What would they do? It had been rumored for days that the Nuggets would look to trade their pick. This was new Denver GM Tim Connelly‘s first move just days after being hired, and it would set the tone for most of the summer. At no. 27, the Nuggets selected Rudy Gobert and promptly traded him to the Utah Jazz for what would later become Erick Green at the 46th overall pick.
Now that Green has signed to play in Italy next season because the Nuggets roster is full after the re-signing of Timofey Mozgov, it appears that Denver basically gave away their draft pick to Utah for nothing. This will prove to be a colossal mistake for the Nuggets. Had they kept Green, it probably would not have been an issue. NBA teams cannot just give away first-round draft picks for nothing.
Gobert will cost the Jazz just over $1 million in salary for the 2013-14 season for a 7-foot-2 center that has a 7-foot-9 wingspan. That is an incredible bargain for a low post player with that kind of size. Meanwhile, Mozgov is owed $4.4 million under his new contract to be a backup in Denver.
The Nuggets could have easily kept Kosta Koufos, a serviceable center, instead of dealing him to the Memphis Grizzlies in a separate draft-night deal. Koufos would have cost less and is arguably more fundamentally sound than Mozgov. The Nuggets would then have Koufos back up JaVale McGee in the upcoming season while allowing Mozgov to exit the Mile High City via free agency or in a sign-and-trade.
Denver chose to not only dump their starting center, a guy who was a double-double threat each night, but also decided to pay a player that averaged 2.6 points and 2.6 rebounds per game last season even more money. The moves that the new Nuggets regime have made this offseason continue to boggle the mind.
Mozgov just turned 27-years old, whereas Gobert is 21 years of age. If the Nuggets are truly looking to develop their young talent, they have made another poor move in working towards that goal. Paying the Russian big man $14 million over the next three seasons is hardly a recipe for success going forward. Nuggets fans can only hold out hope that there is a trade still to come that will make sense of a nonsensical offseason.