Report: Nuggets trading JaMychal Green to Thunder in salary dump/pick exchange
Well, Denver is already trimming payroll.
The Nuggets are sending JaMychal Green – who has an $8.2 million player option for next season – and a future first-round pick to the Thunder for the No. 30 pick in this year’s draft and two second-rounders.
Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:
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
Green is expected to exercise his $8.2M contract for 2022-2023. Deal gives Nuggets flexibility to use a $6.4M tax mid-level exception or an $8.2M trade exception in offseason. Nuggets expect to be a tax-paying team. Thunder have $31M in cap space to absorb Green salary.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 13, 2022
Presumably, Green is getting treated in this trade as carrying negative value. That’s reflected in him opting in (necessary for this trade to happen) rather than re-entering free agency this summer and Oklahoma City of all teams acquiring him.
The rebuilding Thunder have little direct use for Green, who’ll turn 32 next week. Maybe they can flip him to a team that more greatly values his on-court contributions – maybe even as part of another salary dump for a player on an even worse contract in a deal that nets Oklahoma City even more draft picks. Buying out or even straight waiving Green are also possible.
For the Thunder, Denver’s 2027 first-round pick is the prize. That can’t land lower than the No. 30 pick surrendered this year (unless the NBA expands). The upside could be far higher, depending on the protections.
Even Oklahoma City has realistic limits on the number of rookies to roster. The Nos. 2, 12 and 34 picks are plenty. That also partially explains why the Thunder were willing include to two second-rounders for what should be a more-valuable single asset in Denver’s 2027 protected first-rounder.
The Nuggets could still pay the luxury tax, but this trade is at least about limiting their tax bill, if not outright avoiding the tax completely. The deal comes at the expense of the on-court product. If maximizing winning were the sole priority, Denver could have used its 2027 pick to acquire a helpful contributor rather than using it to unload Green and his unwanted salary.
Green was in the Nuggets’ rotation last season, though barely. Zeke Nnaji or an outside addition could take his minutes. A stretch power forward who competes defensively, Green could provide depth to a team competing now.
Just not to Denver at $8.2 million.