On the eve of tonight's NBA Draft, Oklahoma City Thunder general manager Sam Presti pulled another fast one.
Presti acquired the 18th overall pick and sharpshooter Daequan Cook from the Miami Heat for peanuts — the 32nd overall selection.
It's a trade that gives the Thunder three first-round picks and adds to Presti's growing reputation for essentially swindling assets from opposing GMs. More importantly, the deal sets the stage for Oklahoma City to be at the center of what is shaping up to be a wild night of dealing during tonight's draft.
The Thunder now holds picks 18, 21 and 26 in the first round, as well as the 51st overall selection of the second round. But less than two hours after acquiring the 18th pick, the Thunder reportedly had entertained discussions of dealing it, reserve guard Eric Maynor and the 21st pick to Indiana in exchange for the Pacers 10th overall pick.
It's one of several conversations that likely have taken place leading up to today's 6 p.m. draft. But it's those types of discussions that figure to lead to a flurry of activity tonight.
Even after moving up to 18, the Thunder isn't likely to land a premier young big man to fill a pressing need on the roster while growing with the current core. Post player options at 18 figure to include Virginia Commonwealth's Larry Sanders, Florida State's Solomon Alabi, Kentucky and former Bishop McGuinness standout Daniel Orton and Marshall's Hassan Whiteside. All except Sanders are either projects, have character concerns or health questions.
By packaging at least two of its three first-rounders and moving up, the Thunder could then potentially choose between a more talented crop of Georgetown's Greg Monroe, North Carolina's Ed Davis, Baylor and former Edmond Sante Fe standout Ekpe Udoh, Kansas' Cole Aldrich or, depending on how high OKC can get, Kentucky's DeMarcus Cousins.
In the weeks leading up to tonight's draft, several teams have already reportedly shopped their picks: Minnesota at No.