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The trade that would have sent Bol Bol to the Pistons in exchange for Rodney McGruder and a 2022 second-round pick is reportedly off.
Here’s what happened
Mike Singer of the Denver Post reported Thursday that Detroit had an issue with Bol’s physical and rescinded the trade, which can happen after a deal has already been agreed upon. There’s typically a few-day window after the trade is agreed to where a player travels to their new team and completes a physical. If that physical goes well, it’s business as usual. If it goes poorly, which it rarely ever does, the trade could be rescinded.
The last trade I could find that was rescinded over a failed physical was in 2016 when the Rockets dealt Donatas Montiejunas, also to Pistons. Montiejunas reportedly failed the physical due to back problems. Today, Montiejuans went at the Pistons on Twitter shortly after the news broke that Bol’s trade was a no-go.
There have been recent trades that were held up due to issues discovered on physicals, but those deals were ultimately completed. The Celtics gave the Cavaliers an extra second-round pick after Cleveland wasn’t thrilled with Isaiah Thomas’ physical after the two teams agreed to a trade involving the point guard in 2017. In January 2021, an additional second-round pick and cash were sent to Indiana after a post-trade physical revealed a small mass on Caris Levert’s left kidney.
Bol’s failed physical came as a shock to Denver. Bol had foot surgery at Oregon and the procedure was one of the reasons he slid into the second round of the draft that year. The surgery forced Bol to miss Summer League that year and most of his rookie season. But Bol has been injury-free since. I don’t ever recall seeing him on Denver’s injury report over the last few seasons.
McGruder also practiced with Denver in Los Angeles over the weekend prior to the Nuggets’ matchup with the Clippers, and Bol’s No. 10 was given to new 10-day signee James Ennis.
Denver had completely moved on.
Could Bol play for the Nuggets again?
The trade is off, so McGruder is back on the Pistons. Bol is back on the Nuggets and technically could play for Denver.
But I doubt Bol has any desire to put a Nuggets uniform on again. He desperately wanted out of Denver and finally got his wish when the Nuggets and Pistons agreed to the deal. He re-posted congratulatory messages from friends, fellow NBA players and rappers to his Instagram story over the last few days. He was excited for a fresh start, especially on a team like the Pistons that gave him a prime opportunity to play real minutes for a franchise that doesn’t plan on making a playoff push this season.
I feel for Bol. He’s 22-years-old with his whole basketball career in front of him. He was waiting for this opportunity all season. Now, there’s uncertainty.
I’d think the Nuggets will look to find another landing spot for Bol ASAP. Look at teams that fit Detroit’s profile to be potential suitors. Orlando, Oklahoma City, Houston, and New Orleans all would make sense. The Nuggets’ sales pitch to Bol could be this: return to Denver, be available to play if you’re needed, be a good solider and we’ll try hard to find another deal.
But would another team clear him if another trade was agreed to? Would Bol pass their physical? It’s uncharted territory. The Nuggets, who by most accounts have a pretty conservative medical staff, wouldn’t have originally cleared Bol if there was any doubt that he was fit to play.
What was an amicable split between the two parties now turns into an awkward reunion.