Nuggets were ‘adamantly against’ trading Jamal Murray for Kyrie Irving in 2017

We independently review everything we recommend based on our strict editorial guidelines. When you buy through our links, we may earn a commission. Learn More
Denver Nuggets were adamantly against trading Jamal Murray for Kyrie Irving in 2017

The Denver Nuggets came close to trading Jamal Murray for Kyrie Irving in 2017. Then-G.M. Tim Connelly had asked head coach Michael Malone about a potential trade for a veteran star, but Malone and the rest of the organization refused.

“Malone has said recently that Connelly approached him around that time indicating they could possibly trade Murray for a certain marquee veteran or veterans,” reported ESPN’s Zach Lowe.

“Among those players was Kyrie Irving after he requested a trade from the Cavaliers in the summer of 2017, sources have said. The Nuggets were adamantly against it. They never stopped believing Murray could develop into a star — the perfect point guard next to Jokic.”

Per multiple NBA betting sites, the Nuggets are the early favorites to repeat as champs in 2024. Sportsbooks are still showing favorable odds for the Boston Celtics, Milwaukee Bucks, and Dallas Mavericks.

The Nuggets wanted Jamal Murray at No. 7 in the 2016 NBA Draft, and they lucked out with the Minnesota Timberwolves taking Kris Dunn at No. 5 and the New Orleans Pelicans picking Buddy Hield at No. 6.

Although Murray missed the entire 2021-22 season due to an ACL injury, the Kentucky product bounced back. In 65 starts of the 2022-23 season, the guard averaged 20 points, 4.0 rebounds, 6.2 assists, 1.0 steal, and 32.8 minutes per game.

Denver Nuggets almost traded Jamal Murray for Kyrie Irving in 2017, organization turned down then-G.M. Tim Connelly’s suggestion

Denver retaining Murray was a solid move. The sixth-year guard became the first player to record 10 or more assists in his first four career NBA Finals games. He is the third player in finals history to record 12 or more assists in a single game without a turnover, joining Robert Reid (17 in 1986) and Magic Johnson (13 in 1987).

Moreover, Murray joined six players to average at least 25 points, five rebounds, and five assists through a minimum of 50 career playoff games: Michael Jordan, Jerry West, James, Stephen Curry, Giannis Antetokounmpo, and Nuggets teammate Nikola Jokic.

Had the Nuggets traded Murray for Irving, some fans think that Denver still would have won a championship either way with Jokic. However, team chemistry cannot be traded or bought. Besides dealing with injuries the last few seasons, Murray has proven to be a better teammate and more reliable player than Irving.

In 60 appearances of the 2022-23 season, Irving averaged 27.1 points, 5.1 rebounds, 5.5 assists, 1.1 steals, and 37.4 minutes per game. The eight-time All-Star also shot 49.4% from the field and 37.9% beyond the arc. He scored a total of 1,623 points, marking his third highest-scoring season.

Additionally, in Brooklyn’s 117-106 win over the Utah Jazz on Jan. 20, the guard scored a season-high 48 points in 39 minutes of action. Along with logging 11 boards, six assists, and four steals, Irving shot 18-of-29 (62.1%) from the floor and knocked down a season-high eight 3-pointers.

NBA Betting Content You May Like