The Denver Nuggets came out as the clear winners in day two of NBA free agency by reportedly signing Paul Millsap for $90 million over three years. The contract gives Denver future financial flexibility, with a team option, reportedly in year three, to retain their young core and allows the Nuggets a chance to compete in what is turning out to be an absolutely stacked Western Conference and Northwest Division.

Acquiring Millsap is arguably the biggest free agent signing over the past two decades in Denver. The 32-year-old fits perfectly into the workman culture that head coach Michael Malone has been cultivating over the past two seasons and is the remedy for most ailments that plagued the Nuggets last season. The gravity of signing Millsap to such a team-friendly contract cannot be overstated.

With that being said, bringing Millsap into a crowded frontcourt rotation that is already overwhelmed with repetitive skill-sets presents another set of problems.

Denver, after signing Millsap, now has a whopping six players who play power forward: Kenneth Faried, Wilson Chandler, Darrell Arthur, Juan Hernangomez, Trey Lyles, and Denver’s first-round draft pick Tyler Lydon. There are simply not enough minutes to go around and Denver will likely have to move on from at least one, if not multiple, of their power forwards.

Here are a few deals that could be looked into for Denver to consolidate their roster and potentially bring helpful assets.

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Revisiting a trade for Eric Bledsoe

Denver sends – Tyler Lydon, Wilson Chandler, Emmanuel Mudiay, rights to Golden State’s 2018 second round pick

Phoenix sends – Eric Bledsoe

This is the trade with the most star power involved. Denver was reportedly interested in trading for Bledsoe on draft night and reportedly put together a package of Mudiay and the 13th pick to get him. The Nuggets have been interested in high-level point guards for the majority of the offseason and Bledsoe fits that bill.

The Suns have reportedly been open to taking on salary and players to obtain future assets which make them a perfect trading partner for Denver to consolidate their roster. The only issue is that for Denver to consolidate, they will likely have to overpay to do so.

Adding Chandler and a second round pick to the originally reported deal of Mudiay and Lydon for Bledsoe gives Phoenix two more young players to develop and a hyper-versatile forward in Chandler that can start or come off of the bench, plus another draft pick.

Denver then immediately improves by adding Bledsoe, who averaged 21.1 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 6.3 assists in 33 minutes per game, to the current core of Millsap, Nikola Jokic, Gary Harris, and Jamal Murray, who would then slide into a bench role to continue developing without the extra pressure of starting.

Sign-and-trade with the Clippers

Denver sends – Danilo Gallinari, Tyler Lydon, Jameer Nelson

Los Angeles sends – Patrick Beverley

Now that Denver is paying Paul Millsap $30 million a year, it most likely eliminates them from re-signing Gallinari. The Clippers, without enough cap space to sign the Italian forward, would benefit from sign-and-trading for Gallinari so that they can bring him in without having to make additional moves to shed salary.

This gives the Nuggets a unique opportunity to kill two birds with one stone. Sending Denver’s first round selection, Lydon, and Jameer Nelson, along with Gallinari and his new contract, to the Clippers for Patrick Beverley is quite advantageous for both teams.

The Clippers get Gallinari, who they highly covet, as well as a young player in Lydon that they can look to develop or use as a trade chip down the line. Nelson also fits alongside recently re-signed Blake Griffin because he can play on or off of the ball and act as a secondary facilitator when needed.

Denver improves their roster by upgrading the point guard position defensively thanks to Beverley’s ability to defend both guard positions, shed a power forward and young player that the team just does not have time to develop and get something for Gallinari, who is virtually out the door.

Emmanuel Mudiay to the Knicks

Denver sends – Darrell Arthur, Emmanuel Mudiay, Trey Lyles

New York sends – Courtney Lee

This is a desperation player dump essentially. Courtney Lee has been rumored to be on the trading block so New York can open up money to pursue a point guard. Denver needs to shed multiple players, especially at power forward.

The Knicks get off a player they’ve been trying to move and still take back two young and somewhat promising young players in Mudiay and Lyles. Both have struggled in their first two seasons but also still have substantial upside. To get both and only send out Lee should be plenty to convince the Knicks to take back Arthur’s contract in the deal. If that is not enough to entice the Knicks into a deal then Denver could also add either of their future second-round picks to spice things up.

There is no clear role or situation for Lee in Denver but the Nuggets do clear two power forwards off of their roster and clear up minutes at point guard for Murray. It is not the prettiest deal but it could be effective for Denver.

