The defending champion Denver Nuggets will acquire the 29th and 32nd overall picks in Thursday’s draft in a trade with the Indiana Pacers. The Nuggets will send a 2024 first-round pick and the 40th overall pick in this draft to Indiana in the deal.

The 2024 first-rounder going to the Pacers will be the least favorable of Denver’s own, Oklahoma City’s, the LA Clippers’, Houston’s (if 5-30) or Utah’s (if 11-30), according to ESPN’s Bobby Marks. The Nuggets acquired the least favorable of the 2024 first-round picks owned by the Thunder, as well as the 37th overall pick in this draft, for a protected 2029 first-round pick in a deal made with Oklahoma City during the NBA Finals.

Denver, which is preparing for the possibility of losing sixth man Bruce Brown in free agency after he declined his $6.8 million option for next season, will now draft at No. 29, 32 and 37 on Thursday as general manager Calvin Booth continues to attempt to find young role players who can contribute during the franchise’s window as contenders. It’s critical for the Nuggets to have contributors on rookie contracts to fill out a roster that features two-time MVP Nikola Jokic, Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr. on maximum contracts.

Christian Braun, the No. 21 pick last year, was a rotation player as a rookie. The Nuggets are optimistic that Peyton Watson, the No. 30 overall pick last year who played sparingly as a rookie, will be ready to fill a rotation role next season.

The Pacers still own four picks on Thursday night (Nos. 7, 26, 40 and 55) and remain active in trade discussions with other teams, sources said. Indiana, whose promising young core is headlined by All-Star point guard Tyrese Haliburton and All-Rookie shooting guard Bennedict Mathurin, now owns two first-round picks in the 2024 draft.