One option is Presti could use the selection to acquire a veteran.
That strategy can speed up a rebuilding process. But those types of trades also can come back to haunt a GM.
If Presti were to offer the No. 3 pick, who might be available? It depends on which rumor you put stock into.
Most trades will be made in July, when free agency begins. But almost every year there are a handful of draft-day trades for veterans.
Last year, the Grizzlies traded former Rookie of the Year Mike Miller to Minnesota in an eightplayer deal in which the two teams swapped O.J. Mayo (No. 3) for Kevin Love (No. 5).
Would Presti consider such a move? If he did who might be available?
Big names that could be dealt this summer include: Toronto forward Chris Bosh; Phoenix forward Amare Stoudemire; Suns center Shaquille O'Neal; Clippers forward Zach Randolph; Clippers center Chris Kaman; Golden State point guard Baron Davis and Dallas forward Josh Howard.
Forget it. Presti is trying to save salary cap space, not use it. All those players have huge contracts. Scratch them off the list.
Who else might be available?
Clippers center Marcus Camby. Orlando point guard Rafer Alston. Memphis point guard Mike Conley. Philadelphia center Samuel Dalembert. Portland forward Travis Outlaw. Phoenix sharpshooters Jason Richardson and Leandro Barbosa. Portland backup guard Sergio Rodriguez. Indiana forward Troy Murphy.
Barbosa still has three years left on his deal for $21.3 million. Dalembert, Richardson and Murphy have huge contracts with two years left. Scratch them off the list.
Alston has only one year left at $5.25 million. He wouldn't hamper Presti's long-term plan and could serve a useful backup to Russell Westbrook if Earl Watson is dealt.
But why use a valuable draft pick on a backup, someone who would play only one year in OKC? One benefit is Alston would have value at the February trading deadline.
The plot is similar for Outlaw ($4 million), Camby ($7.6 million) and Conley ($3.9). All three have only one year left on their contracts, but none of those three seem worth giving up the No. 3 pick.
But you never know what might be available on June 25. Last year, New Jersey trading Richard Jefferson to Milwaukee on draft day was a shock.
The Thunder is in a good spot. Instead of giving away his draft pick, Presti can wait until July when free agency begins. He also could pursue a restricted free agent in a sign-and-trade deal, acquiring someone like Utah's Paul Millsap, Cleveland's Anderson Varejao or Milwaukee's Charlie Villanueva.
Presti repeatedly has said he will stick to his plan. He wants to build around young stars and avoid hefty contracts. That's why it's unlikely the Thunder will use the No. 3 pick to acquire a veteran. If OKC adds a veteran, it probably will be signing a free agent in July.
But in rocky economic times you never know what teams might be willing to offer. Maybe a team feels it's close to competing for an NBA title and covets a player they could select at No. 3.
Thunder fans dream Presti can pull off a miracle and find a way to trade up to No. 1 to select Blake Griffin without trading core players like Kevin Durant, Jeff Green or Russell Westbrook. That's far-fetched, but fans like to dream.
Presti could use the pick to select Ricky Rubio or Hasheem Thabeet, but early rumors are the Thunder might prefer Arizona State shooting guard James Harden or Arizona power forward Jordan Hill more than Rubio or Thabeet.
Another option is Presti could consider trading down.
Since this year's draft lacks sizzle, analysts forecast several draft day trades. Some teams will try to move up. Some will try to move down. Others will try to move bad contracts for pennies on the dollar.
While it would be shocking to see Presti trade his draft pick for a veteran, it is an option.
