The Nuggets and Thunder have agreed to a trade that will send forward JaMychal Green to Oklahoma City, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. Green will pick up his $8.2MM player option for 2022/23 as part of the deal.
According to Wojnarowski, Oklahoma City will also receive a protected 2027 first-round pick from Denver, while the Nuggets will get the No. 30 pick in this year’s draft, plus a 2023 second-round selection and a 2024 second-rounder.
The Thunder entered the week with four picks in the top 34 of this year’s draft — they also control Nos. 2, 12, and 34. They were always considered extremely unlikely to bring in four rookies for the 2022/23 season, so it comes as no surprise that they decided to move off one of their picks. Giving up No. 30 will allow them to land a future first-rounder and a potentially useful player in Green, who will be on an expiring contract.
Green had a down year in 2021/22, averaging 6.4 PPG and 4.2 RPG on .486/.266/.871 shooting in 67 games (16.2 MPG) for the Nuggets, but has proven to be an effective stretch four over the years. Entering ’21/22, he had knocked down 38.0% of his three-point attempts in his first seven NBA seasons.
It’s unclear whether the Thunder intend to keep Green for the 2022/23 season or if they’ll try to flip him to another team.
From the Nuggets’ perspective, the trade – Calvin Booth‘s first as the head of basketball operations – allows them to move off some salary for ’22/23 while acquiring an extra 2022 first-rounder in exchange for a future pick. Denver will now control the 21st and 30th overall picks in this year’s draft, giving the team some ammo if it wants to try to move up.
While it looks on the surface as if the Nuggets may be trying to duck below the luxury tax line for next season, Wojnarowski says (via Twitter) that’s not the case. According to Woj, Denver still expects to be a taxpaying team and now has more flexibility to use its mid-level exception or the $8.2MM trade exception that will be generated by moving Green.
The trade will be finalized sometime before the new league year begins at the start of July, since the Thunder will use a portion of their leftover cap room to take on Green’s salary — that cap room will go away in July when Shai Gilgeous-Alexander‘s maximum-salary extension hits Oklahoma City’s books, as we noted in our offseason preview.
Yossi Gozlan of HoopsHype (Twitter link) estimates that OKC will still have about $23.4MM in ’21/22 cap space after acquiring Green, so more salary-dump deals could be on the way within the next couple weeks.
As Bobby Marks of ESPN observes (via Twitter), the Nuggets already owe their 2023 first-round pick (top-14 protected) to the Thunder and their 2025 first-round pick (top-five protected) to the Magic. If either of those selections falls within its protected range, the 2027 pick that OKC is acquiring in this trade would have to be pushed back to 2028, since the Stepien rule prevents teams from trading consecutive future first-rounders.