The Denver Nuggets didn't want to pay another young prospect to sit on their bench. So, on a night they dealt Kosta Koufos to the Memphis Grizzlies, the Nuggets also traded their first-round pick in Thursday night's draft to the Utah Jazz.
The Nuggets traded Koufos to the Grizzlies for former Kansas forward Darrell Arthur and the 55th pick, opening the way for $11 million-a-year super-sub JaVale McGee to start for Denver in 2013-14.
That wasn't what drove the deal, though, new general manager Tim Connelly insisted.
"Not really. I don't think it's fair to the three centers that we had. At times you can cannibalize each other. But that wasn't the purpose," said Connelly, who added that he tendered center Timofey Mozgov before the draft. "I think the purpose was to find a guy that's more complementary to JaVale and (Kenneth) Faried."
Connelly raved about Arthur's athleticism and skill set and suggested it will be up to new coach Brian Shaw to determine if Arthur will push Faried for the starting power forward job next season.
"It was a difficult evening. We traded a key piece of our team last year, a guy that has a really bright future and it was not easy," Connelly said. "We targeted a certain type of player and Arthur fits that role. He's an elite frontcourt defender, he's able to spread the court, he's been a part of several successful playoff teams.
"But it was not an easy trade. Koufos is a consummate professional and a great kid."