It’s tough to compete in the NBA without a star player. While the 2003-04 Detroit Pistons showed that team ball could dominate the Kobe Bryant– and Shaquille O’Neal-led Los Angeles Lakers, this was an exception to the rule. Throughout league history, having a superstar (or two, or three) is a requirement to win the title: Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen, and even last year’s Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green.

Although winning a championship may be unrealistic at this point, to get back to competing in the playoffs, the Nuggets need to acquire a big talent — either through free agency or a trade.

CBS Sports writer Matt Moore was on the Afternoon Drive with Eric Goodman and Les Shapiro to discuss a few names and what options the Nuggets have.

Moore believes the Nuggets “will be in the conversation” because of the multiple ways the team can trade for a star. GM Tim Connelly can offer several high quality draft picks, veteran players like Danilo Gallinari, Kenneth Faried or Wilson Chandler, or young rising talent in Gary Harris, Nikola Jokic and Jusuf Nurkic.

While these are all great assets for the Nuggets, making a trade for a star will require drastic and risky moves.

Two big names under contract that appear in trade rumors are the Bulls’ Jimmy Butler and the Kings’ DeMarcus Cousins. Eric and Les asked Moore which one he would prefer to see the Nuggets pursue.

“I want DeMarcus Cousins,” Moore replied. “I want him because of his attitude.”

While that might sound crazy, considering his penchant for technical fouls and sour relationships with coaches, Moore believes Boogie is passionate about winning, while also proving to be comfortable in the star role.

It should be noted, though, that Kings general manager Vlade Divac has said that they are unlikely to trade Cousins. However, Sacramento has not shown itself to have the most stable front office, and if the right trade was there, they may be willing to jump at it.

Cousins has previously voiced his displeasure with the quick turnover of coaches in Sacramento and would potentially like a reunion with former Kings and current Nuggets coach Michael Malone.

Free agency may be a harder path for the Nuggets to acquire a star. While the team has money to spend, attracting a top-tier player to a smaller market club that has been under .500 three years in a row may be tough.

Whether through a trade or free agency, expect the Nuggets to be active in the pursuit for big-name talent. Tim Connelly will have to walk a tightrope between pulling the trigger when the right deal presents itself and not giving up too much in return.

In any scenario, for the Nuggets to once again compete in the Western Conference, the roster will need a star player.

To listen to the full conversation, click on the link below…

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