Recent trade idea sees Thunder cough up 2 first-rounders for coveted draft prospect

Oklahoma City Thunder v New Orleans Pelicans - Game Three
Oklahoma City Thunder v New Orleans Pelicans - Game Three / Sean Gardner/GettyImages

Recently, rumors have started to surface suggesting that the OKC Thunder are open to the idea of moving up in the upcoming NBA Draft, with Jonathan Givony and Jeremy Woo of ESPN going as far as to report that the ball club may have their eyes set on UConn standout prospect, Donovan Clingan.

Unfortunately for Sam Presti and co., per sources close to Givony and Woo, the highly-touted big man isn't expected to drop past the Portland Trail Blazers at the seventh overall selection, meaning that, should they wish to acquire his services, a trade up from the 12 spot may be necessary.

In a recent piece by Piston Powerd's Tyler Dutton, a proposal to do exactly that was crafted that involves the departure of numerous current and future selections in the process.

Thunder trade idea sends multiple first-rounders to Pistons for No. 5 pick

Thunder/ Pistons

To Dutton, this proposal seems to be quite realistic, as he notes that moving up seven spots "for a player with as much recent buzz as Donovan Clingan" would likely cost any team a multitude of picks to make a deal work.

Considering the Thunder have a treasure chest of such assets over the next few seasons, including several selections in this year's first round alone, said cost likely wouldn't be as steep as it would be for another team around their current draft position.

Of course, then there's the question of whether Oklahoma City views Clingan as their center of the future and if he'll even be around at the five spot, as recent rumblings suggest the top-seated Atlanta Hawks have a serious interest in plucking him off the board themselves.

Measuring in at 7-foot-2, 280 pounds, and boasting an impressive array of rim-protecting (2.5 blocks per game in 2023-24) and rebounding skills (7.4 boards per game), the 20-year-old sports the build and play style of someone who, frankly, could have been of great use to this Thunder team during their second-round elimination bout against the bigger and stronger Dallas Mavericks.

On top of this, his reported improvement in long-range shooting during individual pre-draft workouts could allow Mark Daigneault to continue running his coveted five-out offensive rotation, which would bode well for the club's top-ranked three-point shooting team.

Of course, considering Oklahoma City has shown to have an affinity for running rookie phenom Chet Holmgren at the five, there's an argument that coughing up several draft picks for a potential backup may not be the most logical of decisions.

Even if they were to view him as a possible long-term solution to the starting five and, thus, slide the 7-foot-1 Holmgren down to power forward, there's still a sound claim to be made that this win-now Thunder team, regardless of their youthful average age of 25, might want to pursue proven players that can contribute right from the jump rather than waiting on a player to develop, especially when taking into account that they may not have the luxury to go all-out in a few years once guys like Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Jalen Williams, and Holmgren are locked down to max extensions.

In the grand scheme of things, being they have a ton of expendable assets and a plethora of draft capital, should Presit feel this move, or something like it would be beneficial for OKC then fans should absolutely give him the benefit of the doubt -- after all, the front office won't be able to utalize all of these assets if held onto anyway.

That said, as things currently stand, it would appear that taking a swing on an established commodity in the association rather than an unproven rookie prospect could be the safe choice to make.