NBA Trade Deadline 2012: Nuggets Salary Cap May Impede Trade Plans

Tom Ziller of SB Nation NBA suspects the Denver Nuggets may stand pat at the 2012 Trade Deadline. According to Ziller, the Nuggets have crossed the salary cap and probably cannot add any key pieces without first unloading some salary.

That doesn't mean, however, that the Nuggets don't have needs:

The Nuggets have a strong point guard in [Ty Lawson], a two-guard in [Aaron Afflalo] and a small forward in [Danilo Gallinari], plus a big man who can play effectively at either position in Nene. That would seem to put the priority on a second solid big man, perhaps one with a mid-range jumper, as Nene is used primarily at the rim. There are a number of options out there; either Carl Landry or Chris Kaman from the New Orleans Hornets would appear to make sense, though matching salaries on either would be highly difficult. If Denver does look for a power forward or center, a cheaper, younger target like Jason Thompson or even Ersan Ilyasova could make more sense.

But the cost constraints loom large:

The Nuggets sit at $59 million, just above the salary cap, per ShamSports.com. A small or slightly imbalanced trade could help the Nuggets gain an asset by helping another team slip under the luxury tax.

The Denver Nuggets currently stand a 22-17, 8.5 games behind the Oklahoma City Thunder with under two months of games remaining. If they want to add a player before the March 15 deadline, they will need to get clever with the cap first.

For updates, stay tuned to SB Nation Denver. For more in-depth coverage of Nuggets basketball, head over to Denver Stiffs. And for more news and notes from around the league, check out SB Nation's NBA news hub.

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