Denver Nuggets, Oklahoma City Thunder

Thunder send Jerami Grant to Nuggets for another draft pick

The Oklahoma City Thunder are making moves toward a rebuild, the latest being a deal to send Jerami Grant to the Nuggets.

The Oklahoma City Thunder traded Paul George to the Los Angeles Clippers for a solid return, notably including five future first-round picks. They added to those future assets on Monday, with ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reporting forward Jerami Grant is headed to the Denver Nuggets for a 2020 first-round pick.

Grant is coming off the best season of his career, as he averaged 13.6 points, 5.2 rebounds and 1.3 blocks per game while shooting 49.7 percent from the floor and 39.2 percent from 3-point range (3.7 attempts per game) over 80 games (77 starts).

For the Thunder, trading Grant comes with significant financial relief. He is due to make $9.3 million next season, with a matching player option for 2020-21. According to Wojnarowski, it goes deeper, since Oklahoma City will save $39 million in salary and luxury tax. That points to how prohibitive being a repeater taxpayer is, and would have been for a team that’s now not a championship contender in the near-term.

The Nuggets already had over $121 million in guaranteed money on the books for next season, so they have naturally been quiet in free agency. Via Hoops Rumors, Grant’s salary fits into one of their trade exceptions and they still have their mid-level exception to use.

Grant has mostly played power forward (90 percent of his minutes in 2018-10, 91 percent of his minutes in 2017-18, according to Basketball-Reference), but he can definitely be a notable contributor in Denver as a combo forward. As a follow up to acquiring Grant, Nuggets are set to let restricted free agent Trey Lyles leave once another team tenders him an offer.

The Thunder now have six future first-round picks to accelerate a reshuffle/rebuild of the roster. Grant is a relatively smaller move on that front, compared to the George trade and a possible deal to move Russell Westbrook.

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