The Oklahoma City Thunder have more assets than perhaps any other team, but there have yet to be substantial reports about them attempting to move up and draft a player like Jalen Green, Evan Mobley or Jalen Suggs.
ESPN’s NBA guru Adrian Wojnarowski thinks the time has come that the Thunder will start in earnest.
In a discussion with Zach Lowe, Wojnarowski said that teams think the Thunder will begin making calls this week.
“I think what teams expect to happen this week is that Oklahoma City starts knocking at the door. Whether that’s at 3 with Cleveland, at 2 with Houston,” Wojnarowski said. “This is what (general manager) Sam Presti had in mind when he stockpiled all of these picks from now through 2027.”
It appears the Thunder will select forward Scottie Barnes, Jonathan Kuminga or James Bouknight, but these three players are a tier below the top of the class.
The Detroit Pistons are widely believed to be prepared to take Cade Cunningham. It appears that a trade package for the Oklahoma State point guard would be too costly.
There have been more and more reports that the Houston Rockets are settling on Green at No. 2, which would likely leave Mobely for the Cleveland Cavaliers at No. 3.
The Toronto Raptors, who hold the fourth pick, are reportedly debating between Suggs, Barnes and Kuminga, but Suggs has been expected to be a top-four pick for months.
“If there is a player they target, that they want, like Evan Mobley from USC… and they want to get up in the draft to try to get him at three … they can keep coming at them with assets,” Wojnarowski said.
With that said, even though the Thunder have assets, a trade is far from certain. The Rockets tanked an entire season for the chance to get someone like Green. It would be hard to sell the organization and fan base on trading down.
The Cavaliers have struggled for so long, that they need a franchise cornerstone.
“I think Cleveland right now, they’ve got to come out of this with an impact player,” Wojnarowski said. “There’s like three legitimate No. 1 picks … I think it’s going to be really hard to get that pick away from Cleveland. ”
But if any team has the pieces to make a move, it might be the Thunder.
“I can tell you this: There are teams toward the top of the draft that are checking their phones, checking their phones, waiting for that Oklahoma City area code to pop up,” Lowe said.
The NBA draft will take place on Thursday.