In the coming months as NBA teams figure out who and where they are in the landscape of contention, we’ll see more rumors and developments about teams possibly trying to make tweaks via the trade market before the February trade deadline. The Denver Nuggets (8-15) are an attractive trade partner with players assets such as Wilson Chandler, a double-digit scoring combo forward who can space the floor.
Denver was looking to deal Chandler last season with Portland as a suitor at the time.
For plenty of teams, adding an asset like Chandler would make for an instant upgrade at small forward, and for some he could even help contribute to a championship effort. Here are five teams that I think should have Chandler on their radar.
Chandler would give this team a needed extra offensive weapon. The Celtics need as much offense as possible to compete with the likes of Cleveland. The issue here would be with Jae Crowder, their stout and trustworthy starter at the position. If Boston could swing for Chandler without having to deal Crowder, I’d pursue it for the potential of two-forward small lineups with Chandler and Crowder.
I think Chandler would be more likely to help take Toronto over the hump at small forward than DeMarre Carroll. The Raptors are desperate for another consistent option on offense. While Carroll and Terrence Ross are serviceable, an upgrade is still needed there as the Raptors are one of the lowest scoring teams at forward, per NBA.com/stats.
Prior reports have linked the Thunder to Rudy Gay in the effort to fill the void left by Kevin Durant. In the same context, Wilson Chandler could provide that extra support the Thunder might need to make their way into postseason contention. They can only accomplish so much on the shoulders of Russell Westbrook. Picking up Chandler would be a solid contingency, and it might help create more balance for the Thunder.
New Orleans Pelicans
The Pelicans just need more talent in general, but specifically on the wing. Anthony Davis does so much to carry that front court, and Jrue Holiday holds things down at guard when he’s on the floor. For New Orleans, acquiring Chandler would probably mean having to deal Tyreke Evans, and it’s unclear whether or not he could persuade Denver to deal out Chandler.
Their shameless pursuit of Kevin Durant this summer was due diligence to address the Clippers’ dire need for a formidable small forward. Chandler isn’t Durant, but he’d fit in nicely as a capble starting small forward who can space the floor and get himself 15 points per game in that system. The problem here is the Clippers don’t really have anything to offer trade-wise, unless they get freaky and actually look to flip Blake Griffin for a massive return.
The Nuggets have chips stacked in player assets and draft picks. They have young talent to build on for the future, and right now Wilson Chandler is a sensible trade piece for the right deal. I’d look for these teams to at least make the pursuit if Denver is willing to listen in the next couple of months.