By PAT GRAHAM – AP Sportswriter
DENVER (AP) — The Denver Nuggets have agreed to a deal that would send guards Will Barton and Monte Morris to the Washington Wizards for Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Ish Smith, a person familiar with the negotiations said Wednesday.
The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the deal was not announced. It’s unlikely to be finalized until the league’s offseason moratorium is lifted on July 6.
The trade becomes the latest move by Nuggets general manager Calvin Booth to reshape the roster around two-time NBA MVP Nikola Jokic. Both Barton and Morris were starters last season on a Nuggets team that was knocked out of the playoffs in the first round by eventual champion Golden State.
ESPN and The Athletic were the first to report that a deal was in the works.
Barton averaged 14.7 points and Morris 12.6 points on an injury-riddled Denver team that was missing point guard Jamal Murray (ACL recovery) all year and Michael Porter Jr. (fullback) for the major. part.
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Both Barton and Morris have been key players, but the emergence of Bones Hyland has given the Nuggets the flexibility to orchestrate this type of trade.
Caldwell-Pope started 77 games for Washington, where he averaged 13.2 points and shot 39% from 3-point range. On top of that — and that should endear him to Denver coach Michael Malone — he’s a solid perimeter defender.
Caldwell-Pope, 29, won an NBA title with LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers in 2020.
Smith is about to join his 13th NBA team. He started last season with Charlotte and was dealt to the Wizards in February. He played 28 games with Washington.
The trade would be Booth’s second since taking on more front-office responsibilities after Tim Connelly left for Minnesota. Just before the draft, the Nuggets traded JaMychal Green and a protected 2027 first-round pick to Oklahoma City for Peyton Watson and two future second-round picks.
On draft night, Denver selected guard Christian Braun from Kansas with the 21st pick. Braun helped the Jayhawks win the NCAA National Championship with a 12-point, 12-rebound performance in the title game.
Booth said during the draft that the team “still has work to do this summer.”
“We’re trying to build a team that’s going to maximize Joker’s peak years,” Booth added. “At the moment we have a lot of veterans and we have a good roster, but we probably still have a few adjustments to make before we can say we’re done with the roster.
AP Basketball Writer Tim Reynolds contributed to this report.
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