Grade the Trade: Raptors pull off blockbuster with Nuggets in latest proposal

The defending champions lost early, so they may be open to a deal. Should the Toronto Raptors consider this trade proposal?
Karl-Anthony Towns, Minnesota Timberwolves and Michael Porter Jr. and Nikola Jokic, Denver Nuggets
Karl-Anthony Towns, Minnesota Timberwolves and Michael Porter Jr. and Nikola Jokic, Denver Nuggets / C. Morgan Engel/GettyImages
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Laying out the details of a Bruce Brown trade

In covering the Toronto Raptors, one of the exercises we take on here at Raptors Rapture is doing the same evaluation of the league as the team itself, looking for those opportunities that could allow a trade to take root and blossom. In doing so, we saw the Nuggets' need to change something, and the player who makes the most sense to move given their financial constraints is Michael Porter Jr.

Porter has provided the Nuggets with much-needed shooting and scoring over the past few seasons, but he has also regressed defensively and is signed to an expensive long-term contract. If the Nuggets are going to pursue a different look, moving Porter may be their best path forward, as his $35.8 million is high enough to target real help on the trade market.

From there, it was like putting together a jigsaw puzzle to notice that former Nugget Bruce Brown and stretch-big Kelly Olynyk together make exactly $35.8 million, allowing the Raptors to match Porter's salary in a way that doesn't add to their books while ensuring the trade is legal under the second apron for the Nuggets.

The final step is determining if draft compensation is needed, and that was helpfully answered for us by our friends at Bleacher Report, who thought up the same exact trade and included it in a recent trade piece. Here is what the deal would look like:

Nuggets Raptors Brown, Olynyk MPJ

The Nuggets instantly double their rotation-worthy players, with Kelly Olynyk able to reproduce some of the floor-spacing help that Porter provided while being a better defender and big enough to back up Nikola Jokic in a pinch, and certainly alongside Aaron Gordon on second units. Bruce Brown has already thrived with Denver and can offer another perimeter defender and playmaker. The draft picks offer a path to adding bench depth, inexpensive players who can be signed long-term and developed into contributors.

This trade makes a lot of sense for the Nuggets. Does it make as much sense for the Raptors? Let's dig into the details and "Grade the Trade" for Toronto.