The Denver Nuggets are two wins away from winning their first NBA title, yet they have still found time to make a trade in an attempt to remain in contention for possible future championships.
NBA Finals trade: The Denver Nuggets are acquiring the least favorable of Oklahoma City's first-round picks in 2024, the 37th pick in the 2023 draft and 2024 second-round pick for a protected 2029 first-round, sources tell ESPN.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 9, 2023
— Mike Singer (@msinger) June 9, 2023
The stockpiling of NBA draft picks by trading a far-off first-round choice is designed to give Nikola Jokic as many chances to win championships as possible. The 28-year-old has been sensational in his first NBA Finals with two triple-doubles sandwiched around a 41-point game against the Miami Heat heading into Game 4 on Friday night.
Jokic has been helped considerably by teammate Jamal Murray, who also had a triple-double in Game 3, marking the first time teammates recorded triple-doubles in the same NBA Finals game. The 26-year-old was unable to take part in the playoffs the prior two seasons after he tore his ACL in April 2021.
After playing all of the 2021-22 regular season without Murray, the Nuggets were knocked out of the playoffs in the first round by the Golden State Warriors. Now, with Jokic and Murray forming one of the most dynamic duos, Denver marched into the NBA Finals for the first time, including a sweep of the Los Angeles Lakers in the Western Conference Finals.
The Heat have tried everything to slow down Jokic, but the big man is putting up historic numbers. He has a record 10 triple-doubles in the 2023 playoffs, including 32 points, 21 rebounds and 10 assists in Game 3 of the Finals.
Denver took a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven series, and with a win on Friday, the Nuggets would set themselves up for a chance to clinch the title at home in Game 5 on Monday.
With Aaron Gordon at 27 years old, Michael Porter Jr. at 24 and Christian Braun at 22, the Nuggets have a good supporting cast around Jokic and Murray. Whatever they can get from the draft picks they’ve acquired will be an additional boost.
The thought of any improvement by the Nuggets is undoubtedly scary to the rest of the NBA with Denver on the verge of claiming its first of what might be multiple rings.