Nuggets acquire Kentavious Caldwell-Pope in trade with Wizards

In the trade, the Wizards receive Will Barton and Monte Morris in exchange for Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Ish Smith.

Veteran guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope is headed to Denver.

The Denver Nuggets have added veteran swingman Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and guard Ish Smith in a trade with the Washington Wizards. In the deal, the Wizards receive Monte Morris and Will Barton from the Nuggets.

Nuggets receive: 

• Kentavious Caldwell-Pope

• Ish Smith

Wizards receive: 

• Monte Morris

• Will Barton

Caldwell-Pope is coming off a productive season with the Wizards, stats-wise. He averaged 13.2 points, 3.4 rebounds, 1.9 assists and 1.1 steals per game in his lone season in Washington. Those stats were a decided uptick from his numbers in 2019-20 and 2020-21, when he was a role player with the Los Angeles Lakers and a key part of the Lakers’ championship team in 2020.

Washington began the season by winning 10 of its first 13 games. The trade that sent Russell Westbrook to the Los Angeles Lakers was paying dividends, with Kyle Kuzma, Caldwell-Pope and Montrezl Harrell all contributing after coming to Washington in that deal. But team injuries and COVID-19 protocols ended the momentum, and Washington found themselves out of the playoff and Play-In Tournament picture before long.

Per ESPN’s Zach Lowe and Mike Singer of The Denver Post, the Nuggets have had interest in Caldwell-Pope for a few years and see him as a solid perimeter fit around reigning Kia MVP Nikola Jokic, guard Jamal Murray and forward Michael Porter Jr.

Smith is a well-traveled reserve point guard and his move to Denver would mark the 13th team he has played for in his career. He split last season between the Wizards and Charlotte Hornets, posting 6.3 ppg, 2.2 rpg and 3.8 apg in 65 games. Aside from time with the Wizards and Hornets, Smith has played for the Houston Rockets, Memphis Grizzlies, Golden State Warriors, Orlando Magic, Milwaukee Bucks, Phoenix Suns, Oklahoma City Thunder, Philadelphia 76ers, New Orleans Pelicans and Detroit Pistons in his career.

Caldwell-Pope and Smith will both be unrestricted free agents after the 2022-23 season.

Barton, the Nuggets’ all-time leader in 3-pointers, emerged as a starter in Denver the past three seasons. He averaged 14.7 ppg, 4.8 rpg and 3.9 apg in 71 games this past campaign. He will also be an unrestricted free agent after next season.

In the wake of Murray’s recovery from ACL reconstruction, Morris emerged as a solid point guard for the Nuggets this season. He posted career highs in nearly every category (12.6 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 4.4 apg) and started 74 games to help Denver remain afloat while Murray mends. Morris is under contract through the 2023-24 season.

Kuzma took to Twitter on Wednesday to praise the trade, sharing how he and Morris were teammates once before as children and hoped to one day team up in the NBA.

This reported trade is the second of the offseason for Denver as it sent JaMychal Green to the Oklahoma City Thunder for the No. 30 pick in the 2022 NBA Draft.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.