Nuggets Rumors: Draft, Hezonja, Russell, Mudiay

The Nuggets have no untouchable players as trade rumors swirl around draft day, writes Christopher Dempsey of The Denver Post. Most of the trade talk has focused on point guard Ty Lawson, but GM Tim Connelly indicated anyone might be moved if the right deal comes along. “The variables come when you get one phone call and the best-laid plans go out of the window,” Connelly said. “But we’re pretty active and aggressive. We’ve got a lot of calls out there and a lot of scenarios in play. I can’t say for certain that where we stand today is where we’re going to stand on draft night.” Denver, which already holds the seventh choice, is rumored to be seeking another lottery pick.

There’s more draft news this morning from the Mile-High City:

  • Croatian guard Mario Hezonja would be a tempting choice for the Nuggets, Dempsey writes in a separate story, but he may not be available with pick No 7. Hezonja, a good friend of Denver center Jusuf Nurkic, has been quickly rising on draft boards as scouts rave about his elite shooting and athleticism. “I talk to him every day,” Nurkic said. “I think he’s at this age the best shooting guard.”
  • Trading up to snag Ohio State’s D’Angelo Russell would be the Nuggets’ dream draft scenario, contends Mark Kiszla of The Denver Post. He notes that the Knicks want to improve quickly and may be willing to deal their No. 4 choice for a package of veterans. However, Kiszla also points out that it would be surprising if Russell falls that far, and Denver has the option to exchange picks with New York in 2016, so the Nuggets may be cautious about helping the Knicks get better next season. He sees Hezonja or Emmanuel Mudiay as possibilities if the Nuggets are stuck at No. 7.
  • The Nuggets need to aggressively pursue Mudiay, argues Woody Paige of The Denver Post. He notes that Mudiay hasn’t worked out for Denver, but contends that he would become the best point guard the franchise has ever had. Former Nuggets coach Larry Brown, who recruited Mudiay for Southern Methodist before he decided to play in China, once called Mudiay “the best young point guard I’ve ever seen.”
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