NBA Trade Deadline 2012: Nuggets' Clip May Already Be Spent

The Denver Nuggets had a huge offseason, locking up Nene and Arron Afflalo. Before the early extension deadline, Denver made a commitment to Danilo Gallinari. As such, the Nuggets' core is pretty well tied up with the exception of Ty Lawson, who should be receiving an extension of his own this summer or fall.

Those offseason moves may prevent the Nuggets from doing much of anything at the deadline.

NEEDS & TARGETS

The Nuggets have a strong point guard in Lawson, a two-guard in Afflalo and a small forward in Gallinari, plus a big man who can play effectively at either position in Nene. That would seem to put the priority on a second solid big man, perhaps one with a mid-range jumper, as Nene is used primarily at the rim. There are a number of options out there; either Carl Landry or Chris Kaman from the New Orleans Hornets would appear to make sense, though matching salaries on either would be highly difficult. If Denver does look for a power forward or center, a cheaper, younger target like Jason Thompson or even Ersan Ilyasova could make more sense.

Long-term, a viable back-up for Lawson -- current sub Andre Miller will be a free agent in July, and would be expected to seek a starting job somewhere -- and a bench shooter could also be needs.

Miller is the most tradable asset that Denver could conceivably be willing to deal; he soon turns 36 and is on the books for $7.8 million this season. If the Nuggets do make a play for a player like Landry or Kaman, Miller could be dealt to a third team for a trade exception. For instance -- and this is not a rumor, just an example -- the Nuggets could send Miller to the L.A. Lakers for their Lamar Odom trade exception, then use that for a Landry deal.

SALARY CAP SITUATION

The Nuggets sit at $59 million, just above the salary cap, per ShamSports.com. A small or slightly imbalanced trade could help the Nuggets gain an asset by helping another team slip under the luxury tax.

For more on the Nuggets, visit Denver Stiffs and SB Nation Denver.

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