The Denver Nuggets emerged as a new team in the Kevin Love sweepstakes on Wednesday, with Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald reporting the Nuggets had at least made a more "intriguing" trade offer than the Boston Celtics, who some believe to be the favorites for Love.
Late Wednesday night, Bulpett shed a little more light on what Denver has up its sleeve. The Nuggets have reportedly offered Kenneth Faried and Wilson Chandler in addition to Arron Afflalo, who would be acquired from the Orlando Magic and then re-routed to Minnesota. Or perhaps there would be some kind of three-way deal where Afflalo goes straight to Minnesota.
The trade offer reportedly doesn't include the Nuggets' No. 11 pick going to the Wolves, so one would assume that pick would be used to acquire Afflalo or facilitate him going to Minnesota.
Arron Afflalo, Photo credit: Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports
The Boston Globe's Baxter Holmes chimed in with a similar report on Love, saying the Nuggets are one of the front runners along with the Golden State Warriors and Chicago Bulls, with the Celtics lagging behind.
Why this makes sense
It's still somewhat unclear just what the Wolves are looking to get in a Love deal. Holmes says with president Flip Saunders taking over as head coach, the mandate is to "win now." If that's truly the case, it would make sense that Minnesota would find Denver's offer to be intriguing.
Afflalo just missed out on being an All-Star last season, and he's still just 28 years old and on an affordable contract. Faried is 24 and is still improving, while Chandler is a quality 27-year-old role player when healthy.
Why this doesn't make sense
It's somewhat understandable that Saunders would want to get more quality NBA players than draft picks, but it's hard to see how this trade with the Nuggets would move the needle much in the stacked Western Conference. As nice a player as Afflalo is, he still was just a fringe All-Star in the East and could bolt after next season.
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Faried is young and has upside, but he's up for a contract extension this offseason. If a deal isn't reached, the 24-year-old will be set to hit restricted free agency in the summer of 2015. And while Chandler is a nice role player, he's had some injury problems and is rather expensive for what he brings to the table.
If this deal were to go down, the Wolves could trot out a lineup of Ricky Rubio, Afflalo, Corey Brewer, Faried and Nikola Pekovic. This would leave Kevin Martin as an expensive bench piece, unless the decision was made to start both Martin and Afflalo. This could be a playoff team in the East, but it's hard to see it having much serious success in the West. And if there's not much draft pick compensation for Love, it might not be worth it.
You certainly can't blame the Nuggets for trying to get in the Love sweepstakes. Denver is in a tough spot right now in the West, owning a bunch of nice players but no true star player. But it really seems unlikely the package being offered is the best the Wolves can get, so Love in a Nuggets uniform remains a long shot.