HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — We’ll keep this warning for the Oklahoma City Thunder brief, since everyone has plenty of other stuff on their plate on Draft day.
Be careful. And be patient.
Don’t be hasty in whatever decisions you make tonight and in the immediate future.
We’re sending this warning to Thunder fans really, because the sting of defeat in The Finals lingers. It’s an impossible taste to get out of your mouth. We know because we’ve seen it before. We’ve watched teams overreact and make rash decisions and pay for them later, as Thunder general manager Sam Presti and his staff are surely aware of.
We’ve seen all of these reports about the Thunder’s infatuation with Florida shooting guard Bradley Beal, some generated anonymously but most of them fueled by Beal’s own words:
This year, on the eve of what was shaping up to be the least suspenseful first round in the franchise’s Oklahoma City era, a report surfaced that said the Thunder has sought to trade into the top three.
The supposed target: Florida guard Bradley Beal.
It’s the second report in the past two weeks that has connected the Thunder with trying to move into the top three. Typically, where there is smoke around this time of the year there is, well, more smoke. But the Thunder can’t seem to shake this cloud of speculation.
And this time, the player provided a firsthand account of Presti’s plans.
“He told me he was going to decide what they’re going to do and considered getting up there,” Beal told ESPN.com on Wednesday, relaying a conversation he had with Presti during an interview at the draft combine in Chicago.
In response to these reports (which are cute but have no legs, according to the folks we’ve spoken to regarding the Thunder), we’ll take this time to remind everyone of the Orlando Magic’s actions in the wake of their unsuccessful trip to The Finals in 2009.
Hedo Turkoglu, a key component in helping Dwight Howard get the Magic to The Finals that year, was not re-signed. Rookie shooting guard Courtney Lee was an integral part of their run to The Finals and they traded him away as part of a deal to land Vince Carter from the Nets.
The Magic tinkered with championship chemistry, assuming they could do so and stay in the title mix and haven’t gone anywhere near there since. They did irreparable damage to their chemistry in the weeks and months after that trip to The Finals, damage that they are still paying for now.
The Thunder have more pressing issues — James Harden, Serge Ibaka and Eric Maynor are priorities — than trying to trade up 26 spots in the Draft to get any player not named Anthony Davis.
Again, the Thunder need not do anything crazy tonight or in the coming days and weeks.
Patience is a virtue this time of year, especially for teams with championships on their minds.