Oklahoma City News, Entertainment & Occasional Humor • Established 2007

Mock Draft, part II (and other tidbits)

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As I stated in yesterday’s lottery mock draft, the second half of the project worked on in conjunction with Royce Young at DailyThunder.com and Max Trueblood of OKCThunderfans.com is running today on DailyThunder.com.  Keep in mind that this back portion includes our guess at what the Thunder will do with the 25th pick.  So, check it out.

In addition, there has been plenty of news that could effect the Thunder when it comes to the draft.  In the past 24 hours, the following rumors or transactions have come to light:

  • The Spurs obtained an all star swingman from Milwaukee, Richard Jefferson, for the expiring contracts of three players who will probably provide no service to the Bucks.  For the Thunder, the implications are huge.  It shows that the predicted fire sale market is real.  Teams with cap space or who are willing to take on salary can get something for nothing.
  • Chad Ford of ESPN wrote this about the market for the Wizards #5 pick hours before the Timberwolves gave up a coveted shooter (Mike Miller) and their best guard (Randy Foye) and took on $18MM worth of dead weight contracts for said pick:

The Knicks have offered Larry Hughes for (Etan) Thomas and (Mike) James. The Wolves reportedly have offered Mike Miller. The Celtics would give them Ray Allen. The Rockets would give them Tracy McGrady and Carl Landry. The Bucks would send them Richard Jefferson. The Nets would entertain unloading Vince Carter. The Suns could do something with Shaquille O’Neal. The Blazers could part ways with Steve Blake, Jerryd Bayless or Travis Outlaw.

  • Considering what you read in that last bullet point, imagine what offers Sam Presti might be entertaining for an even better spot at #3.
  • With that last deal, the Wolves now possess four picks in this god awful (talent wise) draft.  Supposedly, they are hoping Memphis will part with the #2 pick for the #5 and #18 (leaving Minnesota with the #2, #6, and #28).  Personally, I’d think Memphis could do a lot better, but if that happens, the Wolves are targeting either Hasheem Thabeet, James Harden, Tyreke Evans, or *gulp* Ricky Rubio.  Supposedly, Evans is the player with whom they are most enamored.
  • Also coming out last night was news that Oklahoma City has obtained the services of a prominent Spanish law firm.  The reason for such a move would evidently be to handle negotiations of a Rubio contract buyout with his current team DKV Joventut.  And if you want an organization to help you with a buyout, this is the one, wouldn’t you think.  Currently Joventut is seeking the equivalent of $6.6MM for Rubio to get out of the final two years of a deal that is worth upwards of $250K to the player.  I’m pretty sure such a clause would never stand up in U.S. Court.
  • One rumor I hope is just bunk is that the Thunder are considering a deal with Phoenix in which they would swap the #25 pick for the #14 pick in this year’s draft with the target being B.J. Mullens for Oklahoma City.  To convince the Suns to make this deal, the Thunder would return the 2010 Suns draft pick that they now possess.  Considering that Phoenix is on the verge of slashing and burning their roster (there are constant rumors that Shaq and Amare Stoudamire are headed out) to save money, that pick could be very valuable especially in a 2010 draft pool that is projected to be much stronger.  Besides, in all likelihood Mullens is just another Robert Swift.  Plus, Mullens eyebrows whig me out.
  • Supposedly, the Knicks are making an effort to acquire the Thunder’s #3 pick with the intention of taking Stephen Curry.  Other than the #8 pick, I’m not sure what New York would be offering.
  • Sacramento, the other team that has been privy to information about Rubio’s contract information and has interviewed the Spaniard, is rumored to be trying to leap frog the Thunder by trading with Memphis for #2.  Then again, they are also rumored to be disinterested in Rubio and may be worried Memphis will take Tyreke Evans.  This is another situation where I’m not sure what the team hoping to move up would be able to offer.
  • Russell Westbrook is not happy about the concept of moving to the two guard.  In talking to ESPN the Magazine’s the Thunder’s incumbent “point guard” said the team should take James Harden with the number 3 pick.  When they asked about him sliding to the shooting guard position to make room for Ricky Rubio, Westbrook’s response was:  “Man, you trippin’.” I’m not really surprised by this revelation.  At the end of the season, Coach Scott Brooks was taking Westbrook off the ball more and playing him with Shaun Livingston a lot.  Then, when The Oklahoman polled the players about whether the interim tag should be removed from Brooks’ title, Westbrook was one of two players who did not endorse the move.  It could be that Brooks, a former point guard, realizes RW lacks the instincts a floor general should possess.
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Comments

  1. @ ” I’m pretty sure such a clause would never stand up in U.S. Court. ”

    And why not? I don’t see anythign wrong with it, unless he was underage or under duress when he signed the contract. I’ll bet they come to an agreement on the buyout, but without more, I don’t know why a Court would be so ready to void a fairly negotiated contract.

  2. And after watching that “highlight” video, I am a little disappointed in Rubio, to be real honest. I saw 2 maybe 3 NBA plays, but they were all against inferior competition. You really think a scoop shot from the middle of the lane is going to be a huge part of his game in the NBA? He will lead the league in blocked shots.

    And no one has really talked about Brandon Jenkins’ comments and if they are right, if so, how does a consensus #2 or 3 have that kind of stat line in the Euopean league?

    Dude is quick, no doubt, and did pretty well against the US team (who really dont’ play great defense, even with the best players on the planet), but I am nto sold. Especially when you really piss off your starting point guard that has some upside, in the process. You better be willing to find a new shooting guard in two years.

  3. And sorry folks, last comment:

    I am no Westbrook apologizer, I don’t know if he is a star at the point.

  4. I agree with your first post, Bob. Isn’t that what happened with Beckham?

    Rubio reminds me of the flap over Y2K. Much ado about nothing, not unlike many of the weather warnings around here.

  5. He was a minor when he signed the contract, and he’s barely not a minor now. Second, Rubio was paid $97,000 last year, and for the honor of not getting the $125,000 they planned to pay him next year, they expect a return of $6.6MM? That’s outrageous under any standard. When I first heard he had a buyout of that amount, I assumed it meant he was making at least a million a year.

  6. Also, if Russell Westbrook isn’t willing to make the team better by accepting a different role, I don’t see him having much potential, unless you’re gauging his ability to be a clubhouse cancer.

  7. The Rubio backlash is on. He’s a kid, he’s got many years of improvement in front of him.

    Now, you’ll hear Jay Bilas say he’s not athletic, then you watch him dunk the ball. He doesn’t get great elevation on his jump shot, that could be trouble.

    The kid has the intagibles, though. You can’t teach what he brings to the game. In other words, he’s the opposite of Westbrook, who can jump out of the gym but who might as well be blindfolded as he brings the ball up the court.

  8. @ Clark – It’s the minor thing that may get him out of the big buyout, but not the “outrageousness” of the contract. People sign contracts all the time that don’t seem fair, but that’s the way it is.

    Now, here in America, non-compete clauses that are particularly one sided are routinely found void, but I don’t think a similar buyout would be.

    @ Clark Part II – I get what you are saying on one level, but it’s teh NBA, not college hoops. If you are a guy like Westbrook, you are AT BEST going to be a middling SG, but could POTENTIALLY be soemthing special at PG. There are SG’s by the dozens that are as good as him. Even if it is to make the team better, he woudl be giving up potentially a LOT of money. And who are we kidding – THe NBA isn’t really a team sport.

    @ Stranger – He can barely dunk and prefers not to. Watch the video and see his breakaways. IMO, he is not a #3 pick. But then again, no one in this draft really is.

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