2009 NBA Draft Coverage: Two Major Scenarios Emerging For Thunder

Based on all the latest information, especially coming from ESPN, it appears that two major scenarios are emerging for the Thunder:

Scenario A - Grizzlies Don't Trade

In this situation, the Grizzlies can't find a proper trade partner and will just stand pat at #2. The Clippers do the obvious, and the Grizzlies would take Hasheem Thabeet. In this case, the common chatter seems to be that the Thunder would select SG James Harden from Arizona State.

Scenario B - Grizzlies Do Trade

If the Grizzlies make a trade, it will be to a team wanting to move up to select Rubio. Therefore, Griffin and Rubio would be off the board. According to all the reports today, the Thunder would be perfectly happy selecting C Hasheem Thabeet from Connecticut.

The source on all of this is Chris Broussard of ESPN:

I'm told OKC will take Hasheem Thabeet at No. 3 if he's there, though there are concerns that he'll struggle on a team for which he's the No. 1 post option. I'm also told that if Thabeet's not there, the Thunder will take James Harden. GM Sam Presti loves Ricky Rubio, but he knows Russell Westbrook will be angered to the point of wanting out if OKC drafts another PG.

I've got to admit, I don't think Russell would raise that big of a problem if Rubio was drafted. He would still have a starting spot, and statistically he performed better with another point guard on the floor last year.

More on Thabeet, Harden and other possible options, plus more transactions today after the jump!

What are the various probabilities? Well the likelihood of the Grizzlies trading down seems to be hitting a road block, namely that the Grizzlies want too much. ESPN's Andy Katz:

Memphis discussed sending the No. 2 to Minnesota for the No. 5 and No. 6, but the Timberwolves have consistently said that they don't want to give away two top-10 picks. The Wolves also rejected the offer for No. 6 and Love. The Timberwolves offered either No. 5 or 6 and Craig Smith for the No. 2, but Memphis rejected that trade, too. The source said there was never any discussion involving Minnesota's No. 18 pick.

Apparently the Grizzlies offered the #2 pick to the Thunder for the #3 pick and Thabo Sefolosha, but the Thunder smartly declined. With no trade partners apparent, it seems most likely that the Grizzlies will stay put and take Thabeet. If I had to break down the percentages, I'd say a 50% chance of Scenario A (Thunder get Harden), a 35% chance of Scenario B (Thunder get Thabeet), and 15% Presti surprises us.

Interesting side note about Rubio, apparently his buyout could be about as expensive as his rookie contract, so he could wind up playing for free in the NBA initially. He is quoted as saying he doesn't mind. Another interesting tidbit from ESPN tagged on to the end of that:

In a video that will be on TrueHoop shortly, he also was asked to react to various NBA cities. His gut reaction to the word "Minnesota" was: "Too cold." Oklahoma City earned a "My best friend lives nearby." And when Rubio thinks of Sacramento, the first thing that comes to mind is: "Nice weather."

As much as it seemed the "lean" was to Rubio as little as 24 hours ago, I would have to say it seems most likely that the Thunder will wind up with either Harden or Thabeet.

And finally, the last rumor or "buzz" that's directly relevant to the Oklahoma City Thunder. This was reported by Mike Baldwin at the Oklahoman:

The latest rumor out of Minnesota, according to a source that follows the Timberwolves, is they might want to trade the No. 5 and 18 picks to Oklahoma City for the No. 3 pick. The latest twist is Minnesota’s target is Tyreke Evans, not Ricky Rubio or Hasheem Thabeet. Sacramento, which picks No. 4,  is believed to have Evans at the top of its board. Minnesota might feel compelled to move up to take Evans but doesn’t want to give up the No. 5 and No. 6 picks to Memphis to get Evans.

Fairly interesting, and again, I wouldn't mind trading down and winding up with the same player we would probably get at #3, while picking up yet another first round draft choice. Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress confirms these rumors (3 for 5, 18) but says it is unlikely to happen. He also floats the following rumor:

Oklahoma City has already reportedly offered Minnesota to trade the #5 and #6 picks for the #3 selection, where Ricky Rubio is sure to be available for the Timberwolves. Oklahoma City appears to be sending out signals that Rubio is the player they covet at #3, although this could very well be a smokescreen to force Minnesota to trade up if they indeed covet Rubio as much as people think.

Now that would be a steal, and I'm rooting for it all the way.

Trade Rumors and Deals That Are Done

Draft Buzz

  • The Utah Jazz, who pick at #20, apparently like Sam Young from Pitt a lot (source)
  • The Nets have narrowed down their choices at #11 to Hansbrough and Gerald Henderson (source). Chris Broussard says their list includes Terrence WIlliams and Jonny Flynn, in addition to the other two.
  • Ric Bucher reporting that the latest chatter in Sacramento is that the Kings are no longer interested in Rubio and that they have whittled their choices down to Jonny Flynn or Tyreke Evans. This was posted within the past hour. He also qualifies this by saying that the smokescreen may be in full force.
  • Toronto really likes Jonny Flynn, according to Chris Broussard.
  • The Knicks are going to do everything reasonable to take Stephen Curry, according to just about everyone.
  • Jonathan Givony says no way does Flynn get past Milwaukee at #10, suggesting that he might even have a promise from the Bucks (source)
  • Givony mentions in passing that there could be a sign-and-trade with David Lee of the Knicks for Rubio if the Thunder take him. (source)

NOTE: As many teams are likely "burning the midnight oil", we'll likely have some more rumors to float along. Hopefully I'll have a post later this evening if anything new comes to light!

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