Los Angeles Clippers coach and general manager Mike Dunleavy is "99.9 percent” certain he’s keeping the No. 1 overall pick in the NBA Draft and will use it to select Oklahoma forward Blake Griffin.
It was his stance the night of the May 19 Draft Lottery and again last Saturday when he witnessed a Griffin workout, after which the coach talked about how he envisions using the player.
Are you listening, Oklahoma? All signs indicate the Thunder has no shot to come away with the homegrown talent.
Or does it?
Are the Clippers genuinely sold on Griffin, or is the rhetoric simply a ruse to raise the price for the consensus No. 1 pick? Either way, it begs the question just how much is too much to get Griffin the Great?
"He’s worth considering some stuff. I wouldn’t throw away what they’ve got going,” said one Western Conference scout who spoke about the Thunder on the condition of anonymity.
"He’d be a great addition. But I wouldn’t consider (including Russell) Westbrook. Jeff Green, I wouldn’t want to do it but you’d have to think about it. I would say (Kevin) Durant’s untouchable. But definitely not Westbrook. (Griffin is) not worth that to me. I like Westbrook a lot. The No. 3 and Green, then I’d have to think about it. I’m not saying I’d do it. But I’d have to think about it.”
The Thunder is armed with the No. 3 and No. 25 overall picks in this year’s first-round, two more potential lottery picks next year, a talented young stable of talent on the roster and overseas and ample salary cap space to relieve L.A. of some financial strain.
Golden State was involved in two of the most recognized trades involving top three picks in the 24-year history of the lottery. The Warriors got the short end in both instances.
With the third pick in the 1991 draft, Sacramento passed up players like Dikembe Mutombo and Steve Smith for a 6-foot-8 forward out of Syracuse named Billy Owens. When Owens’ holdout extended into the season, the Warriors broke up the beloved trio Run TMC by sending a 26-year-old Mitch Richmond to the Kings in exchange for Owens.