Report: Nuggets targeting a trade for a future Hall of Famer

Jun 30, 2024, 5:08 PM | Updated: Jul 1, 2024, 2:47 pm

The Denver Nuggets are targeting a trade with the Los Angeles Clippers for future Hall of Fame point guard Russell Westbrook, according to TNT, Yahoo Sports, Stadium and The Athletic.

The 2016-17 MVP is a nine-time All-NBA player, nine-time All-Star, two-time scoring champion and has already been named to the NBA’s 75 best-players of all-time team a few years ago.

Westbrook opted into his $4 million contract with the Clippers earlier on Sunday but that seems to have come with the caveat that the sides would look for a trade. In the NBA, it’s sometimes easier to find a new home while keeping a few extra bucks via trade rather than hitting the market outright. This seems to be the case with this circumstance where the Nuggets are heavily limited in free agency by being in the luxury tax but could maneuver a trade involving young players or an exception involving the recently traded Reggie Jackson for Westbrook.

The 35-year-old UCLA Bruin has been in the league for 16 years and has bounced between five franchises, with his most legendary stint coming for the Oklahoma City Thunder. It’s for the Nuggets division rival that Westbrook won the NBA MVP and hit a buzzer-beater in Denver three to cap his unreal triple-double averaging season.

But that was a rare deep shot for Westbrook who is one of 269 players to attempt 2,000 threes in his career and his percentage is 268th. Those shooting issues have really come to light as Brodie’s athleticism has declined. This has caused him to bounce around the league a bit, including a horrible stint for his hometown Lakers after they traded Kentavious Caldwell-Pope for him.

More recently Westbrook has developed into a strong bench player for the star-studded Clippers. Last season he played in 68 games, starting 11, and averaging 22.5 minutes, 11.1 points, 5.0 rebounds and 4.5 assists a night. He shot just 27% from three but still puts a lot of pressure on the rim and is a decent defender at 6-foot-4 thanks to his high motor.

Westbrook would likely slide in behind Jamal Murray as Denver’s backup guard. It also likely spells the end of Caldwell-Pope’s time in Denver due to trade rules. The Nuggets would still have a few other avenues to add to their roster, which has the looming starting two-guard and backup center questions. But with Westbrook they would have their answer to Jackson’s leaving and it comes in an almost always available backup guard, it’s just that he can’t really shoot and has caused some drama off the floor at several of his stops.


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