Sam Presti breaks silence after Thunder trade Josh Giddey, hints guard wanted out

Sam Presti speaks to the press in Oklahoma City, on Tuesday, May 28, 2024.
Sam Presti speaks to the press in Oklahoma City, on Tuesday, May 28, 2024. / NATHAN J. FISH/THE OKLAHOMAN / USA TODAY

Thursday evening, the OKC Thunder pulled the trigger on the first splashy move of the 2024 offseason, as they traded former lottery-selected talent, Josh Giddey, to the Chicago Bulls in a swap for veteran 3-and-D specialist, Alex Caruso.

A deal that sparked many reactions from fans and pundits on both sides of the situation, in the end, all parties involved are heading for a notable shakeup and change of scenery.

Less than 24 hours after the deal was made, Thunder GM Sam Presti opened up about the decision-making and back-end storylines that were present throughout the whole exchange, and shed light on the thought process and conversations had with his, now, former guard.

Thunder GM Sam Presti issues statement on Josh Giddey trade

"We want to thank Josh for his many contributions to our team and know he will capitalize on the opportunities before him in Chicago.

When we drafted Josh in 2021 he was an essential aspect of our vision for the next iteration of the Thunder. Since then, our team has evolved rapidly and dynamically in ways we could never have anticipated. Therefore, as we began our internal discussions this off-season, it was determined that bringing Josh off the bench next season was our best option to maximize his many talents and deploy our team more efficiently over 48 minutes.

As we laid out to Josh how he could lean into his strengths and ultimately optimize our current roster and talent, it was hard for him to envision, and conversations turned to him inquiring about potential opportunities elsewhere. As always was the case, Josh demonstrated the utmost professionalism throughout the discussions. Josh has All-Star potential, but accessing that in the current construct of the Thunder would not be optimal for the collective. Based on these discussions we decided to move forward and prioritize what was best for the organization."

Sam Presti

Since being selected with the sixth pick back during the 2021 NBA Draft, Giddey has proven to be a highly versatile backcourt talent who has flashed immense upside when in the right situation, particularly while serving as a lead floor general.

In 210 career games, the 21-year-old boasts sound all-around averages of 13.9 points, 7.3 rebounds, and 5.7 rebounds on 46.4 percent shooting from the field.

Unfortunately, however, it appears his fit alongside the more ball-dominant Shai Gilgeous-Alexander never managed to mesh as Presti and company had hoped, which seemed to play a major role in his incredibly inconsistent 2023-24 campaign where he saw declines in numerous statistical areas when compared to the season before.

On top of this, to this point in his career, Giddey's long-range jumper has yet to fully develop, which made it hard to have him plug into coach Mark Daigneault's five-out floor spacing scheme and even limited him to a mere 12.6 minutes playing during Oklahoma City's second-round elimination bout against the Dallas Mavericks.

Due to these reasons, since being cut from the playoffs, many -- including Giddey himself, as per Presti's statement -- saw the third-year pro as someone who could use for a setting change heading into the 2024-25 season, and, ultimately, said change has wound up being the Windy City where, in many ways, he could prove to be a rather logical fit.

Should they wish to continue competing out in the Eastern Conference, the point guard-needy Bulls could absolutely use for someone of Giddey's pass-first talents and set-up skills, especially if they keep the likes of scoring savants Zach LaVine, DeMar DeRozan, and Nikola Vucevic in tow.

However, even if Chicago opts to blow it up, considering the fact that he won't be turning 22 until October of next season and that he's still attached to his rookie-scale contract, Giddey fits the mold of an ideal player to have in tow heading into a rebuild.

Regardless of the course of action the guard's new franchise takes, Presti believes that the youngster now finds himself in a more ideal situation, while the addition of Alex Caruso is believed to be something that "will help elevate the core of our team" as they aim to compete for championships and become one of the league's next great dynasties over the next several years.

In many ways, Thursday's trade between the Bulls and Thunder appears to have the makings of a true win-win move.