Report: Thunder among teams exploring trade up to No. 1 spot in draft

Oklahoma State Cade Cunningham has emerged as the likely No. 1 pick in the NBA draft, but the Detroit Pistons have continued to do due diligence on different players projected to be future stars.

That has left a small opening for teams to consider trade packages to offer the Pistons for a chance to move up and select the first player in the draft, presumably Cunningham.

The Oklahoma City Thunder are one of four teams that ESPN’s Jonathan Givony said has expressed interest in trading for the pick. The others are the Cleveland Cavaliers, Houston Rockets and New Orleans Pelicans.

“Teams including Cleveland, Houston, New Orleans and Oklahoma City are among those making overtures to evaluate what it would take to move up to the No. 1 slot, sources say, but those talks are at an early stage, and any trade is unlikely to be consummated until much closer to the draft, if at all.”

Givony specified that the talks are all in early stages.

The Rockets likely have the best individual asset, the No. 2 pick, which would allow the Pistons to draft a player they like as much as Cunningham. Think of the Boston Celtics trading from No. 1 to No. 3 and nabbing Jayson Tatum; Detroit may be hoping to do the same, and a trade with Houston or Cleveland (No. 3 pick) would allow them to do so.

Oklahoma City can package as many draft picks as the front office feels comfortable offering. The Thunder hold picks No. 6, 16, 18, 34, 36 and 55 this year and a conglomerate of picks from different teams over the next five years. Their package could be more expansive than any of the other suitors.

The Pelicans have the 10th pick, but they also have more talent than any of the other teams named by Givony. Would they offer someone like Brandon Ingram, for instance?

From these reports, the Pistons are at least listening to offers, though that doesn’t mean they’re likely to make a trade. Givony wrote:

“From all accounts, Detroit is comfortable standing pat at No. 1 and taking Cunningham but will be active in exploring the possibility of trading down and obtaining additional assets, with Mobley a potential target if something gets done.”

If USC center Evan Mobley is the target, the Thunder’s No. 6 pick wouldn’t do it. The Pistons would need either the second or third pick, and likely No. 2 to be safe.

But with all the assets Oklahoma City has gathered and general manager Sam Presti’s propensity for big trades, nothing can be ruled out.