Evaluating Nuggets-Thunder Trade Involving JaMychal Green

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The first of what is expected to be many trades agreed upon this offseason was made on Monday, as the Denver Nuggets and Oklahoma City Thunder struck a deal revolving around veteran forward JaMychal Green and the No. 30 pick currently owned by the Thunder in the 2022 NBA Draft.

As first reported by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Nuggets agreed to trade JaMychal Green and a protected 2027 first-round pick to the Thunder for the No. 30 pick in this year’s draft and two future second-round picks.

Green, 31, is set to turn 32-years-old on June 21 and has one year remaining on his current contract at $8.2 million. This final year is a player option that Green is said to be opting into.

Having a ton of cap space to navigate with, the Thunder will not have an issue taking on Green’s contract at first and it is hard to imagine that he will be staying in Oklahoma City for the entire 2022-23 season.

Plenty of teams in the league, playoff contending teams that is, will be looking for depth in their frontcourt, especially from a veteran big man like JaMychal Green.

For his career, Green has averaged 7.9 points, 5.7 rebounds and has shot 36.6% from three-point range. While not a high-impact defender, JaMychal Green is a versatile player that has shown the ability to be a rim-protector at times, as well as defend multiple different positions.

Several teams enter the offseason with trade exceptions that match or exceed Green’s contract value, meaning that they could potentially absorb his contract in a trade with no major ramifications. Some of those teams include the Boston Celtics, Brooklyn Nets, Indiana Pacers, Dallas Mavericks, Utah Jazz, Los Angeles Clippers and Portland Trail Blazers.

The Celtics are a team that has shown interest in JaMychal Green before and the Mavericks, Jazz, Clippers and Nets are all teams that made the playoffs this season and are looking for ways to elevate themselves to championship contending status.

Unloading Green was a move that many saw coming at some point from Denver’s point of view, especially given that his minutes rapidly decreased as the 2021-22 season went on.

Mainly coming off-the-bench, Green reverted to a reserve role late in the season and in the Nuggets’ first-round playoff series against the Golden State Warriors, only playing an average of 13.8 minutes per game in the postseason.

Having Jeff Green under a $4.5 million player option for the 2022-23 season, as well as having Zeke Nnaji still on a rookie deal, the Nuggets will look for ways to continue incorporating their youth into their main rotation.

As for the Oklahoma City Thunder, this move is yet another example of GM Sam Presti’s magic in the offseason. 

Taking on unwanted contracts around the league and turning them into future draft assets has put the Thunder in a position to continue building a high-potential, long-term core for many years to come and trading the 30th pick in this year’s draft was something many expected Oklahoma City to consider.

Already owning the 2nd and 12th picks in the 2022 NBA Draft, the 30th pick was just a bonus for the Thunder at this point and based on the talent that is expected to be available there, it made sense for Oklahoma City to move it. 

Not to mention, they save themselves some money in the grand scheme of things making this trade since all first-round picks are guaranteed contracts.

With a ton of youthful talent already being on their roster, the Thunder will be able to add two high-potential lottery picks in the draft this year, as well continue finding ways to develop for the future in yet another potential trade involving JaMychal Green.

Both teams seemed to get what they wanted in the first deal of the NBA offseason, setting the stage for what should be a very eventful NBA Draft and offseason entirely.