It may sound surprising, why would the Thunder trade for the first overall pick? However, the loss of James Harden and the eventual injury of Russell Westbrook has exposed the weaknesses that they have shielded in the regular season. The Thunder has always believed that they have the interior defense down pat, with Serge Ibaka as an athletic beast and Kendrick Perkins as the capable banger against the best bigs in the West. Both these players unraveled against the Memphis duo of Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph.
It’s also a practical decision. The Thunder has loads of first round picks that they will probably not use..trading up for one actual asset seems practical. In any case, the Thunder will not accept the 2nd round of the playoffs as their ceiling–especially since they have the 2nd best player in the world.
per Thunderous Intentions:
This is really the first we have heard about the Thunder being interested in trading up. It’s not very surprising though.
The Thunder have three picks in this draft, the 12th, 29th and 32nd overall selections. OKC of course is not looking to add three rookies to the roster, so attempting to trade up makes a lot of sense.
Aside from these three picks, the Thunder also have Dallas’ first round pick next year along with talented young players Reggie Jackson, Jeremy Lamb and Perry Jones at their disposal. Would packaging some combination of these assets be enough for the Thunder to offer Cleveland for the top pick?
Who do the Thunder want at number one, too? Nerlens Noel is the most popular prediction to be the first pick in the draft but he will likely be sidelined until sometime in December. Maybe the Thunder are really high on Alex Len and believe that the only way they can get him is by drafting first overall.
There are a few other prospects that may intrigue the Thunder in Ben McLemore , Otto Porter or Anthony Bennett, but neither of those three are expected to be taken first overall.
The Thunder should definitely be major players in this draft. The flexibility to make a trade to go after a player they really want is a real possibility and if there is any truth to this rumor, that is exactly what Thunder GM Sam Presti plans to do.