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NBA Trade Rumors: Bol Bol Dealt to Pistons; Nuggets Get Rodney McGruder, Draft Pick

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 10, 2022

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The Denver Nuggets are trading Bol Bol to the Detroit Pistons for Rodney McGruder and a 2022 second-round draft pick from the Brooklyn Nets, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.

Bol has played 81 minutes over 14 games for Denver this season, scoring 33 points and hauling in 20 rebounds.

McGruder has been used similarly sparingly by the Pistons, averaging 2.5 points and 1.6 rebounds in 9.5 minutes per game over 17 appearances.

The 30-year-old, who's due to earn $1.9 million this season, might be more valuable to Denver as an expendable veteran whose departure would create a new spot on the roster.

The 8-30 Pistons, meanwhile, had little need for an experienced guard on an expiring deal. Trading away McGruder for an opportunity to have a prolonged look at Bol is a sensible gamble for a franchise in rebuilding mode.

The 7'2", 220-pound forward saw a promising freshman season in 2018 at Oregon (21.0 points, 9.6 rebounds and 2.7 blocks per game) come to an abrupt end because of a stress fracture in his foot.

The Nuggets selected him in the second round of the 2019 draft, but the Mile High City proved to be a poor fit. An organization looking to make an NBA Finals run can find it difficult to carve out the playing time necessary to develop young talent.

As a result, Bol has played in just 53 games for Denver.

He had an encouraging eight-game run with the Windy City Bulls in the NBA G League, averaging 12.0 points and 5.8 rebounds while shooting 36.4 percent from the three-point line in 2019-20.

The 2021 NBA Summer League was another great showcase for the Sudan native.

Still, a breakthrough in the NBA continues to be elusive. 

Bol probably won't be unseating Saddiq Bey at power forward or Isaiah Stewart at center, but a trade to Detroit should afford him a larger role in the second half of the season.

That's important since he's eligible for restricted free agency. He could play well enough to convince Detroit to extend a $2.7 million qualifying offer or put a more expansive deal on the table.

For the Pistons, Bol's contract status also provides the Pistons with a quick out if the change of scenery does little to ignite his career.

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