NBA Draft: Thunder score the No. 18 pick and Daequan Cook for the No. 32


So far, the pre-draft trades have turned out pretty well for all parties involved. Y’know, unless the Zach Randolph-Al Jefferson swap goes down and forces all of the remaining Wolves fans to live underground while the franchise is burned to the ground.

Oklahoma City and Miami will make a minor swap that goes down as another win-win. The Heat will clear even more cap space for their off-season overhaul while the Thunder will add another mid-first round pick and a guy who can (theoretically) hit from outside. The Heat will send Daequan Cook and the No. 18 pick to OKC for the No. 32 in a move that has little to do with either Cook or the No. 32 and everything to do with the No. 18 and the salary shed.

After losing Cook’s $2.2 million in 2010-2011, the Heat have brought their salary owed to a functional minimum. Mario Chalmers, Michael Beasley, Joel Anthony, and James Jones will receive a little more than $8.5 million total (not including cap holds), allowing Pat Riley and Erik Spoelstra to basically create an entire team from scratch.

On the other side, Oklahoma City clearly seems to be targeting a specific player with the No. 18 pick. Rumors point to VCU’s Larry Sanders as the apple of Sam Presti’s eye, but it could realistically be a number of big men projected to go in the middle of the first round. Cook is pretty much a non-factor in the deal, as the player chosen at 18 is the real prize. Yet if Daequan could rediscover his 2008-2009 shooting stroke (when he went 38.9% from three, as opposed to 31.7% in 2009-2010), he wouldn’t be a complete spare.

Regardless, Presti has another feather for his hat. After this trade, the Thunder will have three first rounders (No. 18, No. 21, No. 26) to play with in this summer’s draft, a unique opportunity to infuse the most successful young core in the NBA with even more young talent. Well-played, Sam.

PBT Extra bold prediction previews: No, Lakers are not playoff bound

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When you ask Lakers fans for bold predictions, you get the delusional to come out of the woodwork.

Most Lakers fans I know — remember, I’m a former Laker blogger living in So Cal, even my optometrist wants to talk Lakers during my eye exam — are realistic about where the team is in the rebuild process. Like me, they want to see a healthy season of Kobe Bryant where he can choose whether or not to continue his career on his terms, not Father Time’s.

But Lakers exceptionalism is a thing, and there are Lakers fans living in a fantasy land.

That’s what Jenna Corrado and I get to in the latest PBT Extra: There are Lakers fans that think they are playoff bound. And there are people who expect even more than that from this team this year — like Kobe Bryant to return to MVP form. Those people need to stop taking so much glaucoma medication.

Thabo Sefolosha’s lawyer: White police officer targeted black Hawks forward

Thabo Sefolosha
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NEW YORK (AP) — A lawyer representing a professional basketball player arrested outside a New York City nightclub has told a jury his client was targeted because he’s black.

Attorney Alex Spiro said Tuesday in Manhattan Criminal Court that a white police officer saw a black man in a hoodie when he confronted the Atlanta Hawks’ Thabo Sefolosha on April 8.

Sefolosha was arrested while leaving a Manhattan nightclub following a stabbing. He subsequently suffered a season-ending leg fracture after a confrontation with police.

A prosecutor said in opening statements that Sefolosha called an officer who repeatedly told him and others to leave a “midget.”

Sefolosha pleaded not guilty to misdemeanor obstructing government administration, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest charges. The Swiss citizen declined a plea deal from prosecutors.