According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Nuggets have traded JaMychal Green along with a protected 2027 first-round pick to the Oklahoma City Thunder in exchange for the 30th overall pick in the 2022 NBA Draft, as well as two future second-round picks.
For the Thunder, this trade makes perfect sense as the team still has the 2nd, 12th and 34th overall picks in this year’s draft. As well as $31.6 million in cap space (per Spotrac) to take on Green’s lofty $8.2 million contract for the 2022-23 NBA season, which he’s expected to opt into later this month.
In a sense, OKC gave up very little to acquire a serviceable glue guy with a versatile skill set, and one with invaluable veteran experience at that. Something that every championship contender is looking for to push their team over the top.
Which means that the Thunder could simply keep JaMychal Green on the roster, which would technically be cheaper since all first-round picks are guaranteed contracts anyway. Or package him along with one of their other picks to make an even bigger move in the coming weeks.
That being said, while I do believe that this was close to a win-win trade as you’ll find in the NBA. It’s hard to say that the Denver Nuggets didn’t come out on top in this one.
Why the JaMychal Green trade makes sense for the Denver Nuggets: More Financial Flexibility
The first and most obvious point is that this move provides the Nuggets with far more financial flexibility moving forward. Shaving roughly $20 million off Denver’s salary and luxury-tax obligations.
Even though the team will still be paying the luxury-tax in 2023, this trade gives them the option to use a $6.4 million taxpayer mid-level exception or an $8.2 million trade exception. Meaning that Denver can now dip their feet back into the trade market without having to give up any more of their young assets.
And there are plenty of talented players in positions of need who would fall under this threshold.
Many assumed that the Nuggets would move on from JaMychal Green at some point this offseason. However, to get rid of him without taking on a contract of similar or worse value was nothing short of genius on the part of Denver’s front office.
Why the JaMychal Green trade makes sense for the Denver Nuggets: Additional Draft Capital
Despite giving up a 2027 first-round draft pick, the Nuggets still improved their position from a draft capital standpoint. Since they now have two first-round picks in this year’s draft (No. 21 and No. 30). As well as a second-round pick in 2023 and 2024, respectively.
What this trade did was provide the team with even more options now and in the future. They can either choose to stand pat, and use both of their first rounders this year to draft two quality prospects. Preferably a couple of defensive minded wing players.
Or they can trade up on draft day to snag an elite, instant-impact type player who can provide valuable minutes right away. Such as Bennedict Mathurin (Arizona), Jeremy Sochan (Baylor), or Mark Williams (Duke). All of whom are expected to fall just outside of the top ten and could easily slide into Denver’s rotation immediately.
Then there’s the third option, package one (or both) of these picks to make a blockbuster trade on draft night.
We’ve spoken at great lengths on the Denver Nuggets being in win-now mode, with even Josh Kroenke stating that the team is entering a pivotal “championship-or-bust” window. If this is the case, then Denver has set themselves up beautifully to make an even bigger move in the near future.
With these two picks now in their hip pocket, they’re in a far better position to make a huge play for one of the superstars constantly floating around in NBA rumours (Bradley Beal, Donovan Mitchell, OG Anunoby, etc.).
The Utah Jazz, in particular, are intriguing as a potential trade suitor since they don’t have any picks in the upcoming draft and both of their two superstars (Gobert and Mitchell) are said to be available. While it seems improbable that the Jazz would trade within the division, crazier things have happened in the NBA.
All in all, considering the fact that this was GM Calvin Booth’s first official move as the head of basketball operations for the Denver Nuggets. Fans should be very excited for what’s to come.