Regardless of how it happens Denver needs to consolidate before the start of the season and that starts at the power forward position. Somehow, the Nuggets have to finally consolidate their roster and they need to do so quickly before teams begin to fill out their rotations.

It seems that signing Millsap is just the first domino to fall for Denver this offseason.

T.J. McBride

T.J. is originally from California and made his way to Colorado in 2009. He now lives in downtown Denver and is beginning his first season as a credentialed Nuggets beat writer for BSN Denver. Lover of craft beer, Hip Hop, and all things Denver Nuggets. You can follow him at @BSN_McBride on Twitter.

  • DownIsTheNewUp

    Hate most of these. You dont just give away Mudiay and if you do than Faried needs to be a part of any deal where that happens.

  • Malone Rules

    Remember the goal is to build a team of a New Generation of Nuggets-one that can give an early round scare to the Warriors in the playoffs. The Power Forward answer is easy…Millsap, Lyles, Lydon on the literal depth chart…knowing that Chandler and Juancho are hybrid Small Forwards who also can play the Stretch 4. That leaves Faried and Arthur as the odd men out…as much as Faried has been a warrior for Denver even when his defense got exploited, his generation of core Nuggets with Gallinari and Chandler never could get past the 1st round of the playoffs. The only holdover I would keep is Chandler because he is a good two way player. There are many teams where Faried can continue to be The Manimal. Pres/GM Connelly has assembled these new generation/new look Nuggets with lethal shooters at every position who also have enough athleticism and desire to play gritty defense as well. Coach Malone will be empowered to implement his defense this year and the Nuggets will finally return to the 2nd Round of the Playoffs this year.

    • p_r_e_x

      There is one phrase I keep hearing repeatedly for last 2 years “Malone’s defense” and I heard him preaching defensive effort to the team in dozens of interviews…but I swear I never saw worse coached professional team on defense end then Nuggets during his coaching tenure, and it has nothing to do with player talent…I mean they were/are so bad that they most often look clueless and utterly lost…but most vivid memory was when they tried to flirt with zone D, oh my what shambling disaster that was it was worst thing I ever saw at any level…any semblance of defense I ever saw so far was short period at start of last season when you could at least see what was their idea, they were focusing on guarding perimeter and were fairly successful, but alas it was of short breath Malone decided to dump those schemes because they allowed more point in the paint so they forced employing “new and improved” schemes that traded 5 more points allowed from outside to allow 1 point less inside that lead us to whooping 2nd worst defensive team in league…Now I have learned hard way real meaning of that phrase “Malone’s defense” and I wish no part of it

      • p_r_e_x

        P.S. Gallo is better (more effective) defender then Chandler and 3 times better offensive player, and along with Manimal one of 4 Nuggets difference makers (Joker, Gallo, Manimal, Garris)…Malones inability to use Faried in fitting roles and with right complimentary players was one of factors of us missing playoffs (not even counting wasted third of the season on terribly executed Twin Tower experiment that really cost us postseason run, tanked Nurkic value and led us additionally wasting 1st round pick in Plumlee deal with Blazers who used same that pick to move up in front of us on draft night and take good lottery prospect at position of our need)…SMH

        • Malone Rules

          It looks like you do not agree, but here is a simple breakdown:
          1. Nuggets keeping Chandler while Gallo is on his way to the Clippers. Ever since they both were traded here, Chandler has always deferred (sometimes because of injury) to Gallo being the lead SF offensively, yet Chandler always was given the tougher defensive assignments at SF and PF coming off the bench and in crunch time. And oh by the way, both of them had their best seasons offensively under MALONE.
          2. Faried was an awesome draft pick for the Nuggets, but like Gallo, his six year off and on run as the starter showed limitations. Faried can play and/or start for many teams in the NBA, but Denver paying 30 mil per year to Millsap indicates they believe the team can go to the next level. Isn’t that what Nuggets fans have been waiting for since Melo left?
          3. If Nurkic is so good, why did Portland move up in the draft to select another center? Jokic is the centerpiece of the team and Connelly has added future impact players in Harris, Murray, Juancho and Beasley via the draft and now added an All-Star in Millsap. Malone now can mandate defensive intensity this year because 3 out of his 5 starters (Harris, Chandler and Millsap) will be PLUS defenders.
          Go Nuggets.