Cade Cunningham Open to Meeting with Any Team with No. 1 Pick Before NBA Draft

Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IVJuly 23, 2021

Oklahoma State guard Cade Cunningham (2)points during an NCAA college basketball game Monday, March. 1, 2021, in Stillwater, Okla. (AP Photo/Brody Schmidt)
AP Photo/Brody Schmidt

Cade Cunningham, the potential top pick in the 2021 NBA draft, said Friday that he is willing to meet with whichever team owns the No. 1 overall selection.

According to Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle, Cunningham said: "I wanted to meet with the team that had the No. 1 pick because I feel like I'm the No. 1 pick. If the [Houston] Rockets get the No. 1 pick, I'll meet with them if there's time."

The Oklahoma State guard has met only with the Detroit Pistons, who currently own the No. 1 overall selection. He has not met with any other teams, and his comments suggest he doesn't intend to unless a trade is made at the top of the draft.

Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium reported last week that the Rockets had been "aggressive" in their attempts to trade up from No. 2 overall to No. 1 overall.

That could be a sign that Houston wants Cunningham, who has widely been considered the likely No. 1 overall pick in the 2021 draft since the start of the 2020-21 men's college basketball season.

Kelly Iko of The Athletic reported that if the Rockets are unable to move up to No. 1 and the Pistons take Cunningham as expected, G League Ignite guard Jalen Green is the likely pick for Houston.

Cunningham's status as the likely top pick is understandable given what he accomplished in his one season at Oklahoma State.

In 27 games, the 6'8" guard averaged 20.1 points, 6.2 rebounds, 3.5 assists, 2.3 made three-pointers and 1.6 steals. He also shot 43.8 percent from the field, 40.0 percent from deep and 84.6 percent from the free-throw line.

Cunningham was the Big 12 Freshman of the Year and Big 12 Player of the Year, and he helped lead the Cowboys to an NCAA tournament berth, where they reached the second round.

The 2021 draft will air on ABC and ESPN on Thursday at 8 p.m. ET.