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Nuggets make trade for draft picks in deal with Thunder during NBA Finals

The Denver Nuggets made a move Friday, and it’s not just how they handled their game plan on the court against the Heat in the NBA Finals.

Before Game 4, the team made a trade to acquire three draft picks from the Oklahoma City Thunder in an unexpected exchange during the team’s first-ever run to the Finals, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported.

Denver will receive the 37th overall pick in this year’s draft, one of the Thunder’s first-round picks in 2024 and a 2024 second-round pick for a protected 2029 first-round pick per the report.

The move is an effort to extend Denver’s championship window, Wojnarowski added.

The Nuggets have found success with picks in recent years, most recently netting Christian Braun, a breakout NBA Finals star, with the 21st pick in last year’s draft.

Braun, who won the NCAA Championship with the Kansas Jayhawks, is a 6-foot-7 guard who averaged 4.7 points in 15.5 minutes over 76 regular-season games, proving to be a reliable option for head coach Michael Malone.

Denver has also drafted a significant portion of its core that has led the team to the NBA Finals, including two-time league MVP Nikola Jokic, Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr.

Nikola Jokic #15 of the Denver Nuggets shoots a three point basket during the third quarter against the Miami Heat in Game Four of the 2023 NBA Finals at Kaseya Center on June 09, 2023
Getty Images

For Oklahoma City, which owns 21 first-round picks over the next seven drafts after this move, the trade allows them to shed some of its draft-pick stockpile.

The trade of draft picks is nothing new, but it’s unusual that the deal would go down in the middle of an intense NBA Finals in which Denver leads 2-1.

Though the Miami Heat grabbed a game on Denver’s home court, the Nuggets bounced back with spectacular performances from Jokic and Murray in Game 3.