The Thunder and Nuggets have reportedly agreed to a trade involving Randy Foye, D.J. Augustin, Steve Novak, and a pair of second-round picks.
Who’s going where? Who won? Who lost? Let’s take a look.
Oklahoma City Thunder: B
Thunder receive: Randy Foye
Foye is no more a complete player than any of the Thunder’s other wing options. That said, what’s the harm in giving him the chance to try to fill that particular role so long as it doesn’t cost Oklahoma City any meaningful assets? It took D.J. Augustin, Steve Novak, and a pair of second-round picks to get this deal done—none of which are necessary for a team looking to maximize its play for this season at reasonable cost.
This qualifies. Foye is in the midst of one of the worst seasons of his career, though he has enough of a track record to expect some improvement. At minimum, Foye be better from deep when working off of Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant. Making the most of those opportunities while making consistent efforts to defend will position Foye as a vague equivalent to the other rotation alternatives. Each of Foye, Dion Waiters, Kyle Singler, Anthony Morrow, Cam Payne, and Andre Roberson (once healthy) can give the Thunder a particular flavor of wing. Considering that none has been a smashing success thus far, there’s some safety in their numbers.
If Foye can be at all reliable, he could help to steady some of the Thunder’s top lineups or expand their ability to play small-ball. In doing so the Thunder also save themselves more than $8 million in potential luxury tax payments by way of unloading Novak’s salary. The second-round picks are simply the cost of doing business while improving marginally in the process.
Denver Nuggets: B+
Nuggets receive: D.J. Augustin, Steve Novak, two second-round picks
Opportunism suits the Nuggets, who could afford to take on salary so long as it came with an incentive. The pair of second-rounders makes for a nice carrot. The Nuggets have quietly done well in the second round—most notably hitting on Nikola Jokic (the 41st pick in 2014) and Joffrey Lauvergne (the 55th pick in 2013)—in recent years. All Denver had to give up to grab two more second-round selections was a struggling veteran who, at 32, didn’t factor into the team’s long-term plans.
The newly acquired Novak doesn’t either. ESPN.com’s Marc Stein has reported that the Nuggets will work with Novak on a contract buyout in time to preserve his playoff eligibility. Augustin makes more sense in Denver as a sort of Jameer Nelson surrogate, capable of sopping up minutes at point guard while the team’s other veteran recovers from a wrist injury. Augustin never caught on in Oklahoma City but has plenty to prove as he approaches unrestricted free agency. This, at 28 years old, could be Augustin’s last, best opportunity for a payday.