Friday, July 1, 2022

Trade grades: Nuggets deal JaMychal Green, future first to Thunder for 30th pick in 2022 NBA Draft, per report

With the 2022 NBA Draft rapidly approaching, trades are starting to trickle in. On Monday, the Denver Nuggets agreed to trade forward JaMychal Green and a protected 2027 first-round pick to the Oklahoma City Thunder in exchange for the 30th overall pick in this year’s draft, along with two future second-round picks, according to Adrian Wojnarowski. Those second-round picks will come in 2023 and 2024. 

Following the trade, the Nuggets now have pick Nos. 23 and 30 in the first round of the upcoming draft, while the Thunder own Nos. 2, 12 and 34. The Thunder also have a trove of other picks in the coming years. 

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For Denver, the move seems to be largely financial. With the deal, it creates some financial flexibility as Green, 31, is expected to opt into his $8.2 million player option for next season. Creating such cap space could potentially help Denver upgrade the roster around reigning two-time NBA MVP Nikola Jokic. Last season, Green played in 67 games for the Nuggets and averaged 6.4 points and 4.2 rebounds in 16.2 minutes per performance. 

Oklahoma City has more than enough cap space to absorb Green’s deal for the ’22-23 season. The investment isn’t necessarily a long-term one on the part of the Thunder, as Green is set for unrestricted free agency in 2023. The Thunder could also ultimately look to flip Green to a contender for additional assets prior to the trade deadline. After all, Green is the type of veteran player who contending teams look to add prior to a playoff push, and the Thunder appear to still be a couple years away from legitimate contention. 

It’s worth noting that this is the first deal executed by Denver’s front office following the departure of former president of basketball operations Tim Connelly, who joined Minnesota’s front office last month. 

Denver receives: 

  • 30th overall pick in 2022 NBA Draft
  • Two future second-round picks (2023, 2024)

Oklahoma City receives: 

  • Protected 2027 first-round pick  

Trade grades

Nuggets: This trade seems to make a little more sense for the Nuggets than it does for the Thunder, though it’s not really a needle-mover either way. According to Wojnarowski, the move will save Denver a total of $20 million in salary and luxury tax, and it can use that money to upgrade the roster around Jokic, Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr. Green wasn’t really a key contributor for the team, so the Nuggets could potentially add a players(s) who fit better. Plus, they add a late first-round pick in this year’s draft and two other second-round picks that they could use themselves or package in a different deal. All they lose is a 2027 first-round pick, which is protected. Grade: B

Thunder: It’s tough to tell exactly what the Thunder have in mind with this move. Perhaps they think that Green will boost his stock with them and then they’ll be able to flip him for other assets at the deadline. However, trading three picks in order to acquire Green seems slightly steep, even if the Thunder have an abundance of picks to include in deals. Given the fact that Green will be a free agent next summer, this clearly isn’t a long-term play for Oklahoma City, which lends credence to the idea that its plan is to flip him down the road. Grade: C

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