Nuggets and Wizards swap roles ahead of free agency

The Denver Nuggets part ways with Will Barton after eight seasons. (AAron Ontiveroz/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images)

The Denver Nuggets will trade Will Barton and Monte Morris to the Washington Wizards in exchange for Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Ish Smith ahead of NBA free agency, according to various reports.

In his first move since taking over basketball operations following the departure of team president Tim Connelly, Nuggets general manager Calvin Booth reached a deal to benefit from the levy on luxury – Again.

Denver owner Stan Kroenke, who also owns the Colorado Avalanche, Los Angeles Rams and Arsenal FC, among other sports franchises, is one of the 200 richest billionaires in the world, according to Forbes.

Barton has played his last seven seasons with the Nuggets, averaging 14 points (on 44/36/79 single shots), five rebounds and 3.3 assists in 30.4 minutes per game, serving as both a starter and reserve. The 31-year-old winger will play out the end of the two-year, $30 million deal he signed last August.

Morris, 27, started in place of injured Denver point guard Jamal Murray last season, averaging 12.6 points (on 48/40/87 separate shooting), 4.4 assists and three rebounds on 29, 9 minutes per game alongside double MVP Nikola Jokic. Morris was a key reserve for the team that reached the 2020 Western Conference Finals. He has two seasons left on the three-year, $27.8 million extension he signed with the Nuggets in 2020.

Caldwell-Pope comes to Denver a nine-year veteran with championship experience. He averaged 11.5 points (on 44/38/84 separate shooting), 3.3 rebounds and 1.8 assists in 28.4 minutes per game over the past five years – the first four with the Lakers from Los Angeles, with whom he won a title in 2020. Bubble from Orlando. Pope is playing the final season of the three-year, $39.1 million contract he signed with the Lakers in 2020.

Smith will set an NBA record if he plays for the Nuggets, his 13th team in 13 seasons. Smith’s $4.3 million salary for next season is only guaranteed if he stays on the roster through Friday. He averaged 7.6 points (on 43/33/68 shooting), 3.9 assists, and 2.5 rebounds in 20 minutes per game during his career.

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