As the world breathlessly waits to see what might become of Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City general manager Sam Presti appears to have dealt another cornerstone.
According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Thunder have traded Jerami Grant — whom the Thunder re-signed to keep in the fold only last offseason — to the Denver Nuggets for a 2020 first-round draft pick.
Grant should be in position to chase a Western Conference and NBA title — Denver entered the previous postseason as the West’s No. 2 seed — and the Thunder can add the draft pick to an historic list of yet-to-be exercised assets.
In moving Grant and, early Saturday morning, Paul George to the Los Angeles Clippers, the Thunder have acquired first-round picks in 2020, 2021, 2022, 2023, 2024 and 2026. They have also acquired the right to swap their self-originating selections with the Clippers in 2023 and 2025.
According to a tweet from Denver Post Nugget beat-writer Mike Singer, citing a source, the first-round pick OKC received from Denver is top-10 protected and would become two second rounders if not conveyed for three years. However, given Denver's roster, the odds that protection will kick in for next year's draft are exceedingly low.
Additionally, the 2023 first-round pick the Thunder received in the George deal, a pick that originally belonged to Miami, is top-14 protected. There has been no reporting on what the Thunder might receive if it were not conveyed.
Grant’s contract, which will pay him fractionally shy of $9.35 million this coming season, ran through the 2020-21 season, though Grant could have exercised a player option to opt out of the deal’s final year. That fact may well have influenced his being dealt now.
According to ESPN’s Wojnarowski, who first reported the trade at 9:34 a.m., the Thunder will save $39 million in salary and luxury tax.
The move leaves Danilo Gallinari, who came to OKC from the Clippers via the George trade, as the Thunder’s presumptive starting power forward.
As things stand, his point guard will be Russell Westbrook and his center Steven Adams.
Of course, there's a whole lot of day left