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Oklahoma City Thunder VIDEOS

May 8, 2015 Updates

Royal Ivey – Last offseason, Presti pried Ivey into retirement and gave him his first coaching job. He’s a former Thunder player who was also a teammate of Kevin Durant’s at Texas. Ivey is extremely close with a number of the players and the organization is high on him. Ivey worked with the Thunder point guards during training camp last season, but was a lead assistant for the Blue once the schedule began. With some tinkering expected soon, it’s possible Presti plants him with the Thunder full-time. Oklahoman

May 6, 2015 Updates

Q: What makes you confident the team can re-sign Enes Kanter this summer, and what did you see in Kyle Singler that makes you interested in bringing him back? Sam Presti: Both players stand to be restricted free agents in their early-to-mid 20's, and this, in combination with the pending TV money hitting the system in the future made it possible for us to pursue both aggressively in trade while still maintaining confidence that we could continue to build a team around our core in the coming years. Enes is someone we are committed to seeing in a Thunder uniform moving forward. With regards to Singler, finding a player in free agency that can shoot close to 40% from the three point line over the course of a season, embrace various roles, and stand as one of your more fundamental players at 6-9 is unlikely when over the cap and tax. Therefore, we are hopeful we will be able to keep working with him in the future. Oklahoman

Q: There was a report that management consulted with Kevin Durant on the hiring of coach Donovan but not with Russell Westbrook and Westbrook is now upset with the organization because of it. Is there any truth to that report, and have you spoken to Westbrook since Donovan was hired to get a sense of what he's feeling? Sam Presti: As I have stated before, I do not feel it is in the best interest of the guys, or team collectively, if we were to poll our players in regards to specific personnel or staff decisions. However, we have spent a significant amount of time over the last seven-plus seasons discussing, observing and defining our culture with our players, which we feel is important given their role in building the identity for the Thunder. One aspect of this recent process was to have specific conversations with several core members of the program, including Kevin and Russell, regarding important qualities that should be considered in looking for our next head coach. Fortunately, our continuity and communication over the years in combination with our more recent discussions gave us an understanding that there is an alignment with regards to the qualities that we felt were important to our progression and evolution. Multiple people within the organization have been in contact with Russ and he will be in town later this week to meet with the staff. Oklahoman

Q: How important is this year's draft pick to the team given how much higher it is than anticipated, and what position or type of player do you feel is the biggest need? Also, who will represent the organization at the NBA Draft Lottery? Sam Presti: Every draft pick is viewed as an opportunity, or an option of sorts for the club. Will Dawkins and our amateur scouting department have done a great job this year of planning for various scenarios within the draft. It is up to us to sort through ways that we might be able to use the draft pick to generate the most value for the organization. This could mean picking the best available player, looking to trade the pick, or any other myriad of concepts that we are exploring each day. Russell Westbrook will be representing the organization at the Lottery, and I told him the other day that if people watching at home do not have to adjust the brightness on their television screen based on what he is wearing, I will be really surprised. That or something sans sleeves. Oklahoman

There was a report that management consulted with Kevin Durant on the hiring of coach Donovan but not with Russell Westbrook and Westbrook is now upset with the organization because of it. Is there any truth to that report, and have you spoken to Westbrook since Donovan was hired to get a sense of what he's feeling? Sam Presti: As I have stated before, I do not feel it is in the best interest of the guys, or team collectively, if we were to poll our players in regards to specific personnel or staff decisions. However, we have spent a significant amount of time over the last seven-plus seasons discussing, observing and defining our culture with our players, which we feel is important given their role in building the identity for the Thunder. One aspect of this recent process was to have specific conversations with several core members of the program, including Kevin and Russell, regarding important qualities that should be considered in looking for our next head coach. Oklahoman

May 5, 2015 Updates
May 4, 2015 Updates

But early signs are encouraging that coach and point guard will likely mesh. “The one thing I would say with Russell, I don’t want to at ever feel that with a new coach coming in, I want to hold him back or change him,” Donovan said. “He’s a great player. Has great passion, great heart, great intensity. I want him to be able to be who he is. I think that’s what the Thunder organization is about. Just like they’re trying to let me be who I am as a coach, I need to let Russell be who he is as a player.” Oklahoman

Anthony Slater: Billy Donovan says still no decision on his coaching staff. Will gather with Thunder front office in coming days and discuss. Twitter @anthonyVslater

Harden was second in the NBA scoring race to Oklahoma City's Russell Westbrook, leading the Rockets through an injury-filled season to 56 wins, the Southwest Division championship, and the second seed in the Western Conference. Harden was flattered to be considered but is more driven to chase postseason success. "My name being in the conversation is a blessing and an honor," he said. "I'm not worrying about it. I am worried about doing the right things. It would be a great honor - something I dreamed of as a kid. I think every kid dreams that: to be the MVP of the NBA." Houston Chronicle

May 3, 2015 Updates
May 2, 2015 Updates

"It's been a complete whirlwind for me the last four or five days," Donovan said. "I am extremely thankful the way [Thunder general manager Sam Presti] laid out the organization to me over about a two-and-a-half-day period because, to be honest with you, I really did not know a lot about the Oklahoma City Thunder. I knew of Sam, I obviously knew of the players and organization, but I didn't know what it was about. And it was that -- that really made me turn my head when I started to find out more, that I think the qualities, the values, what this organization is about is directly in line and mirrors what I believe." ESPN.com

“We wanted to identify a person with the traits associated with high achieving leaders in their respective fields; a continuous learning mentality, the ability to adapt, evolve and innovate, intrinsically motivated, humility, and great tactical competence,” Presti said in a statement released by the team. “While we created a comprehensive analysis regarding the qualities we were looking for, it became quite evident that Billy was the ideal fit for the Thunder as we look to transition our team into the future.” Washington Post

May 1, 2015 Updates

Lots of opinions about the Thunder hire of Billy Donovan. But my favorite NBA analyst is David Thorpe, a former coach who now works with players individually -- he's worked with Serge Ibaka -- and is a regular contributor to truehoop blog. Thorpe talked about Donovan in an interview with Henry Abott, which you can read here. And here's what Thorpe says about Donovan. He's like Scotty Brooks. And Thorpe says that's a good thing. "I think he's going to be, oh boy, excuse me for saying this. I think it's going to be a lot like Scotty Brooks. I love Scotty Brooks. I think he's (Donovan) going to be a lot like him. I don't think he's the most creative offensive coach. That's the worst thing I can say about him. Guys are going to love playing for him. He's going to definitely preach defense. He'll probably get guys to share better than what they did in Oklahoma City, and if they can't, then we'll know it was just the players all along anyway." Oklahoman

"He's going to be really consistent with his message," Thorpe said of Donovan. "He used to be a maniac as a coach. By the way, so was I and pretty much every guy in their 20s coaching. Billy is really poised and mature with his guys. We're not best friends or anything, I've known him for probably 20some odd years now. But it was just a year ago, Florida had won 30 straight games. They were Kentucky a year ago without the NBA players. Had won 30 straight, then just got exhausted by the time the Final Four came around. But his guys will compete. He's the best coach in college, I think, in terms of getting his guys to really understand spacing. In the NBA, that will work out even better. That's a talent that he has. He knows how to talk to players and get into them and get the best out of them. I think he's more like Scotty Brooks. Again, I think that's a good thing. He'll be a different voice, he has a different way about him. He's a New York guy and all of that. So the end result will be positive. They're a really talented team, which is why I think he's going in the first place." Oklahoman

 

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