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#pounditTuesday, March 2, 2021

Here’s how many draft picks Thunder have after Chris Paul trade

Sam Presti

The Oklahoma City Thunder have seen numerous star players leave via free agency and trade in recent years, but it would be an understatement to say they have plenty to show for it.

The Thunder entered an obvious rebuilding phase last year when they traded Russell Westbrook to the Houston Rockets and Paul George to the Los Angeles Clippers. They acquired Chris Paul in the Westbrook deal, which allowed them to remain competitive while also having their younger players learn from a future Hall of Famer. Now that OKC traded Paul to the Phoenix Suns on Monday, what is left?

Draft picks — so many draft picks. If there were a course on stockpiling first-round NBA Draft picks, Thunder general manager Sam Presti would be the instructor. Once the CP3 deal is complete, Oklahoma City will own the rights to 16 first-round draft picks over the next six years. That’s right, 16. Here’s a breakdown:

Trading star players is never easy to sell to fans. But in an era where NBA superstars basically have the power to force trades whenever they please, Presti has done a masterful job of maximizing the return.

The Thunder should be able to build through the draft, but they also have the flexibility of being able to trade first-round picks for star players if the opportunity arises. Ownership has to be pleased with Presti, and rightfully so.

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