Shai Gilgeous-Alexander trade and 13 other genius Thunder moves Sam Presti nailed

Sam Presti and the Thunder absolutely nailed these moves.

Oklahoma City Thunder, Sam Presti
Oklahoma City Thunder, Sam Presti / BRYAN TERRY/THE OKLAHOMAN / USA TODAY
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The Oklahoma City Thunder are just getting started. They have leaped near the top of the Western Conference standings and look like a serious contender for years to come behind an incredible rebuild strategy by Sam Presti. Oklahoma City is still loaded with draft capital and already has a roster capable of competing with anyone.

Presti came over from the Spurs in 2007 and was there for the franchise’s last year in Seattle before moving to Oklahoma City. He already built one contending team around Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. They reached the NBA Finals in 2012 but were unable to win a championship. Can Presti get it done with this new wave? That is the goal and the small-market Thunder feel closer than ever.

Presti has been one of the best general managers and lead decision-makers since taking over. He has nailed several moves and keeps finding stars for Oklahoma City. Here is a look at his best moves, including the Shai Gilgeous-Alexander trade.

14. Hire Mark Daigneault as head coach

Daigneault took over as the Thunder’s head coach in 2020 after just one season as an assistant. The 35-year-old began his coaching career in 2007 as a college assistant. He joined the Thunder organization by becoming head coach of the Oklahoma City Blue in the G League in 2014. He held that job through 2019. They did not let Daigneault get away, and he quickly became one of the best in the NBA.

His record may not be impressive, but Daigneault helped Shai Gilgeous-Alexander blossom into a star and has guided the young Thunder from total rebuild to contender over his first four seasons. He was the perfect coach for this group. Daigneault finished second in the Coach of the Year voting in 2023 and is just getting started in Oklahoma City.

It is not just his coaching hire that Sam Presti nailed. The veteran executive is one of the best at finding value no matter the move.