The Nuggets' fortunes have swung wildly throughout their trade history, with the team either coming out way ahead or (potentially) way behind.
How good has Carmelo been this year? Sorry.
Still, the Nuggets are situated well in the NBA's Western Conference right now. They are sitting in fourth, two-and-a-half games behind the Los Angeles Clippers and a game ahead of the Memphis Grizzlies. They've been nearly unbeatable at home thanks to the Pepsi Center crowd and extra rays of sunshine, and Gallo seems to have rediscovered the skills that made him the centerpiece of the Knicks trade. They picked up Andre Iguodala this year, and his ability to lock down the opposing team's best player is a skill the team desperately needed. But their outside shooting is still suspect, as is the interior defense (Faried, McGee and Koufos combine for 4.3 blocks per game; league-leader Larry Sanders averages 3.16). They can always get better.
Rather than speculate about all the trade scenarios getting kicked around out there, however, we're going to delve into the real thing and take a look at the top five trades in Nuggets history (post-ABA-NBA merger).
Number 5: July 15, 2004. Denver trades its 2005 first-round pick (Joey Graham), 2006 first-round pick (Renaldo Balkman) and 2006 first-round pick (Marcus Williams) for Kenyon Martin.
Martin spent his first four years in the league dominating the Eastern Conference on a New Jersey Nets team that made multiple runs to the finals. When Denver picked him up for the 2004-05 season, he stepped in and contributed immediately as the second-leading scorer on the team (15.5 points per game) behind Carmelo Anthony (20.8). The team made the playoffs before flaming out in the first round to the San Antonio Spurs. But Martin's value increased over the next four years until he became one of the cornerstones of a Nuggets team that went to the Western Conference finals during the 2008-2009 season before losing a relatively hard-fought series to the Lakers, four games to two. During that season, Martin averaged a respectable 11.7 points, 6 rebounds, 1.1 blocks and 1.5 steals per game. The numbers don't jump off the page, but Martin served as the intimidating, consistent defender on a front line (Nene and Chris Andersen) prone to mental lapses. Martin, and the addition of another player to be named later, put the 2008-09 Nuggets team over the top, and the players the Nuggets gave up have done next-to-nothing with their careers. A surefire trade win.
Continue to count down the rest of the top five trades in Denver Nuggets history.