NBA Rumors: Thunder Eyeing Jaden Ivey, Shaedon Sharpe in Trade Up from No. 12

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVJune 21, 2022

Purdue guard Jaden Ivey (23) during an NCAA college basketball game against Rutgers in West Lafayette, Ind., Sunday, Feb. 20, 2022. (AP Photo/Doug McSchooler)
AP Photo/Doug McSchooler

The Oklahoma City Thunder already have the No. 2 overall pick in the 2022 NBA draft, but that may not be the entirety of their activity in the top 10.

ESPN's Jonathan Givony reported the Thunder are "aggressively pursuing trade conversations" surrounding the 12th overall pick. Were they to move up, Purdue's Jaden Ivey and Kentucky signee Shaedon Sharpe would be among their preferred targets.

Givony and Bleacher Report's Jonathan Wasserman both project OKC to take Gonzaga's Chet Holmgren at No. 2. Imagine a frontcourt that includes a pair of 7-footers in Holmgren and Aleksej Pokusevski.

Holmgren and Pokusevski could build a twin towers dynamic together, or the former could serve as insurance if the latter doesn't make a breakthrough in the NBA.

If they were to stay at No. 12, the Thunder could likely land, at worst, a solid rotation player who could help them for years to come. Taking a more aggressive approach would allow for general manager Sam Presti to really cement the organization's future. And there's no question Oklahoma City has the draft capital to make that happen without leveraging too much long term.

The Thunder's interest in Ivey and Sharpe would signal a slight alteration to their starting rotation.

Josh Giddey averaged 12.5 points, 7.8 rebounds and 6.4 assists while largely operating as a guard during the 2021-22 campaign. The arrival of another 2-guard would presumably force him to the 3, which would then have a corresponding effect on Luguentz Dort.

Bleacher Report's Jake Fischer reported on June 16 that Dort was included in a potential trade package with the No. 12 pick in return for the seventh overall selection, which belongs to the Portland Trail Blazers.

Adding another young guard would also give Presti more flexibility with Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, who's set to begin his five-year max extension in 2022-23. Because of that contract and his on-court value, dealing Gilgeous-Alexander would yield a massive haul.

The Thunder, meanwhile, could move forward with a backcourt combo of Giddey and Ivey or Sharpe.