Thunder have opportunity 'to strike' on coveted NBA Draft prospect: Analyst

2022 NBA Draft
2022 NBA Draft / Arturo Holmes/GettyImages

For quite some time now, the OKC Thunder have been stockpiling draft capital and, in turn, find themselves approaching 2024's festivities owning the rights to 13 future first-round picks and 20 second-rounders through the next six years.

While such a collection is certainly impressive, realistically, due to the fact that there are only 15 roster spots allowed for an individual team coupled with Oklahoma City's long list of building blocks who are expected to be in tow for the long haul (Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Chet Holmgren, Jalen Williams, etc.), Sam Presti and co. will not be able to utilize all of these assets themselves.

Because of this, it is the belief of many that it could be in the team's best interest to package some of them in some sort of consolidation trade where they exchange several future draft picks for one particular talent.

And while the concept of a blockbuster deal for an established star is always an entertaining idea to discuss, in a recent piece it was revealed that ESPN's Jeremy Woo believes the upcoming NBA Draft may be the time for the Thunder to finally "strike" on a transaction, only, in this scenario, they'd be pursuing an incoming rookie prospect.

2024 NBA Draft may be time for Thunder 'to strike' on a trade

"The Thunder have navigated into an enviable position of strength. With roster depth and a cache of future assets, they can essentially trade wherever they want in the draft. If there's a prospect they love and want to aggressively target, this draft -- with most teams open to moving around for value -- might be an opportunity for OKC to strike."

Jeremy Woo

Despite being crowned the top seed in the Western Conference standings and becoming the youngest team in league history to win a playoff series, the Thunder are far from a perfectly constructed ball club.

While they may have ample star power and sensational role players already in place, missing from their arsenal are several factors that currently separate them from being confidently mentioned in the legitimate title-contender conversation, with headliners including big-bodied centers, rebounders, and high-octane three-point shooters.

With a projected $33 million in cap space to be utilized this summer, there's an argument to be made that they could simply look to try and shore up these loose ends via the free agency market, and, as of this writing, are already being linked to some of this summer's top available talents.

That said, recent rumblings have also indicated that Presti has an interest in moving up the 2024 draft board to better the team's odds of nabbing coveted UConn pivot Donovan Clingan, who, based on his size (7-foot-2, 280 pounds), skill-set (averaged 7.4 rebounds and 2.5 blocks this past season), and reported improvements as a long-range shooter, has many believing he could be an ideal frontcourt partner for Chet Holmgren, something that Woo suggests "might be one concrete objective" for the franchise this summer.

Be it for Clingan, Alex Sarr, or any other top-ranked prospect in this year's draft, the ESPN analyst believes the Thunder could finally be open to making a move with their slew of draft capital to land virtually any incoming pro they want this June.