We've come to expect the unexpected with Sam Presti and the NBA Draft. With all the speculation of who could be the guy at pick 14, we ought to also consider the possibility of trades in the upcoming NBA Draft.
With the Thunder's current roster and mindset being set on winning now and the reality that draft picks can take some time (even several years) to adjust to the NBA, a trade could net the Thunder a player ready to make a rotational impact next season.
Here are a few plausible trade scenarios to consider as we close in on the Draft.
OKC Thunder and Toronto Raptors
1. Raptors 1st Round Pick (20th Overall)
2. Terrence Ross
3. Another player to make salaries work
1. Thunder 1st Round Pick (14th Overall)
2. Dion Waiters
This trade gives the Thunder an additional player at the wing in Ross who can give them minutes backing up Durant or even a potential starter at shooting guard. Ross is a career 37% 3 point shooter and is fast break machine. He didn't produce as expected for the Raptors this season and could benefit from a change of scenery. With the 20th pick the Thunder can still most likely select a player like Justin Anderson or R.J. Hunter.
The Raptors are at an interesting crossroads. They are a playoff team but clearly a notch below the elite of the Eastern Conference. This trade give them a chance to move up and grab a player such as Sam Dekker or even possibly Devin Booker while adding a player in Waiters, who in spite of his on the court frustrations, has some real basketball talent.
This trade would leave the shooting guard position looking something like this
Roberson | Morrow | Ross | Lamb | Anderson/Hunter
OKC Thunder and Charlotte Hornets
1. Hornets Pick (9th Overall)
2. Lance Stephenson
1. Thunder Pick (14th overall)
2. Dion Waiters
3. Jeremy Lamb (although I would try to trade Perry Jones off first)*
4. Steve Novak
The Hornets get much needed salary relief in Stephenson and also rid themselves of a player who clearly became a distraction. They also can embrace the much needed rebuild by adding a player in Lamb who could really benefit from a change of scenery and Waiters who in spite of his on the court frustrations has the ability to be a more than adequate 6th man. Adding the 14th pick to the mix and the Hornets can begin to move forward into much needed and new direction.
The Thunder would have a chance to have a reclamation project in Stephenson who is just a year removed from being one of the best young players in the NBA. Pairing him with the leadership of Durant and Westbrook may be just the spark needed to put his career back on the right track. The real coup however in this scenario is it gives the Thunder a strong chance to draft Stanley Johnson with the 9th overall pick.
This trade would involve some risk on the Thunder's end. They would be taking on an additional $9 million per year, but if Stephenson can revert back to the player he was with the Pacers, then $9 million would be a steal with the upcoming salary cap jumps. The risk however is not as significant when coupled with the upcoming contract Dion Waiters would likely receive. It wouldn't shock me to see Waiters end up with a contract paying him somewhere between $6-$8 million per year.
If this trade were to take place it would also open up a roster spot for Huestis.
Are we crazy for considering these trades? What other trades would you like to see Presti make in the upcoming NBA Draft?
*Perry Jones salary allows this trade to still go through. The Hornets might be desperate enough to unload Stephenson and would accept this trade. It would create a logjam at wing to keep Lamb and bring in Stephenson and Johnson, but I think that Lamb still could develop into a solid player or be a better piece in an additional trade.