Northwest Notes: Okafor, Towns, Thunder, Gee

Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN Twin Cities believes Jahlil Okafor is the guy at No. 1 for the Timberwolves (Twitter link), who won last night’s lottery, though he cautions that nothing is set in stone. That jibes with the feeling Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune had as of a week ago, when he said he thought the Wolves would go with the Duke center. However Chad Ford of and Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress top their mock drafts with the Wolves picking Kentucky big man Karl-Anthony Towns instead. Wolves coach/executive Flip Saunders played coy Tuesday night, not even deigning to narrow the field to those two, Zgoda notes.

“It’s not that simple,” Saunders said. “We have an idea but there are a lot of different directions we can go. … We have to rely on our ability to select the right players. This will give us great flexibility. Every spot you move up in the draft, you have more control over what’s going to happen and you have more people talking to you.”

Saunders did make it clear that the team almost certainly won’t trade the pick, as Zgoda relays. Here’s more from the Northwest:

  • Persistent rumors indicate that Jahlil Okafor has his heart set on becoming a Laker, according to Givony, who wonders if agent Bill Duffy, who also represents Andrew Wiggins and who is college buddies with Saunders, will let Okafor work out for the Wolves.
  • Thunder GM Sam Presti is pleased with the depth of the draft and said that while he’ll have exploratory talks about trading the team’s pick, at No. 14 overall, with all sorts of teams, he’d probably wait until draft night to make a move if he indeed makes one. Presti made those comments and many others to Royce Young of Daily Thunder, who provides a full transcript of their conversation.
  • Alonzo Gee has been on the roster of a half dozen NBA teams in the past 12 months, but Joe Freeman of The Oregonian will be surprised if he sticks in Portland with a tumultuous summer ahead for the Blazers, as Freeman writes in a roundtable piece examining Gee’s future. Gee becomes an unrestricted free agent in July.
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