As the Denver Nuggets approach the 2016 NBA Draft, a lot of speculation surrounds the team. With an overflow of draft picks in combination with a bevy of veteran players on affordable contracts the Nuggets have a multitude of trade routes to investigate.

The most common trade ideas that have been thrown around include different ways to move up in the draft. With that thought in mind I decided to put myself through the madness of the NBA Trade Machine. Out of the many sad hours that I mixed and matched players, my favorite combination was trading for the Celtics third pick in the draft.

The Denver Nuggets and Boston Celtics have been linked in trade rumors a multitude of times. The most common being trades involving Nuggets forward Danilo Gallinari. He has been a favorite of general manager Danny Ainge for a long time and Ainge has reportedly tried to trade for him numerous times.

Last year, before the trade deadline, the Celtics approached the Nuggets multiple times in regards to Gallinari, as reported by James Toscano of CSN Sports on Feb. 2, 2016.

The Nuggets also explored a deal sending Gallinari to the Celtics before the 2015 NBA Draft, according to Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald from July 13, 2015.

With the Celtics interest in Gallinari being high for a sustained amount of time, a trade involving Gallinari and the Celtics’ third pick in the draft has to at least be discussed. With both teams having tons of different types of assets, it leaves many different ways for a deal to get completed before draft day. The Nuggets and Celtics each have a copious amount of draft picks. Boston owns three first-round picks and a whopping five second-round draft picks. The Nuggets also own three first-round picks along with two second-round picks. Both teams have affordable contracts galore and both general managers are not afraid to make a move.

The hypothetical trade works out as follows:

Disclaimer: While I am putting out an idea that I personally like it by no means is the only way this trade could work. Both teams have numerous pieces that could be moving.

Third Pick Trade

Nuggets send: · Danilo Gallinari
· Gary Harris
· No. 7 pick
Celtics send: · Marcus Smart
· Amir Johnson
· No. 3 pick

Celtics head coach Brad Stevens had a wonderful quote about the type of player he looks for:

“As I look at our team, and I look around the league and how to get better, I think the biggest thing is, is how versatile can each guy be in defending? And obviously be a good defender at multiple positions, not just be a defender at multiple positions. But then, offensively, do they bring a skill that enables you to play good offense? It’s not necessarily about who shoots it great, or who does this, or who does that, but how does it work within five guys playing good offense. We’ve been playing pretty good offense for the past month.”

There is a reason that Gallinari has been connected to the Celtics ever since the era of Brad Stevens and Danny Ainge began. He fits their style perfectly. Gallinari, being 6-foot-10 with extremely quick feet and able to play either forward position to create mismatches, is the definition of a versatile player on both ends of the court. Gallinari was scoring 19.5 points per game while shooting 36.4 percent from 3-point range and drawing 8.2 free throws per contest. He also has the size and quickness to switch onto guards or bang in the post with bigger power forwards. Kevin Durant even called Gallinari and Tony Allen “the toughest defenders in the league.”

Harris is no slouch when it comes to versatility. Hailing from Michigan State, Harris brings with him a relentless defensive attitude that Brad Stevens ingrains in all of his players. Having Harris able to cover either guard off the bench or from the starting lineup would make up for the loss of Marcus Smart in the deal (and if Evan Turner leaves in free agency). Harris’s ability to hit corner threes and make great arbitrary cuts adds another guy with a high basketball IQ to an already brilliant team.

The Celtics still leave themselves the same number of draft picks for any future trades they look to make before or on draft day by swapping their third pick with the Nuggets’ seventh pick. Word is that the Celtics are extremely high on Marquese Chriss, for good reason, and are not insanely high on Dragan Bender. This leaves them with ample opportunity to trade back; with Chriss predicted to go around the seventh selection, the fit is right.

Getting Smart in exchange for Harris would be huge for the Nuggets. Denver is in need of a backup point guard with D.J. Augustin being a free agent and Jameer Nelson looking for extended minutes elsewhere. Having a defensive bulldog as your backup point guard will help the Nuggets second unit immensely. While Augustin had some wonderful games as a Nugget, he also was consistently torched by whomever he was tasked with defending. Having Smart locking down the better opposing guards would give Will Barton the ability to use his energy offensively and help the Nuggets hold leads when the starters go to the bench. Barton’s shooting would cover up the offensive difficulties that Smart brings with him and Nurkic gets more of a pure point guard to run the pick and roll with.

Amir Johnson is included as more of a salary filler. He does have a team option this year the Celtics could decide to not pick up his option. Odds are they will keep him simply because the cap is set to skyrocket and he is a better trade asset at a cheaper cost as well as the fact that he has said many times that he loves Boston and wants to stay with the team. The Nuggets could then choose to trade Kenneth Faried or package him with one of their two other first round picks to go get another player they may be eyeing. If Faried is not traded it most likely would spell the end for Darrell Arthur’s time in Denver.

While this seems like a lot of speculation there are multiple ways to build framework of a deal. Adrian Wojnarowski on The Vertical from Yahoo! Sports had an interesting question for Tim Connelly:

“To have three picks in the first round, seven, 15, and 19, it gives you lots of options. Does it give you the opportunity if there is a player very high in this draft that you fall in love with that you’ve got the assets now to move up and be aggressive and get into the top five?”

Connelly’s response was even more interesting:

“We like to be aggressive. Historically it is hard to get into the top five. This is, potentially, an atypical year. It is a two-person draft. Everyone is seeing it as one-two. Our three could be someone’s eight. So if we think we can get into an area where we have a guy higher on our board we will be aggressive with all our assets.”

If Connelly is not just blowing smoke, then this being an atypical year means it may be time to make a splash. Denver has been waiting for the chance to bring in a player that creates buzz around Denver and brings attention to the Nuggets on the national scale for the first time since Carmelo Anthony forced his way out of town.

Getting to the third pick in the draft and being able to chose from Dragan Bender, Jamal Murray, Buddy Hield, or Jaylen Brown is huge and will potentially shape the Nuggets for the next decade.Nuggets fans have voted on my Twitter poll on who they would want for the third pick in the draft. It will be up to Tim Connelly to get them there.