OKC Thunder: Sam Presti is still gunning for top pick in NBA Draft

OKC Thunder - NBA Draft Lottery; Oklahoma State Cowboys guard Cade Cunningham (2): Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports
OKC Thunder - NBA Draft Lottery; Oklahoma State Cowboys guard Cade Cunningham (2): Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports /

With three sleeps remaining until the 2021 NBA Draft things are really beginning to heat up. Sam Presti is probably connected to an I.V. red bull drip as the OKC Thunder magician continues to strategize, prioritize and try to pull out every stop to move up in the draft order.

Although Intentions has theorized the Thunder VP would be actively seeking to trade up we’ve had no definitive proof. Rather it’s been more conjecture, albeit from top industry analysts.

Presti is notoriously tighter than Fort Knox when it comes to retaining internal information. That led to TI jumping on every leak, whisper, and rumor with a view for any shred of realism.

It’s not like the bespeckled genius hasn’t served up prior draft night deals or surprising trades seemingly coming out of left field (um — James Harden outbound or Paul George inbound — and then outbound).

This is the same man who immediately redefined what it meant to commit to a rebuild amassing 38 potential draft picks over the next seven seasons. When the team proved too competitive veterans Al Horford and Mike Muscala were shut down and the young core was afforded ample recovery time for injuries.

Tanking was embraced and the franchise pulled out every lucky charm hoping those bingo balls would fall one and five (Rockets) on June 22nd.

When that process fell short of optimistic expectations every writer who has covered the Thunder or fan invested in the team knew in their souls Presti wouldn’t just shrug his shoulders and accept the outcome of the bingo balls.

OKC Thunder VP Sam Presti is invested in trading up in the NBA Draft

Confirmation of that fact was provided today by Jonathan Wasserman, lead NBA scout, and Bleacher Report draft analyst.  In his tweet late this afternoon, Wasserman confirmed the OKC Thunder did make a legitimate offer to the Pistons for the number one pick but it was turned down.

NBA sage, Adrian Wojnarowski also offered insight that Pistons GM Troy Weaver and his team are still conducting internal meetings discussing the top three prospects — Cade Cunningham, Jalen Green, and Evan Mobley. Woj suggests Weaver who, like Presti, does things his own way isn’t ready to definitively tap Cunningham – the player who spent the entire year tapped as the top draft prospect.

Unlike his former OKC Thunder front office collaborator, Weaver doesn’t have seven years to get this right. Nor can he afford to miss the mark. Not with the historically bad draft choices, the Pistons have made, and there are plenty.

Even if you forgive the Pistons selecting Brandon Knight (8th) over Klay Thompson (11th) and Kawhi Leonard (15th) in 2011 or Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (8th) over Giannis Antetokounmpo (15th) in 2013 there is no reprieve for 2003. The only thing worse than Detroit selecting Darko Milicic second ahead of Carmelo Anthony (3rd), Chris Bosh (4th), and Dwyane Wade (5th) was the fact Joe Dumars was still the man making those choices

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Fortunately, Weaver has a proven track record including being the main force behind Russell Westbrook‘s selection (4th) and notoriously saying he wouldn’t have taken Michael Beasley if available (for the record, Beasley was selected second).

Despite the Pistons’ continuing debate, it seems unfathomable Weaver would turn down a “legitimate offer” from friend Presti unless Cunningham was locked.

Meanwhile, this news of the Thunder offer only serves to bolster the odds Presti is wearing out the speed dial buttons of Rafael Stone (Rockets), Koby Altman (Cavaliers), and Masai Ujiri (Raptors) in addition to Weaver.

We’ll have to wait until Thursday night to get a definitive answer. But for those inclined to bet I’d put good money on the Thunder magician walking away with one of the four players tapped as generational talents.

Draft lottery results continue to be thorn in Presti's side. dark. Next