I have no idea what is going to happen tonight. I never do. When Sam Presti is involved, anything short of trading Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook seems to be possible. I think the reason so many Thunder fans are delusional about trading players like Byron Mullens and Nate Robinson for highly valued assets is because Presti’s pulled off exactly those type trades before. I think he’s a Jedi.
That said, there is word that the Cleveland Cavaliers are pushing to grab another first round pick, other than the third lottery one, preferably in the 20s, in exchange for their two second rounders (32 and 54) and cash.
As Darnell Mayberry pointed out, could that be something the Thunder are interested in? (Of course this is assuming that the reported Eric Maynor stuff doesn’t happen and the Thunder doesn’t have a promise to Reggie Jackson at 24. Just assume that stuff.)
Doesn’t seem like a great deal on the surface. As soon as it were announced, I’m sure there would be some groans. Give up the 24th pick for two second rounders? Boo. But in reality, it makes a solid amount of sense to trade out of the first round for OKC.
Especially if Sam Presti and company get a sense that a few players they like might fall out of the first round.
For instance, if the Thunder are going the Eurostash route, Davis Bertans will likely be available at 32. Nikola Mirotic probably won’t be, but with teams leery of his buyout, there’s a chance he slips.
Guys like Justin Harper and Tyler Honeycutt won’t be available at 32, but there’s potential that Kyle Singler could slip down that far. Same goes for Jimmy Butler, Chandler Parsons and the other swingmen the Thunder might be targeting. Maybe the Thunder don’t land their first choice, but when you’re picking in the 20s, getting the guy you really want isn’t easy. A lot has to go right.
And let’s face it — this draft pick isn’t having an impact right now. In reality, it’s a pretty inconsequential pick. Yes, if the right guy is taken there could be a lasting impact down the line. Serge Ibaka was taken by the then-Sonics at 24. Plenty of solid players have been taken at that spot or even after. But this roster is pretty structured right now. Assuming Nazr Mohammed and Daequan Cook come back, the 10-man rotation will be entirely unchanged from last season.
Maybe a Kyle Singler, a Tyler Honeycutt or someone else could beat out Cook in the rotation or make Thabo expendable. That’s a possibility, certainly.
But in trading out of the first round and likely missing out on those guys, the Thunder doesn’t have to sign their pick, meaning an all-valuable roster spot stays open. If it’s a college player, OKC can still stash him in the D-League or if it decides it really likes the player, sign him and make him the 15th man. If it’s a Euro guy, it doesn’t really matter either way.
I think this scenario isn’t necessarily likely, but it’s certainly in play. The Thunder aren’t drafting to fill some gaping need. Most everything is set up. This pick is for the future and with as hard as the Thunder scouts, if they like someone that’s going in the second round, why not move down and pick up a couple million dollars in the process?
I’m sure Clay Bennett is a fan of that idea.
What happens tonight? We’ll see (duh). I don’t see the Thunder trading Eric Maynor and honestly, I can’t see trading out of the first round happening either. At this point, both are just ideas.