This is what the final few hours before the NBA Draft are all about.
Suspense. Story lines. Shock.
Put this one down under all three.
According to ESPN.com’s Andy Katz, the Thunder has entertained the idea of moving up to draft Florida guard Bradley Beal.
You read that right.
Oklahoma City, with the 28th overall pick, is said to have had interest in shooting up the draft board to select a player who is widely regarded as a top three pick in Thursday night’s draft.
But here’s the good part. Katz doesn’t appear to be blowing smoke with sources saying this or sources saying that.
His source is…Bradley Beal.
From Katz’s report:
Beal told ESPN/ESPN.com Wednesday that Oklahoma City general manager Sam Presti told him during an interview in Chicago that he was interested in trying to move up to draft him. The Thunder’s first-round pick currently isn’t until No. 28.
“He told me he was going to decide what they’re going to do and considered getting up there,” said Beal.
Beal continued, talking more about how he’d like to play with the Thunder.
I’ve heard it a lot,” Beal said of the Thunder scenario. “It’s really interesting. I would love to play with Kevin Durant. (Russell) Westbrook, great point guard. Just the whole team. It’s young, I would love to play with a young team. They play fast. I’d love to get up and down, shoot the ball. Overall, whatever situation I Iand in I’ll be happy.”
Then there’s this.
Still, Presti has seriously considered finding a way to get to Beal. A number of sources said that Presti spent three days in Gainesville during the lockout watching the Gators practice, a fact that Beal confirmed Wednesday.
A source also said that Florida coach Billy Donovan met with Presti in Dallas when he took his two nephews to the Oklahoma City-Dallas first-round playoff series in May. Presti and Donovan have had multiple conversations on the phone about Beal, as well.
A source with direct knowledge of the situation said, “Oklahoma City exhausted every opportunity on campus to find out everything they could find out about Beal. They’ve done everything they can.”
Surely, in order for the Thunder to move into the top three the front office would have to part with some mix of James Harden, Serge Ibaka and draft picks. It’s been well-documented how difficult it will be for the Thunder to retain Russell Westbrook, Harden, Durant, Ibaka and Eric Maynor under the new collective bargaining agreement rules. Perhaps Presti’s thinking could this is a way to add a young talent and avoid those financial matters for another few seasons. The risk, of course, is taking a step back with Beal.
Is it worth it?