Draft and Trade Buzz: What I'm hearing with one day to go

The Thunder are pulling out all the stops to move up into the top of the lottery ... Will the Pistons, Rockets, Cavs or Raptors take the bait? Plus a plausible Raptors-Warriors trade

(Note to readers: This is an excerpt of Draft Buzz provided to free subscribers. To get more Thunder trade scenarios, the latest on the Warriors options for trades and draft picks, other trade rumors for teams in the first round, plus stock updates on Jonathan Kuminga, Keon Johnson and Day’Ron Sharpe … you need to be a paid subscriber. Click button below to read the full version.)

Read the FULL Draft Buzz Column

We’re one day away from the 2021 NBA Draft and the rumor mill has been churning hot and heavy as teams finalize their draft boards and talk trades.

Here’s the latest that I’m hearing around the league as of Wednesday morning:


Can the Thunder Trade Up?

All eyes are on Sam Presti and the Oklahoma City Thunder.

The Thunder are the most active team in the league, according to multiple sources, in their efforts to find a way to get higher in the draft. They have a huge stockpile of young players, draft picks and cap space to use in trades. 

Will all of that be enough to get them higher in the draft?

Here are some potential paths for OKC with the Pistons, Rockets, Cavs and Raptors:

Making a deal with the Pistons

The Thunder reportedly offered Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and the sixth pick in the draft to the Detroit Pistons this week for the No. 1 overall pick, only to see Pistons GM Troy Weaver reject the offer.

Is there a better offer the Thunder could put together to lure the top pick away from Detroit? 

According to one rival GM that also explored trading up with the Pistons, “Troy wants a lot. I think the Thunder would have to, at a very minimum, include their unprotected first rounder in 2022 to get up there. That would be too rich for my blood.”

Several other rival GMs also expressed pessimism that there’s a deal to be had. 

Said one: “I think Troy’s doing his due diligence to make sure there isn’t a deal out there that was life-changing for the franchise, but the price is so high, I don’t see a deal getting done.”

Marc Stein reported on Tuesday, “One league source insists that one of the factors keeping the Pistons from committing fully to the selection of Cunningham is Jalen Green’s recent stellar workout that apparently made the strongest of impressions.” 

So Detroit might be giving itself some wiggle room for a trade. But with Houston apparently ready to take Green at No. 2, that leaves only the Rockets available for the Pistons to talk to if Detroit’s intention is to end up with Cunningham or Green. 

At the same time, I continue to hear that Cunningham remains the favorite to be drafted by the Pistons at No. 1.

In short, the chances of the Thunder getting the No. 1 pick from Detroit look very slim.

Making a deal with the Rockets

???

(Note to readers: This is an excerpt of Draft Buzz provided to free subscribers. To get more Thunder trade scenarios, the latest on the Warriors options for trades and draft picks, other trade rumors for teams in the first round, plus stock updates on Jonathan Kuminga, Keon Johnson and Day’Ron Sharpe … you need to be a paid subscriber. Click button below to read the full version.)

Read the FULL Draft Buzz Column

Over the next two days we’re offering a full year sub for $40. You can get both this year’s draft and the 2022 draft for one low price. Paid subscribers will also get access to a LIVE Zoom call Wed night at 8 pm, full Mock Drafts, Big Boards, scouting reports on all of the top players in the draft as well as the ability to comment on articles and special discussion boards and more interaction with me in the coming weeks.)