Sam Presti’s peers envious of his draft cupboard and flexibility gained through trades

OKC Thunder GM Sam Presti speaks with media (Photo by Zach Beeker/NBAE viaGetty Images)
OKC Thunder GM Sam Presti speaks with media (Photo by Zach Beeker/NBAE viaGetty Images) /
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NBA Draft
General view of the stage of 2019 NBA Draft (Photo by Michael J. LeBrecht II/NBAE via Getty Images) /

An OKC Thunder executive confirmed Paul George’s trade request forced the team to shift their objectives quickly while rival execs are covetous of the haul Sam Presti collected and the flexibility it affords the team.

Just as we surmised recently on Thunderous Intentions, the OKC Thunder had no intention of trading their superstars entering the offseason. Rather, their hand was forced when Paul George requested to be traded. That confirmation came via Real GM writer Keith Smith who spoke to a Thunder executive:

"“When we sat down and mapped out our summer plans, none of them included trading Paul (George) and certainly none of them included trading Russell (Westbrook). But that’s how this league works. Sometimes your hand is forced. When that happens, you do the best you can and I think we did even better than that. We’ve got more to work with moving forward than any team in the history of the league. Now we have to make something of all of that.”"

As for George implying this was something previously agreed to between all the parties it might be explained via one of two reasons. Either George meant when they discussed the ‘one year’ he meant this coming season as ‘the year’ in question and it got lost in translation. The other option, (more likely) is George wanted to downplay his trade request so it didn’t have a negative kickback on him directly.

light. Related Story. Paul George left Thunder with no choice but to rebuild

Why would PG13 do that? Well, he knows how things went with the Pacers when he made it clear he would not re-sign and Thunder fans recall the welcome (loud boos) George was showered with, in his return to the Fieldhouse.

Therefore, avoiding a repeat of that scenario would be ideal. Also, as Sam Presti stated the situation was handled adversarially.

That doesn’t mean the OKC Thunder weren’t surprised or happy about the request or more importantly the timing.

On the other hand, given the haul Presti got and knowing the team either had to win or be in this situation next summer anyway it’s understandable why all parties are somewhat sweeping this situation under the rug.