Oklahoma City Thunder holds good cards

Oklahoman Modified: February 8, 2009 at 12:08 am •  Published: February 8, 2009
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NBA general managers play their own version of the stock market.

Owning five first-round picks in the next two drafts, Thunder general manager Sam Presti owns several tradable commodities. The most valuable, by far, are Oklahoma City’s pick this season and Phoenix’s first-round pick in 2010.

Pardon the pun, but if the "Setting Suns” continue their downward spiral, that pick could be highly coveted by other GMs.

First-round picks acquired in trades are not the same.

Oklahoma City owns Denver’s and San Antonio’s first-round picks in this year’s draft, provided both teams make the playoffs. Those are labeled "protected” picks.

If the Spurs or Nuggets nose dive and miss the playoffs — highly unlikely — the Thunder doesn’t get the pick until 2010.

Phoenix’s pick in 2010 is different. It’s "unprotected.” The Thunder gets the Suns’ first-round pick next season regardless of where the Suns finish.

Shaquille O’Neal, Steve Nash and Amare Stoudemire are all signed through 2010. Grant Hill’s contract expires this season.

But if the Suns continue to struggle, it’s conceivable they might trade a star or two at some point the next 12 months to get younger.

That’s where league GMs play the stock market. Phoenix’s pick could be a lottery pick in a draft in which point guard Grant Wall, a high school senior in Raleigh, N.

by Michael Baldwin
Reporter
Mike Baldwin has been a sports reporter for The Oklahoman since 1982. Mike graduated from Okmulgee High School in 1974 and attended Oklahoma Christian University, graduating with a journalism degree in 1978. Mike's first job was sports editor...
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Thunder first-round draft picks
2009

Oklahoma City

#Denver

#San Antonio

2010

Oklahoma City

*Phoenix

#Protected (usable only if team makes playoffs)

*Unprotected. (Owns pick regardless of W-L record)

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