The Seattle SuperSonics could walk away from tonight's NBA Draft with Michael Beasley.
That best-case scenario seemed ludicrous a month ago, when the NBA Draft Lottery's ping-pong balls dealt the Sonics the disappointing No. 4 pick in a year Beasley was considered a consensus top-two selection.
But the pieces seemingly have fallen into place for the Sonics, and what was once a romanticized idea could turn into reality tonight.
But the Sonics need some help in order to land the former Kansas State star who led the nation in rebounding and finished third in scoring.
Enter Minnesota, owner of the third pick and the franchise that likely will shape the landscape of the first round following the first two selections.
"They'll certainly have a big impact on how things start to fall,” said Sonics general manager Sam Presti of the Timberwolves. "Lucky for us they can only pick one player, so that gives us the opportunity to be a little more prepared than say if you're picking multiple spots behind them. But they have the first crack at it and we'll be ready regardless.”
The Chicago Bulls are expected to select Memphis point guard Derrick Rose with the No. 1 pick. The Miami Heat, however, don't appear to be overly excited about taking Beasley at No. 2 and are reportedly more interested in USC guard O.J. Mayo and, to a lesser extent, Arizona guard Jerryd Bayless.
The Heat could do two things: settle for Mayo at No. 2, or pluck the more valuable Beasley and explore trades. How the Wolves then follow could determine whether the Sonics land Beasley.
If the Heat takes Beasley and the Wolves select Mayo, the Sonics' chances of snatching Beasley take a big hit.
If the Heat takes Mayo and the Wolves select Beasley, the Sonics' chances of landing Beasley all but fade away.
If the Heat takes Beasley and the Wolves trade down from No. 3 to get UCLA power forward Kevin Love or Stanford center Brook Lopez, two much-needed big men in Minnesota, the Sonics also aren't likely to have a shot at Beasley.
But if the Heat takes Beasley and the Wolves settle for Lopez or Love at No. 3, the Sonics' chances of acquiring Beasley skyrocket. The Sonics then could select Mayo and bring him to the trading table.
Got all that?
To further complicate things, Seattle must also hope Heat president Pat Riley considers the Sonics' offer the best available. The Sonics reportedly would send the No. 4 pick to Miami along with forward Chris Wilcox and center Johan Petro in exchange for the No. 2 pick and the cumbersome contract of center Mark Blount.
Memphis and the Los Angeles Clippers, however, reportedly have been the two teams most interested in trading for Beasley. The Grizzlies can offer the Heat a package of young point guard Kyle Lowry and one of the league's best 3-point shooters, Mike Miller, two of Miami's greatest needs.