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Ricky Rubio, 25th and 28th picks traded to Minnesota in exchange for Aleksej Pokusevski

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Presti finally gets his man

2018 Basketball Without Boarders Photo by NBA Photos/NBAE via Getty Images

Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic has reported that the Thunder have traded Ricky Rubio, the 25th pick and the 28th pick to the Timberwolves in exchange for the 17th pick — Aleksej Pokusevski.

It has been widely reported that the Thunder have expressed heavy interest in Pokusevski. Pokusevski had been slated to go in the teens and there was a lot of chatter about the Thunder moving up to make this pick happen. The Thunder will use the 17th pick to draft Pokusevski.

The 18-year-old has not played much professional basketball but draft reports rave about his potential and raw talent. The reports have also cautioned that Pokesevski will be a long term project who will need years to develop his frame and skills. There is potential there but it will take time for this potential to turn into talent.

The Thunder landed Rubio on Monday when they traded Chris Paul to Phoenix. Rubio will return to the place where his NBA career began, Minnesota. The package sent to Minnesota seems too much to give up only to move eight spots up. I feel like this deal could have been completed without including Rubio.

Nonetheless, Sam Presti has earned the benefit of the doubt when it comes to having an eye for talent. Presti’s persistence when it comes to Pokusevski should be trusted in this instance.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN also reports that the Thunder will be receiving a package from Minnesota.

The package is not clear as of yet but James Johnson is a likely name heading our way to make the money work. Johnson will make $15.8M this year on an expiring deal while Rubio will make $17M.