The Denver Nuggets remain one of the most potent teams in the NBA in spite of a reloaded Western Conference. The Nuggets improved to 22-9 with a win over the Memphis Grizzlies on Saturday, and they continue to shine on the defensive end thanks in part to the philosophy of head coach Mike Malone.
Still, there are a number of questions with respect to this Denver team. Can they score enough? Is Jamal Murray capable of being a second star alongside Nikola Jokic? Gary Harris is a stud on the defensive end, but is he really the player that Denver hopes he can be?
This is essentially the same team that lost to the Portland Trail Blazers in last year’s Western Conference Semifinals. With the Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers looking like strong contenders, it seems that the Nuggets might have to make an impact move in order to have a more realistic shot at the Finals.
Here are two players who would be perfect trade targets for Denver.
The New Orleans Pelicans are reportedly considering trading their star combo guard as they continue to slide further out of the playoff picture. The Nuggets are expected to show interest.
Holiday would be a potentially transformative figure in Denver’s backcourt. He would allow the Nuggets to run more off-ball actions for Murray, and he is one of the better individual perimeter defenders in basketball.
The 29-year-old is averaging 19.7 points, 6.5 assists and 5.0 rebounds per contest through 31 games, and after a very slow start is shooting just over 34 percent from beyond the arc. He is probably a more capable playmaker than Murray, and he excelled in the pick-and-roll with Anthony Davis last season. Pairing with Jokic would likely have a similar impact against opposing defenses.
What would it take to get a deal done? The Nuggets would have to part with one of their young backcourt players–like Monte Morris or Malik Beasley–but they have plenty of depth. They might even feel comfortable throwing in Harris or Will Barton as a sweetener, even though both players are currently crucial rotation fixtures.
Still, Holiday is an All-Star talent. He could be the player that puts Denver over the top. He is also under contract through next season and has a player option in 2021-22.
Gallo would give the Nuggets even more rotational flexibility because of his ability to play both forward positions or even handle the ball in the half court. He would also give the Nuggets a lethal shooting threat.
Denver ranks a respectable 14th in three-point shooting percentage, but they also rank just 25th in attempts per game. Sure, Malone likes to slow the game down, but the Nuggets also lack reliable shooters.
Gallinari is shooting close to 40 percent from beyond the arc for the Oklahoma City Thunder, and he is also a decent rebounder. Depending on the Thunder’s asking price–Gallo will be a free agent after this season–the Nuggets should attempt to get a deal done for their former small forward.