At least this one happened during daylight hours.
According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Thunder are trading forward Jerami Grant to the Denver Nuggets for a 2020 first round pick. No details yet as to how much protection is on the pick.
While not as stunning as the out-of-nowhere Paul George trade, the Grant news was somewhat unexpected. The Thunder are at a fork in the road in between remaining competitive and rebuilding. Grant made sense going either direction. So does adding another future 1st round pick.
Grant improved by leaps and bounds in the time he spent with Oklahoma City. He re-signed last summer on a three-year deal that included a player option on the third season. He was headed into the de facto last year of his deal and was not eligible for an extension. Per the salary cap rules, contracts that are three years and longer cannot be extended until after two seasons had passed, and Grant would have likely opted out already.
There is the financial angle as well. The trade gets OKC within about $5 million of the luxury tax line (assuming the reported signings of Alec Burks and Mike Muscala happen). It’s a hefty savings and moving Grant is a heavy price to pay for that, but acquiring Danilo Gallinari from the Clippers helps justify that move if the Thunder are going to enter the season as-is.
Or, perhaps the Thunder are going to tear the team down to the concrete foundation and wall studs. The trade of Grant isn’t necessarily a sure-fire indication of that continuing. We’ll know more in the coming weeks or months whether this was a roster tweak or the middle part of a fire sale.
Regardless, OKC is likely far from finished this summer. Stay tuned.