Grade the Trade: The Nuggets get creative in bold proposed deal with Hawks

The Denver Nuggets' season came to a surprise end, leading to offseason questions and possibly forcing them to get creative in a proposed deal with the Hawks.
Jamal Murray, Nikola Jokic, and Michael Porter Jr.
Jamal Murray, Nikola Jokic, and Michael Porter Jr. / Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
4 of 4

Would the Nuggets agree to the trade?

With the Nuggets likely heavily concerned with staying out of the second apron, this deal in and of itself would actually add $3 million to Denver's books. However, this would be with the assumption that KCP opts out and leaves in free agency.

That would wipe out his $15.4 million salary and give the team $12 million in breathing room. Would the Nuggets be better with Bogdanović, Hunter, and having space to maneuver vs. having Porter Jr., KCP, and the 28th pick in this year's draft? That's debateable.

Bogdanović averaged nearly 17 points per game off the bench for the Hawks, and he is one of the better high-volume shooters in the NBA, draining 38.4% from three on 6.5 3-point attempts per game over his career. While the Nuggets would miss Porter Jr.'s shooting and size, Bogdanovic is a talented shooter in his own right and far cheaper. 

Better yet, he is set to make nearly $20 million less next season and his contract declines the following year. Hunter is on a similarly affordable deal that will pay him between $21.5 million and $25 million over the next three seasons. Better still, he is only 26 and shot an impressive 37.4% from three 6.5 attempts per game last season. 

Even if the Nuggets take a slight step back with Bogdanović and Hunter, both are on affordable contracts for at least the next two seasons and Denver also has young prospects such as Christian Braun and Peyton Walsh. Combined, they may help to offset the loss of Porter Jr. and KCP or perhaps make them even better next season. 

Additionally, doing this deal around the draft would allow them to include this year's pick, which is currently Stepien-protected since they traded their 2023 first. That would mean they wouldn't have to give up another future first.

By not doing this deal and attempting to bring KCP back, they probably would be restricted in their ability to trade a future first, thanks to the second apron anyway. As a result, the Nuggets might also agree to this deal if it materializes.