The Oklahoma City Thunder have a history of pre-draft arrangements.
In 2011, the Thunder allegedly gave guard Reggie Jackson a promise that they'd select him No. 24 overall. Jackson, who had worked out for the Thunder, canceled all other workouts, citing a minor knee tweak. The Thunder of course drafted him 24th overall.
Last year, the Thunder made a unique agreement with forward Josh Huestis. The Thunder drafted the Stanford forward 29th overall, thus granting him a guaranteed contract. Instead, Huestis, in a prearranged agreement, passed on signing the deal to join the Thunder's D-League affiliate for the season, making him the first domestic draft-and-stash.
So it shouldn't come as much of a surprise that the Thunder have possibly made another arrangement with a potential draftee.
In Chad Ford's chat on Wednesday, he noted that there's growing buzz among rival general managers that the Thunder have made a promise to Cameron Payne to select the Murray State point guard with the No. 14 pick.
"I don’t know how much of that is smoke," Ford says, "but he is a great fit at 14 and talent-wise he may be the best pure point guard in the draft."
Payne, a 6-foot-2 sophomore, averaged 20.3 points and 6.0 assists per game last season for the Racers. He's a scoring point who has a solid perimeter shooting stroke (37.7 percent from 3 last season) and is a quality passer out of the pick-and-roll.
The Thunder currently have only two point guards on the roster, Russell Westbrook and D.J. Augustin. Augustin has one year left on his contract, and Westbrook has two. Traditionally, the Thunder have liked to carry three point guards.
They also have the rights to Semaj Christon, who was taken 55th overall last draft and spent the year with the Thunder's D-League affiliate, putting together a productive season.
The Thunder have always valued two things in the draft: size and versatility. Payne has good size for a point guard, though he needs to add some bulk to his thin frame. With his shooting and scoring ability, he could likely slot in alongside Westbrook in two-point-guard lineups, something the Thunder find attractive.
Thunder general manager Sam Presti said on the night of the draft lottery that his team isn't going to limit itself to a single position. However, at the NBA Draft Combine in Chicago, the Thunder focused most of their player interviews on backcourt players.
Presti said he's open to the idea of trading down or out of the draft altogether. With 13 guaranteed contracts already and two restricted free agents (Enes Kanter and Kyle Singler) the Thunder prefer to keep, something will have to give if Presti does indeed want to add Payne on draft night.