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Thunder Acquire 17th Pick Olympiacos’ Pokusevski from Timberwolves

November 19, 2020

OKLAHOMA CITY — The Oklahoma City Thunder bolstered their frontcourt during the NBA draft on Wednesday night, acquiring Serbian forward Aleksej Pokusevski in a trade with Minnesota.

The Timberwolves selected Pokusevski with the 17th pick, but a person with knowledge of the negotiations said they had agreed to send the choice to Oklahoma City in exchange for the 25th and 28th overall selections and point guard Ricky Rubio.

The person confirmed the deal to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the trade had not been announced. Deals involving players can't be finalized until free agency officially begins on Sunday.

Pokusevski, 18, is listed at 6-foot-11 and 215 pounds. He represented Serbia at the 2018 FIBA U-17 World Championship and the 2019 FIBA U-18 European Championship. He played for Olympiacos' second-division team in Greece last season and averaged 10.8 points and 7.9 rebounds per game.

It has been a busy month for the Thunder.

Last week, they promoted their former D-League coach, Mark Daigneault, to head coach. On Sunday, the Thunder agreed to send guard Dennis Schroder to the Los Angeles Lakers for Danny Green and the pick that became the 28th selection. 

On Monday, the Thunder sent All-Star guard Chris Paul  and Abdel Nader to Phoenix for Kelly Oubre Jr., Rubio, Ty Jerome, Jalen Lecque and a protected 2022 first-round pick. 

Hours before the draft, it was reported that the Thunder will send Green and Terrance Ferguson to Philadelphia  for Al Horford, a future first-round pick and the 34th pick in Wednesday's draft. The Thunder also got the rights to European point guard Vasilije Micic.

That 34th pick turned into 19-year-old Theo Maledon. The 6-foot-4 guard played the last three seasons in France's top league with ASVEL-Villeurbanne. In 2018-19, he won a league title with ASVEL, was selected to the All-Star Game and earned the Rising Star Award as the league's top young player. 

The Thunder made another move in the second round: They picked up Czech guard Vit Krejci from the Wizards after Washington took him with the 37th pick, and Oklahoma City will send point guard Cassius Winston to the Wizards with the 53rd choice in return, according to a person familiar with that deal who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the swap had not been announced. 

Oklahoma City's rebuild was expected to start a year earlier, but the Thunder surprised the league by reaching the playoffs and pushing Houston to seven games in the first round. But after the season ended, coach Billy Donovan left and landed with the Chicago Bulls, and the dominoes began falling from there.

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