Smith will be a starter
? Denver guard J.R. Smith finished second in this year's NBA Sixth Man Award balloting. He won't be a candidate next season. Coach George Karl has indicated he plans to insert Smith into the starting lineup. ? The Knicks aren't the only team interested in Davidson guard Stephen Curry. There are reports Charlotte coach Larry Brown might consider trading up to try to select Curry. Minnesota and Golden State also might be interested. ? LeBron James said he's asked advice from Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski during the playoffs after developing a bond during last year's run to the Olympic gold medal. ? Charlotte owner Bob Johnson reportedly is looking to sell most, if not all, of his 70 percent stake in the Bobcats. Sources were quoted in the Charlotte Observer that several out-of-town groups are interested, but all plan to keep the team in Charlotte. ? Pittsburgh power forward DeJuan Blair probably will be measured not much taller than 6-foot-6, but his imposing wing span (7-foot-2) could offset his lack of height. ? New Jersey Nets president Rod Thorn predicts in tough economic times one option to trim the budget is several teams might consider trimming coaching staffs down to three assistant coaches. ? An investment group from China is close to completing an agreement to acquire a minority share, 10 to 15 percent, of the Cleveland Cavaliers. ? When told his height might cost him in the upcoming NBA Draft, Syracuse guard Jonny Flynn responded Aaron Brooks (5-8), Chris Paul (6-0) and Tony Parker (6-0) have proven smaller point guards can have success.
DEAL OR NO DEAL?
Six noteworthy trades where teams gave up a high draft pick for a veteran.
? Boston two years ago traded Jeff Green, the No. 5 pick, to Seattle for veteran Ray Allen, a key move in helping the Celtics end a long NBA title drought. ? In 1991, the Kings traded No. 3 pick Billy Owens to Golden State for Mitch Richmond, who ended up being a six-time All-Star guard. Owens was a disappointment. ? The Clippers traded No. 2 pick Tyson Chandler for Elton Brand. Chandler has developed into a solid center but Brand helped the Clippers win their only playoff series since they joined the NBA .
? Portland traded Deron Williams, the No. 3 pick in 2005, for Martell Webster and Linas Kleiza. Good move for the Jazz. Not so good for the Trail Blazers. ? The Bulls traded LaMarcus Aldridge, the No. 2 selection, to Portland for Viktor Khyrapa and Tyrus Thomas. This time the Trail Blazers got the better deal. ? Atlanta traded Pau Gasol, the No. 3 pick in 2001, and other players to the Grizzlies for Shareef Abdur-Rahim. Gasol led Memphis to three postseason appearances. Abdur-Rahim and the Hawks didn't reach the playoffs.
THE LAST WORD
Stan Van Gundy
Orlando coach Stan Van Gundy has been the most entertaining coach in the NBA playoffs whether it's his shrug following LeBron James' last-second, game-winner in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals or comments during timeouts and post-game press conferences.
Van Gundy's best quote was when he took a shot at college football's system for determining the national champion.
Having watched puppet commercials featuring LeBron James and Kobe Bryant, and hearing widespread sentiment from fans and media members that they would like to see the Cavs and Lakers in the NBA Finals, Van Gundy responded:
"This isn't the BCS," Van Gundy said. "People don't get to vote for who they want to see. We're not in that ridiculous system. This is a real sport."
CHANCE TO UPGRADE TICKETS
Team to hold ticket event
Thunder officials will conduct a private, week-long, season ticket event June 8-12 at the Coca Cola Events Center.
Top priority season-ticket holders will be given appointments to change seat locations.
As the week progresses, all 2008-09 season-ticket holders who renewed will be given an opportunity to upgrade.
Late in the week, fans who purchased mini packages last season and have committed to full season tickets, will be next in line to choose seats.
On the final day, the 2,000 people on a waiting list who have purchased Loud City season tickets for the 2009-10 season will be allowed to upgrade.
"It will be a multi-stage event," said Brian Byrnes, vice president of ticket sales and services. "We'll have samples of new seats, show them new club areas and a sample of the new scoreboard, all the new amenities following renovations."
All remaining season tickets will be offered to the general public June 14 or June 21 during a summer season-ticket campaign.
BY MIKE BALDWIN
→Renewal rate of 80 to 85 percent ranks in top half of NBA
→Season ticket holders can change seat locations June 8-12
→Mini packs, single game and group sales still offered
→Thunder officials already have sold 500 new season tickets
→Out-of-market fans (Tulsa, Lawton) prefer mini packs
→People on the waiting list can upgrade seats on June 12
→Ford Center capacity will decrease by 600 seats (18,600)