DENVER -- Coach Mike Malone stared into the cameras this week and promised the Nuggets would "not mortgage their future" to secure an eighth playoff seed. They were prepared, however, to shake up the Western Conference with a blockbuster.
According to ESPN, the Nuggets made a push to acquire Indiana Pacers star Paul George. They were not dissuaded by his future commitment to the team or the ability to re-sign him, Altitude's Chris Dempsey reported. The talks, however, never gained momentum.
In the end, the Nuggets made a move to add depth and push them closer to the salary cap floor. They landed Milwaukee Bucks center Roy Hibbert for a conditional second-round pick.
"He’s a big body. He gives us protection at the rim. He’s had success and has a lot of experience," Nuggets general manager Tim Connelly told Altitude radio. "We had a roster spot and we needed a big body.
The draft pick is top 55 protected in 2019. The 7-foot-2 Hibbert gives Denver another big man to guard the rim, which could come in handy against the New Orleans' duo of Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins. Denver plays New Orleans three more times this season as the Nuggets attempt to hold onto a postseason berth.
Hibbert began the season with Charlotte on a one-year, $5 million deal. The Hornets traded Hibbert to Milwaukee. The former Georgetown star, who has battled injuries and a decline in play after making multiple all-star teams, averages 5.2 points and 3.6 rebounds per game this season.
The Nuggets added Mason Plumlee before the All-Star break, giving Denver added length for the stretch run.
"Our biggest trade wasn’t today, but last week when got Mason Plumlee. He brings a lot of things lacking. He was a longterm play," Connelly said. "We didn't feel we had to move anybody (at the deadline). That made it easier. ... We are not scared to make a play for any player. We are aggressive. It takes two teams to make a deal."