Sam Presti offers 5 key insights for OKC Thunder 2019-20 campaign

OKC Thunder General Manager Sam Presti speaks to media at preseason media (Photo by Zach Beeker/NBAE via Getty Images)
OKC Thunder General Manager Sam Presti speaks to media at preseason media (Photo by Zach Beeker/NBAE via Getty Images) /
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OKC Thunder
Former OKC Thunder star Kevin Durant #7 of the Brooklyn Nets poses for a portrait during media day (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images) /

Mr. Rebuttal:

Sam Presti is used to taking the high road and the organization has always kept internal business, well, internal. For this reason, it wasn’t surprising the OKC Thunder hadn’t responded to some of the issues other clubs and players were openly discussing this summer. The press conference offered his chance to address those comments publicly.

A reporter queried about the recent Kevin Durant salt regarding his treatment in OKC. It definitely wasn’t surprising the GM chose to take a completely different stance. But, in stating emphatically how much he cares for KD, Presti is essentially making the claim Durant is incorrect or let’s say fudging the truth.

In hindsight, the comments Durant made to J.R. Moehringer of the Wall Street Journal left no room for doubt:

"“I’ll never be attached to that city again because of that,” Durant says. “I eventually wanted to come back to that city and be part of that community and organization, but I don’t trust nobody there. That shit must have been fake, what they was doing. The organization, the GM, I ain’t talked to none of those people, even had a nice exchange with those people, since I left.”"

It wouldn’t be the first time the former OKC Thunder superstar had said one thing initially (I can see returning to play in OKC one day) and then contradicted it which may lend more credence to Presti. It’s hard to imagine the GM or the staff straight up ignoring him let alone being rude.

At this point, it comes down to whether you believe Presti or Durant and if they’ve communicated since the superstar left OKC. On Durant, Presti stated the following at 17:30 of the video:

"I would just say this: If there is anything that Kevin Durant ever, ever needed from me or from anyone here, it would be moment’s notice for that to happen… I have nothing but positive things to say about him and his tenure here."

Likewise, Presti vehemently denied the comments made by Doc Rivers in his interview with Arash Markazi of the Los Angeles Times about knowing the OKC Thunder were ready to blow up the team. Fast forward to 10:50 of the video.

"No. I mean, again, I don’t know the context in which that was — that comment was made, and obviously no one asked us our opinion about it. But no, I mean, I think at the end of the day, we all know that players like Paul George and Russell Westbrook are extremely hard to acquire in cities, in the smaller cities in the league, and when you have those players, you try to do everything you can to retain them."

At 11:30 of the video, Presti further put the onus on Paul George and his trade request being the harbinger for the change of direction of the Thunder. He’s committed to stating this occurred during the moratorium so if PG and Kawhi did speak prior or the Clippers want to suggest these discussions were already on the table Presti sure isn’t biting on that narrative.

"“But, once Paul asked for the trade, I felt like we made the most of the situation to work for everybody, which allowed us to do it. But that’s not something we were thinking entering the year.”"

Presti continues to cite going out to add free agents (specifically Alec Burks, Mike Muscala and re-signing Nerlens Noel) as evidence of the Thunder being committed to remaining competitive with their two superstars. And there is no denying those actions and timelines.

Whether Presti is salty about how things went down or not he continues to take the high road. We’ll see if Thunder Nation is quite as forgiving on December 22nd, when George makes his first visit back to Chesapeake.