HoopsHype Sam Presti rumors

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May 22, 2015 Updates
May 19, 2015 Updates
May 18, 2015 Updates

The Oklahoma City head coaching job was believed to be between Florida’s Billy Donovan and UConn’s Kevin Ollie. Not so, per a source. The Thunder never approached Ollie about the job. Oklahoma City GM Sam Presti has enormous respect for Ollie, who was a member of the Thunder front office before taking a job with the Huskies, but the team was locked in on Donovan from the start. Sports Illustrated

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 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
April 30, 2015 Updates

“We are thrilled to welcome Billy and his family to the Oklahoma City Thunder organization. When we began the process of identifying the next head coach of the Thunder, we started with a vision and the identifiable qualities that we felt were necessary for our organization as well as the ever evolving role of the head coach in today's NBA. 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. “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. Billy has achieved an incredible level of success and experience within his 21 years as a head coach and has shown the unique ability to not only create but sustain an elite program. His emotional intelligence, commitment to the concept of team, and relentless approach to incremental improvement have allowed him to bring his players together and establish lasting relationships through competitive success. Billy's core values and alignment with our culture and community, as well as his proven tactical abilities, make him an ideal addition to the Thunder organization.” ‎ NBA.com

April 29, 2015 Updates

CBSSports.com's Gary Parrish reports that the Thunder coaching search is solely focused on Florida's Billy Donovan, who is said to have met with GM Sam Presti on Tuesday. According to other reports, Donovan wants to meet with Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and Serge Ibaka before accepting the job, which he is strongly considering. CBSSports.com reported last week after Brooks was fired that Donovan was the Thunder's first choice. League sources now say Presti has cordially fielded calls from agents for other possible candidates, but has been moving forward exclusively in his pursuit of Donovan. CBSSports.com

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