NUGGETS

Even in the Finals, Nuggets thinking about future with draft pick trade

Jun 9, 2023, 9:51 AM

MIAMI—For the second summer in a row, the Denver Nuggets are exchanging draft picks with the Oklahoma City Thunder.

The Nuggets, who are in the NBA Finals and are two wins away from getting their first-ever championship, are doing a couple different things with this move. The most important part of the trade is the Nuggets will look to add two bench players at No. 37 and No. 40 in this year’s NBA Draft or maybe they’ll combine the picks to move a bit higher for one player.

The move according to ESPN is the Nuggets will get the worst of OKC’s four 2024 first-round picks, which are originally from the Rockets, Jazz, Clippers and their own pick. Denver is also getting a high second-rounder this year at No. 37, to add to the No. 40 pick they already have from the Jamychal Green trade to the Thunder last summer. Denver also nabs a 2024 second-rounder.

For the three picks, Denver will send out a protected 2029 first-round pick.

The Nuggets already had sent out their first-round pick this year, in 2025 and 2027. The 2029 first was one of the last things Calvin Booth could deal under CBA rules. But because the Nuggets got a first-rounder back in this trade in 2024 and own two, the Nuggets could move either of those picks in a trade this summer, or keep them and look to keep building through the draft.

The draft is going to be even more important to build through due to new CBA rules.

The trade moves up some of Denver’s assets to the near future instead of the long-term future as they try to sustain a window around Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray.

Last summer, the Nuggets got Christian Braun at No. 21 and Peyton Watson at No. 30 from the Green trade. Braun has been a huge boon for the Nuggets and helped them win Game 3 of the NBA Finals while Watson is super raw but has some great potential.

If the Nuggets keep both No. 37 and No. 40, look for them to target one of these players.

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