The Denver Nuggets made the first major trade of note involving the upcoming 2022 NBA Draft when they sent veteran power forward JaMychal Green and an unprotected 2027 first-round pick to the Oklahoma City Thunder for the #30 pick in this year’s draft, plus two additional future second-round picks.
The Oklahoma City Thunder had three first-round picks at their disposal, including the #30 pick, which they acquired from the Phoenix Suns. The Thunder were awarded the second pick in the 2022 NBA Draft via the lottery and it looks like they will end up picking Chet Holmgren from Gonzaga, who is the betting favorite to go #2. The Thunder also have the #12 pick, and they’ll pick fourth in the second round with the #34 overall pick.
Green is a journeyman backup power forward who played his collegiate ball at Alabama in the early 2010s. He was a starter with the Memphis Grizzlies for a couple of seasons with a career-best 10.3 ppg and 8.4 rebounds per game in the 2017-18 season. Green languished over the past four seasons as a bench player with the Los Angeles Clippers and Denver Nuggets.
This past season in Denver, Green appeared in 67 games and started eight. He averaged 6.4 points and 4.2 rebounds, but shot a career-low 26.6% from 3-point range. In five postseason games, he averaged only 4 ppg and split time with Jeff Green off the bench as Aaron Gordon’s backup.
Two seasons ago, Green averaged 8.1 ppg with the Nuggets while knocking down nearly 40% of his treys.
Nuggets with two late first-rounders
The Nuggets had the #21 pick in the 2022 NBA Draft before adding a second first-round pick. There’s speculation that the Nuggets could package both picks to another team, or utilize both of them to move up in the draft.
It also seems likely that the Nuggets will use both picks to bolster their roster, especially with the recent health woes of Michal Porter, Jr. Back injuries are difficult to overcome and then never go away. Porter had season-ending back surgery after he experienced numbness in the first week of the season.
The Nuggets hope to have Porter and Jamal Murray back to full strength when the season begins, which has made them a popular pick to make a run at the championship alongside back-to-back MVP winner Nikola Jokic.
Although Green is slated to earn $8.2 million this season, the Nuggets save $20 million in salary and luxury tax with the trade to the Thunder.
If Nikola Jovic is available, will the Nuggets add Jovic to play with Jokic? Jovic — a 6-foot-10 prospect from Serbia — is considered the top international player in the upcoming draft. But the San Antonio Spurs love players like Jovic, so they could snatch him up with the #19 pick.
Other players projected as late first-rounders include Marjon Beauchamp, Kenny Chandler, Dalen Terry, Jaden Hardy, Blake Wesley, Bryce McGowens, and Trevor Keels.