The Nuggets want a late first-round pick in exchange for Joffrey Lauvergne, league sources tell Michael Scotto of SheridanHoops (Twitter link). It’s unclear just how motivated Denver is to trade Lauvergne, one of three centers under the age of 25 on the roster, though the Nuggets are largely “open for business” outside of Danilo Gallinari and Emmanuel Mudiay, as Chris Mannix of The Vertical on Yahoo Sports said earlier this week. However, coach Michael Malone said last month that the 24-year-old Lauvergne is a major part of the team’s long-term plans.
Lauvergne, the 55th pick in the 2013 draft, is beneath Nikola Jokic and Jusuf Nurkic on the Nuggets depth chart after making 15 starts earlier this season. He’s averaging 7.8 points and 5.2 rebounds in 17.6 minutes per game. The 24-year-old who signed as a draft-and-stash prospect in February 2015 is on the books at nearly $1.71MM this season and the same figure next year, though his 2016/17 salary is non-guaranteed.
GM Tim Connelly has the security of a new extension to rely on if he wants to focus on the future at the expense of the present. Denver is already well-stocked with draft assets, as the Rockets, Grizzlies and Trail Blazers all have first-round debt to the Nuggets that comes due as early as this year’s draft, and the Nuggets have the right to swap first-rounders with New York this year. That exchange wouldn’t happen as it stands, with Denver at 19-31, three games worse than the Knicks and four and a half games out of the playoffs in the Western Conference.