According to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, the Denver Nuggets are trading Reggie Jackson to the Charlotte Hornets along with three second round picks.

Jackson picked up his player option for the ’24/’25 season earlier in the week and is due just over $5 million for the upcoming season. For the Nuggets it appears that was a price they weren’t willing to pay and it will cost them three second rounders to get out from under the contract. Jackson was signed last season using the taxpayer mid-level exception which requires at least a two year term to use. This now marks five second round picks the Nuggets have traded in the past two days. It also leaves Denver with only two point guards on the roster: the freshly extended Jamal Murray and second year player Jalen Pickett. Pickett was signed to a four year deal last season so one would assume he is the natural successor to Reggie as the bench point guard, though there was little in Pickett’s play last season that will leave Nuggets fans with confidence that he’s ready for a larger role.

There is also obviously the financial motivation as well on Denver’s side. While trading Jackson alone is unlikely to allow them to sign Kentavious Caldwell-Pope without going into the second apron, it will reduce Denver’s luxury tax bill. If the Nuggets can likewise get off of Zeke Nnaji’s salary then perhaps Calvin Booth will have found an avenue to bringing KCP back. If that doesn’t happen then coach Michael Malone will seemingly have no choice but to embrace Booth’s youth movement as the number of veterans on the roster is starting to get very thin.

The Nuggets will still have their taxpayer MLE available if KCP is not back (or if Zeke Nnaji is similarly salary dumped like Jackson) and one would think point guard is a place where they may choose to go with that money. However, the Nuggets were also very high on Pickett in the draft last season and even traded up to select him. One thing is sure, Booth is making his bed with younger players and one way or another he’s going to have to lie in it. There is not a single player in Denver’s bench rotation right now that has more than four years experience and that is an immense risk to take with the world’s best player on your roster in his prime championship window.

Nothing but the best of luck to Reggie who filled in admirably as the backup and sometimes starting point guard last season. It’s sad to see a Colorado kid go but hopefully in Charlotte (or wherever he ultimately lands after this Summer) he will find more opportunity to keep his NBA career going.