The Denver Nuggets didn’t land a big fish as the NBA trade deadline came to a close Thursday afternoon. However, they did manage to nab another big man and inch closer to the salary floor in sending a protected second-round pick to the Milwaukee Bucks for center Roy Hibbert.
ESPN’s Brian Windhorst broke the news, which Altitude TV’s Chris Dempsey backed up shortly afterward.
Hibbert, 30, is averaging 5.2 points and 3.6 rebounds in 16 minutes per game this season. It could be difficult for him to find playing time in Denver. The Nuggets already have Nikola Jokic at center, and they acquired Mason Plumlee earlier this month. Those two should combine to play the overwhelming majority of minutes at center for Denver this season.
Bringing in Hibbert gives the Nuggets insurance at the position. Paradoxically, it also helps them save money. The Nuggets are under the NBA salary floor, which they’ll be financially penalized for this offseason. Adding Hibbert’s contract to the books helps Denver get closer to the floor, which will soften the blow. It saves the team $3.6 million, according to one estimate.
Hibbert, who’s on a one-year, $5-million deal, will become an unrestricted free agent after this season.
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