Oklahoma City Thunder: Potential Ideas to Consolidate Draft Picks

Oklahoma City Thunder Draft Day Trades

After a disappointing Lottery Draw, the Oklahoma City Thunder enter the draft with six draft picks. General Manager Sam Presti built his reputation by selecting Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, and James Harden near the top of their respective drafts. These three would go on to win MVP at various points of their careers, an unheard-of feat in NBA History. Despite this, the Thunder were unable to win a championship the first time around and are looking to replicate their early success.

Oklahoma City Thunder: Potential Ideas to Consolidate Draft Picks

2021 Draft Picks

The Thunder will have a total of six selections with three first-round picks and three seconds.

The Thunder were able to acquire these selections through various trades over the past couple of seasons. Most recently, Oklahoma City acquired the 16th pick in a surprise trade with the Boston Celtics. The Thunder sent Al Horford and a future second-round pick to Boston for Kemba Walker and number 16, giving Sam Presti three first-round selections. Additionally, Oklahoma City has three-second round selections which include two early in the second round.

Presti has a lot of collateral at his disposal so let’s dive into three potential draft-night deals.

Draft Night Trade #1 – Sacramento Kings Trade Back with Oklahoma City

The Sacramento Kings have been toeing the line of competing and rebuilding. In this scenario, the Kings elect to continue its rebuild by trading back in the draft with Oklahoma City.

Sacramento Continues to Rebuild, Waves Goodbye to Marvin Bagley

There is going to be a lot of value to be had between picks seven to 20 with many anticipating a lot of surprises. The Kings are far from a finished product and have a number of holes to fill around its franchise star De’Aaron Fox. Veterans Harrison Barnes and Buddy Hield will likely be on the market for contending teams and this serves as a wonderful opportunity to go youngAdding two picks just outside the lottery for Sacramento in a deep draft makes a lot of sense.

As for Marvin Bagley, Sacramento essentially gives him away to remove toxicity within the organization. The relationship between Bagley and the Kings has at the point of no return. This is essentially an asset grab for Sacramento to push Bagley out the door.

The Thunder Consolidate, Acquire Top-10 Pick and Reclamation Project

The Thunder completes a two-for-one deal to acquire another top-10 pick to pair with its number six selection. This increases Oklahoma Citys potential to move further up the draft further to chase a blue-chip prospect. If this is unsuccessful, Oklahoma City can select another high-end player in hopes of developing them next to franchise stud Shai Gilgeous-Alexander.

Draft Night Trade #2 – New Orleans Pelicans Undo Mistakes

It has been a nightmare 12 months for the New Orleans Pelicans following the monster haul for Jrue Holiday last free agency. They acquired veterans Eric Bledsoe, Steven Adams and signed coach Stan Van Gundy to a five-year deal. One year later, the Pelicans fired Van Gundy after one season and are looking to offload at least one of Adams and Bledsoe

New Orleans Move On from Steven Adams

The Pelicans begin to undo some of the mess it created last season by sending Adams back to Oklahoma City. New Orleans inked Adams to a two-year, $34-million extension upon his arrival last season but immediately experienced buyer’s remorse. The fit between Adams, Zion Williamson, and Bledsoe was ugly thus it became obvious changes had to be made this offseason.

New Orleans moves back eight spots in the draft to make this deal happen and solves an issue that needed to be addressed.

Oklahoma City Thunder Welcome Back Cult Hero, Move Up the Draft

Adams is a cult hero and will be welcomed back with open arms. Depending on how the draft goes, Adams also fills a need in the middle as the Thunder have no centers on their roster. With mountains of cap space, absorbing Adams’ deal to move up to 10 is a worthwhile investment for a team seeking to take the best player available.

Adams also offers leadership to a squad that needs it outside of Luguentz Dort and Gilgeous-Alexander.

Draft Night Trade #3 – Cleveland and Oklahoma City Engage in a Monster Transaction

This is the most unlikely trade of the three but it’s interesting to consider.

Cleveland Finally Move on from Kevin Love, Acquire a Treasure of Assets

The Cavaliers have been trying to move on from Kevin Love since he signed that dreadful contract in 2018. He has caused them nothing but turmoil with his uneven play, moods, and childish behavior the last two years. Yes, they have to pair a top-3 pick to move on from him but they get an impressive haul. Two rotational players in Luguentz Dort, Darius Bazley, number six, 18, and a future first is nothing to sneeze at.

Dort and Bazley are ideal complementary pieces to put around franchise centerpiece Darius Garland. Dort is an all defensive caliber player who has shown to be one of the best one on one defenders in the NBA. Bazley is a developing two-way forward whose shown flashes on both sides of the ball. The pair can grow alongside Garland as he develops into a star.

Oklahoma City land their Blue-Chip prospect

The Thunder are seeking high-end talent to pair with Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and they achieve that in this deal. It is a steep price to pay, moving on from two young prospects and sending three first-round picks but it’s worth it if they believe in their selection. Losing Dort and Bazley are huge losses given the promise they’ve shown in their careers to date but the Thunder are rebuilding. Acquiring the best talent available is the goal at this point.

The Thunder absorb Kevin Love’s remaining two-years, $60-million contract but it is likely the price to move up to three. Love has the opportunity to do what other vets before him have done and rehab his value. If he buys in, he will get the chance to play.

Final Thoughts

With NBA Draft night and Free Agency fast approaching, teams will be sending out smokescreens to conceal what they are planning to do. The Thunder are in an interesting position given the number of assets they possess and can make virtually any offer possible. Draft capital is the most valuable currency in the NBA and Oklahoma City has plenty of it. What they choose to do with it remains one of the biggest mysteries.

If there is one General Manager and franchise who knows what to do, it’s Sam Presti and the Oklahoma City Thunder.