At the end of the draft, Oklahoma City still owned Phoenix’s unprotected first-round pick next season.
With news that Shaquille O’Neal has been dealt to play with Clevleand and LeBron James, and the Suns might also trade Amare Stoudemire, that pick is looking more and more valuable. If Phoenix winds up rebuilding the Suns should end up giving OKC a lottery pick.
The irony to the unprotected Phoenix pick is there were rumors early in the week that Sam Presti might give Phoenix back its 2010 pick to select Ohio State center B.J. Mullens. Presti still has the pick and Mullens.
Asked late Thursday night if Phoenix’s unprotected pick was ever on the table in trade talks, Presti gave the obligatory “everything is on the table” answer. In other words, teams asked about the pick but in the end Presti felt it wasn’t worth using in this draft.
Still, the fact the rumor was out there was an indication Presti was high on Mullens’ long-term potential. His quotes at the press conference, that he was surprised Mullens was still there at No. 24, is further proof Mullens was on their radar like the rumor suggested.
Mullens probably plays most of next season in the D League. But several times during Thursday’s press conference Presti commented how rare it is to find athletic 7-foot centers. Thunder fans will have to be patient. Mullens might not contribute much for at least one season, maybe two.
If Mullens blossoms just about the time Kevin Durant, Jeff Green, Russell Westbrook and James Harden are starting to hit their stride in two or three seasons that’s when the Thunder will be a viable playoff threat capable of earning a decent seed.
Turns out there was some truth to the rumor but in the end, Presti kept the pick and still got his man.