Report: Denver Nuggets, Washington Wizards swapping role players ahead of free agency

·2 min read
The Denver Nuggets are parting with Will Barton after eight seasons. (AAron Ontiveroz/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
The Denver Nuggets are parting with Will Barton after eight seasons. (AAron Ontiveroz/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images)

The Denver Nuggets will trade Will Barton and Monte Morris to the Washington Wizards in exchange for Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Ish Smith ahead of NBA free agency, according to multiple reports.

In his first move since taking over basketball operations in the wake of team president Tim Connelly's departure, Nuggets general manager Calvin Booth made a deal to get under the luxury tax — again.

Denver owner Stan Kroenke, who also owns the Colorado Avalanche, Los Angeles Rams and Arsenal F.C., among other sports franchises, is one of the 200 richest billionaires in the world, according to Forbes.

Barton has played his last seven-plus seasons with the Nuggets, averaging 14 points (on 44/36/79 shooting splits), five rebounds and 3.3 assists in 30.4 minutes per game, serving both as a starter and a reserve. The 31-year-old wing will be playing out the end of the two-year, $30 million contract he signed last August.

Morris, 27, started in place of injured Denver point guard Jamal Murray last season, averaging 12.6 points (on 48/40/87 shooting splits), 4.4 assists and three rebounds in 29.9 minutes per game alongside two-time MVP Nikola Jokic. Morris was a key reserve for the team that reached the 2020 Western Conference finals. He has two seasons left on the three-year, $27.8 million extension he signed with the Nuggets in 2020.

Caldwell-Pope arrives in Denver a nine-year veteran with championship experience. He has averaged 11.5 points (on 44/38/84 shooting splits), 3.3 rebounds and 1.8 assists in 28.4 minutes per game over the past five years — the first four with the Los Angeles Lakers, who he won a title with in the 2020 Orlando bubble. Pope is playing out the final season of the three-year, $39.1 million deal he signed with the Lakers in 2020.

Smith will set an NBA record if he plays for the Nuggets, his 13th team in 13 seasons. Smith's $4.3 million salary for next season is only guaranteed if he remains on the roster through Friday. He has averaged 7.6 points (on 43/33/68 shooting splits), 3.9 assists and 2.5 rebounds in 20 minutes per game over his career.

– – – – – – –

Ben Rohrbach is a staff writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at rohrbach_ben@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @brohrbach