Report: Nuggets offered JaVale McGee, J.J. Hickson for Brook Lopez

Brooklyn Nets center Brook Lopez just polished off his most productive month in well over a year, averaging 15.9 points and 6.9 rebounds in 27.1 minutes per game, shooting 50.8 percent from the field, including a 35-point outburst to close the month against the Toronto Raptors in a losing effort. (Highlights above.

Following his latest offensive performance, ESPN’s Marc Stein dropped a juicy trade nugget, reporting that the Denver Nuggets have looked to acquire Brook Lopez for a package of center JaVale McGee and forward J.J. Hickson.

The Nets have rebuffed the package, according to Stein, and it’s not hard to see why. McGee’s career has been a roller coaster; he’s an athletic marvel beset by a seemingly never-ending series of self-made bloopers, earning him a regular rotation spot in Shaquille O’Neal’s “Shaqtin’ a Fool”:

McGee has only played 15 of a possible 47 games this year, mostly due to a leg injury. He returned to the court after six weeks off for the first time Wednesday, playing 15 minutes. He’s averaged 5.1 points and 3.1 rebounds in 11.8 minutes per game.

Hickson has spent more time on the court than McGee, averaging just over 20 minutes per game in 39 games this season, but has struggled with a bench role. He’s shooting a career-low 49.4 percent from the field and there have been questions about his defensive intensity: ESPN’s Denver Nuggets affiliate Roundball Mining Company listed Hickson as the 11th-best player on the team in preseason, saying that he was “constantly out of position, failing to read plays, losing his man, generally dazed and confused – or worse, just not putting in the effort – J.J. was an absolute sieve.”

The Nuggets offer is just one of a few that has materialized for the Nets for Brook Lopez. The Thunder & Nets were reportedly close to a salary dump that would’ve sent away Lopez for Kendrick Perkins’s expiring contract, Jeremy Lamb, and Grant Jerrett, but the Nets pulled out, figuring they could get more value. The Hornets & Nets were reportedly looking at a number of deals around Lance Stephenson, but the Nets have balked at acquiring Stephenson after “gathering intel” on him around the league.

The Nuggets are an interesting trade partner for the Nets, if they’re interested in giving up their wings. The Nets have a dearth of shooters, with the gap only widened by Mirza Teletovic’s season-ending ailment. The Nuggets employ a host of wing shooters in down years, including Arron Afflalo, Wilson Chandler, Danilo Gallinari, and Randy Foye, and there’s a legitimate package there if the Nets are intent on moving Lopez. But two big men that have fallen out of favor and make more defensive mistakes than good plays looks like the Nuggets trying to buy low on a rising player.

The trade deadline is February 19th. My guess is the dust will settle closer to that date than now.