Breaking down the Boykins-Blake trade

Updated: January 12, 2007, 3:17 AM ET
By Jeff Weltman | ESPN.com
Editor's note: We asked former Denver assistant GM Jeff Weltman, our new NBA analyst at Scouts Inc., to analyze the Nuggets' trade of Earl Boykins and Julius Hodge to the Milwaukee Bucks for Steve Blake.

Some will think this is a money deal. And at least to a degree, they're right. By acquiring Allen Iverson in their blockbuster deal earlier this month, the Nuggets escalated their committed salary to an elite level, approximately $80 million entering the 2007-08 season. So we can expect that one of their primary goals was to shed salary by the trade deadline.

By moving Earl Boykins into the exception created in Milwaukee by Bobby Simmons' season-ending injury, they were able to subtract Boykins's salary completely. Julius Hodge's salary is a near-match with Steve Blake's.

But that's not to say that this deal held no basketball appeal for Denver. With the high-powered trio of Iverson, Carmelo Anthony and J.R. Smith figuring to dominate the ball, Boykins -- another player who thrives with the ball in his hands -- was facing a diminished role on the team.

Blake, on the other hand, is a back-up, pass-first point guard, something the Nuggets wanted. But he's not only a pass-first point guard -- he's also a pass-quickly point guard. Blake's willingness to get rid of the rock quickly has made him a good teammate over several stops in his short career.


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Scouts Inc. NBA analyst Jeff Weltman was assistant general manager of the Denver Nuggets from 2001 to 2006. From 1988 to 2001, he served the Los Angeles Clippers in various personnel, scouting and administrative roles.

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