that he has played 461 minutes this season shows just how poor their center depth is. With Zeke Nnaji being more of a power forward and Ismael Kamagate looking amazing overseas, but not coming over until next season, the Nuggets need a backup big who can soak up 12-15 minutes in a playoff series while Jokic rests. Players who could fit this mold: Naz Reid, Mason Plumlee, Isaiah Hartenstein, or Jarred Vanderbilt.

3. A first-round pick – This would feel a bit counter-intuitive to get only a first-round pick back for Hyland (who was just taken with a first-round pick last season) however it may be a case of addition by subtraction. Currently, Jamal Murray staggers with the bench unit, so the PG spot would still be covered during the playoffs. This move would also free up more time for Bruce Brown and Christian Braun, who have both fit very well with the starting lineup as well as the various bench lineups this season.

The Nuggets have as good of a shot as any team in the West to make the finals this season and GM, Calvin Booth, has already shown a willingness to part ways with Nuggets who were in the playoff rotation last season in Monte Morris and Will Barton.

Bones Hyland also removed all association with the Denver Nuggets from his social media bios and has unfollowed the Denver Nuggets early Tuesday morning… The writing may be on the wall already.