Chet Holmgren comment proves that the OKC Thunder front office is different

Chet Holmgren #7 of the Oklahoma City Thunder (Photo by Candice Ward/Getty Images)
Chet Holmgren #7 of the Oklahoma City Thunder (Photo by Candice Ward/Getty Images) /

The OKC Thunder have prided themselves as an organization to do right by players. It is why former Thunder players praise Sam Presti, including those who knew their time in Bricktown was limited. Even in recent memory, you can look to Chris Paul and Al Horford, who Presti worked with closely to get them to their preferred destination. Each has spoken glowingly about the Thunder organization since then. 2nd overall pick in the 2022 NBA Draft, Chet Holmgren, validated these feelings of the Oklahoma City Thunder front office in a recent comment.

JJ Reddick hosts an interesting basketball podcast where he gives great insight from a former player’s perspective and can nab great guests with his Rolodex of contacts who played in the NBA. This week, Reddick had on long-time NBA veteran and champion Andre Iguodala.

In a recent comment on JJ Reddick’s podcast, Chet Holmgren validates feelings on the OKC Thunder front office.

In this week’s “Old Man and the Three” episode, JJ Reddick pulled off a crossover episode with the “Point Forward” podcast hosted by Andre Iguodala and Evan Turner. The former players shared great stories throughout the podcast from their time in the association.

Andre Iguodala remembered his time with the 76ers and said, “[Evan Turner] was set behind the moment the 76ers drafted [Turner]…It goes back to what we talked about earlier with ‘teams should come first, competing, and winning first.’ We talk about Philly a lot…I did not realize until I already left that the organization was not trying to win. So, what do you do in that scenario? You have to be selfish, right? Because now, it is survival. I got to eat. I am going into my contract year.”

JJ Reddick said, “Ten to 15 teams are doing that on any given year.” Iguodala replied, “And they are mad at the players for going out there, trying to get their numbers.”

Evan Turner gave great insight, saying, “And [the teams] publicly say, ‘Oh, we are going to tank.’ you go up to Sam Hinkie, and it’s like, yo, I’ve been working my whole career to battle to get here. I give a [expletive] about winning. I called Thad Matta and said, ‘Should I leave to go overseas?’ I did not know what to do.”

Turner continued by saying, “I can’t go, and we’re not trying to win; I was at home crying. We sit there, and [Sam Hinkie] shows up, and I am like yo ‘Sam, can I talk to you about my future?'” to which Hinkie replied, “I got five minutes for you.” Turner exclaimed, “to talk about my [expletive] future?” I think this is what struck a chord with OKC Thunder big man Chet Holmgren.

On the viral clip of Turner expressing his experience in Philly, Chet Holmgren commented, “Seeing this makes me appreciate the Thunder front office even more.”

From the stories players have told those of us in the media, the OKC Thunder, even at the top with Presti, have a somewhat unique open-door policy. Especially compared to Turner’s story.

Each player talks about how transparent the Thunder are. Chet Holmgren surely has plenty of stories to tell about his communication level with Sam Presti and the organization throughout his year-long rehab process.

Building this trust and goodwill with young players goes a long way. Sam Presti has done a great job of keeping players happy, and it is obviously the best shot at making players feel valued and want to stick around long-term.

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