Oklahoma City Thunder general manager Sam Presti has had himself quite the off-season. From acquiring Paul George to signing Patrick Patterson and Raymond Felton to cap-friendly contracts, Presti has gone from the man that let Kevin Durant walk for nothing to the man most likely to win Executive of the Year at next years’s NBA Awards.
But if we rewind back to July 4th, 2016, the state of the organization was on much more treacherous footing. One of the pillars of the franchise, Durant, chose to defect to the team’s biggest rival instead of re-signing with the team. Another pillar, Serge Ibaka, was traded two weeks prior to garner younger assets. And the team’s lone remaining superstar, Russell Westbrook, was coming up on the final year of his contract. From the outside looking in, this felt like the end of a memorable, yet disappointing run from a group of young superstars who were drafted together and rose up to prominence, likely a little too fast for their own good.
That was the feeling during the press conference Presti had the evening following Durant’s departure. The questions ranged from, “when did you know Durant was signing with the Warriors?” to “are you now going to trade Russell Westbrook?”. It was the first time I’d ever seen Presti a little rattled during a press conference. (And by rattled, I mean Presti stumbled over like five words over a 45 minutes presser.) Continue reading Sam Presti: Putting back the Jenga pieces→
Hello Tuesday. Hopefully everyone is over their weekend/Game of Thrones coma. Here are the DTRs…
Just when you think the awards are done, here comes Sports Illustrated crowning Russell Westbrook the most fashionable athlete for 2017: “Why not? This is the two-word mantra by which he shops, but also by which he practices, plays, walks, talks, dresses and eats. It’s the phrase he wears on an orange silicone bracelet on his wrist. It’s the phrase that helped him reap the 2017 MVP award after averaging a triple double, a feat no NBA player had achieved since Oscar Robertson in 1961–62, while piling up a record 42 of them. It’s the phrase that appears in the name of his charity organization, the Russell Westbrook Why Not? Foundation. It’s the phrase he hashtags on his Instagram posts, which often show off his unorthodox attire. “It goes across so many things, not just in fashion but your whole self,” says Westbrook. “It’s so important to remember to be yourself, regardless of what others think.”
Erik Horne looks at four questions still unanswered for the Thunder this offseason: “It’s been almost a month since the NBA Draft, and the Thunder rookie still hasn’t signed his contract. Ferguson’s clearance is still being worked out with the International Federation of Basketball (FIBA), as the 19-year-old played in Australia last season. The biggest potential benefit to Ferguson getting his deal done has already passed. The Thunder would have liked to have him play Summer League, but now that it’s over there’s no rush in getting him signed. He should have his deal done in time for training camp in September. Last offseason, rookie Domantas Sabonis didn’t sign his contract until Aug. 12.” Continue reading Daily Thunder Rumblings – 18 July 2017→