The hypothetical moves with the Nuggets trading MPJ have begun

May 29, 2024, 3:24 PM | Updated: 6:43 pm

Michael Porter Jr. — or MPJ as many fans know him — didn’t have a good series for the Denver Nuggets against the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Porter failed to score 10 points or more in five of the seven games against the Wolves, including pitiful totals of four points, six points, eight points and seven points in the final four contests of the series.

MPJ shot 4-21 from three-point range during that stretch, including just 1-6 in a Game 7 collapse. Denver blew a 20-point lead at Ball Arena, ending their season in stunning fashion.

And despite head coach Michael Malone defending Porter after the playoffs were over, he’s due to make nearly $36 million next season. That number will jump more than $38 million in 2025-26 and over $40 million in the final year of the contract.

The Nuggets could be looking for some salary cap relief, or just a fresh start for Porter and their own team. That’s why it’s no surprise the hypothetical MPJ trades have already begun.

Bleacher Report’s Zach Buckley proposed one trade for every NBA team this offseason, and Porter’s actually in two of them. The first would be sending him to Toronto for our old friend Bruce Brown, Kelly Olynyk and two future draft picks.

“This could the kind of package the Nuggets pursue: two plug-and-play rotation players for next year’s playoff run in Brown (a member of Denver’s title team) and Olynyk, plus an early second-round pick and future first-rounder to either grow the young core or sweeten a trade offer down the line,” Buckley writes.

Sure, bringing Brown back to Denver would be awesome, but that seems like a lot to give up. Although Olynyk could be a nice backup big for Nikola Jokic. He averaged 12.7 points. 5.6 rebounds and 4.6 assists for Toronto last year in 28 games after coming over from Utah.

The second hypothetical has Porter going to Orlando, in exchange for Cole Anthony, Moritz Wagner, Joe Ingles and the No. 18 pick in this year’s draft.

“Is the situation dire enough to take on Porter and his hefty contract? If this would be the trade cost, then yes. He’s a 6’10” net-shredder (41.0 percent career three-point shooter), meaning Orlando could be just as big and lanky as ever,” Buckley writes.

Anthony, Wagner and Ingles were all bench players for the Magic in the playoffs, none averaging more than 6.3 points per game. This feels like adding bodies for the Nuggets, not getting proper value for MPJ. The 18th pick in the NBA is nowhere near as valuable as in a sport like the NFL.

Finally, an Eastern Conference GM thinks the Los Angeles Lakers should pursue Porter, but it’s hard to see Denver doing business with one of their rivals.

This should all up to an interesting summer. And everyone will be watching if the Nuggets make a deal involving MPJ or try to run it back.


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The hypothetical moves with the Nuggets trading MPJ have begun