Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reported earlier this morning the Denver Nuggets are trading JaMychal Green to the Oklahoma City Thunder in exchange for the 30th pick in next Thursday’s draft. The deal also includes a 2027 protected first round pick that Denver sends to Oklahoma City, while the Thunder are giving the Nuggets a second round pick in the 2023 and 2024 draft.
ESPN Sources: Denver is trading F JaMychal Green and a protected 2027 first-round pick to Oklahoma City for the No. 30 pick in this month’s NBA Draft and two future second-round picks. Nuggets have No. 21 and 30 in this draft now and Thunder has Nos. 2, 12 and 34.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 13, 2022
A pretty good deal for the Nuggets as it opens up some salary cap flexibility as Green is expected to opt-in to his $8.2 million cap hit next season, which now goes on Oklahoma City’s books. The deal gives Denver $6.4 million for the tax mid-level exception and they also got an $8.2 trade exception, which they can now both use at their disposal.
So what does it all mean? On the surface, it looks like the Nuggets may be targeting two young prospects in next week’s draft. What this deal could also mean is the Nuggets could be trying to acquire more assets to either trade up or trade for an already established NBA player.
With where the Nuggets currently are — which is a spot where they are pushing for a title — it’s tough to envision them adding two first round picks as they need players that can contribute right away. Could they get a player at 21 who could help as early as next season? Absolutely. When you start to look at players they could draft at 30 though it’s a little more questionable of whether or not that player could contribute and help them push for a championship next year.
It’s hard to predict now because you never know who is going to fall on draft night, but say a player like Jeremy Sochan, Ochai Agbaji, Johnny Davis, or Tari Eason fall, could the Nuggets pair those two picks and possibly a player to move up and get their guy? That possibility is certainly on the table now, which is something you couldn’t say yesterday as the Nuggets now have more ammo at their disposal.
The Nuggets could also go the route of packaging their two picks and a player already on the roster to go get someone who can contribute right away. When you look at potential options, the first player that comes to mind is OG Anunoby, who would be an instant contributor and potential starter on this Nuggets team.
Denver had their shot at Anunoby back in the 2017 draft, which was the one they traded the 13th pick to Utah — which ended up being Donovan Mitchell — and moved back to 24 and drafted Tyler Lydon. Anunoby was drafted one slot before Lydon at 23 and would’ve been a home run selection, but the Toronto Raptors had other ideas.
With the draft just under two weeks away, we will have our answer on what the Nuggets plan is going forward sooner rather than later. There is a number of options Denver can go about this, but whatever decision is made has to be with the goal in mind of maximizing the championship window you have with Nikola Jokic and pushing for that first NBA title.