The Denver Nuggets were involved in a three-team deal that sent long-time Nugget, Nene, to the Washington Wizards in exchange for JaVale McGee, Rodney Turiaf and a second round pick. This move shocked many Denver fans but apparently Denver’s GM MasaUjiri was shopping Nene since the beginning of the season.
Rodney Turiaf has since been cut in favor of Wilson Chandler who recently signed a 5-year, $37 million contract extension.
What Denver Gets
A Physical Freak
McGee is arguable one of the most physically gifted players in the entire NBA. The 7-footer has a 7-foot-6 wingspan and an incredible leaping ability which was on display in last year’s dunk contest.
A Premiere Shot Blocker
As a result, McGee has turned into one of the best shot blockers in the NBA averaging 2.46 per game which is the second most in the league. McGee is also in the top 20 in rebounds per game. With all that being said, according to mySynergySports, Nene ranks 98th in the NBA in points per possession given up. McGee ranks 388th. Some of that is due to him playing on the Washington Wizards. Nevertheless it suggests McGee might have a lackadaisical effort on defense when he can’t get a block.
McGee is also only 24. This means that there is still time for him to build on his vast potential. McGee is also due to make only $2.46 this year which is $10 million less than Nene. With that being said, McGee is a restricted free agent and it is likely a team could put up a massive contract offer because they are hypnotized by his potential. This would put Denver in a tough spot considering Denver will be looking to resign Ty Lawson next year.
A Potential Headcase
The biggest issue concerning McGee isn’t his restricted free agency. It’s his character, or lack there of. McGee frequently finds himself on Sportscenter’s Top 10 plays, but he also on Sportscenter’s Not Top 10 regularly. McGee displayed a lack of awareness at times in Washington as well as selfishness. Two examples were him giving himself an alley-oop off the backboard late in a game after his team was losing big. The other was him celebrating a triple-double despite Washington losing.
But again, this was on the Washington Wizards. A team that clearly had no leadership or direction. Denver fans can only hope that players like Arron Afflalo and Al Harrington will provide veteran leadership and won’t put up with any of McGee’s antics. Also it will be interesting to see George Karl’s reaction. Karl has had his fair share of dealings with selfish players, remember J.R. Smith?
What Denver Loses
A Long-Time Nugget
Denver loses a player who has been a Nugget all of his career. Nene was well liked among Denver fans and it seemed he was poised to potentially spend the rest of his career in Denver. It really is a shame to see him go and he will certainly be missed.
A Big Contract
However, Nene missed 15 games this year due to a variety of injuries. Nene also had a 5-year, $67 million contract despite being 29 years old. The word being thrown around is buyer’s remorse as Ujiri was shopping Nene all year long. Nene has a great touch around the rim but he hasn’t displayed the explosiveness that had in the past.
John Hollinger goes into great detail on how Denver was able to in a sense void Nene’s contract and get McGee in return.
“Additionally, the Nuggets will get a huge trade exception out of this. If my cap math is right, they can slot both Turiaf and McGee just inside the $7 million exception left over from the Raymond Felton deal (seriously, how giddy must the Nuggets be about that trade?), and thus can do a straight deal of Nene into a $13 million exception.”
The rest of this article can be seen here. (Insider only)
All in all it looks like a good deal for the Nuggets. If McGee plays well for Denver and they can lock him up for a reasonable price, this turns into a great trade for Denver and makes their young core that much more dangerous. If McGee becomes a head case then they have lost a good player in Nene but still have cap space.