HoopsHype Sam Presti rumors

March 8, 2013 Updates

But here's the real killer. Multiple sources have told me that, when Oklahoma City's Sam Presti decided to shop James Harden, Golden State was his first call. He wanted Klay Thompson and a pick. The Warriors would only consider the trade if Oklahoma City took back Biedrins or Jefferson for 2013 expirings, knowing they'd get crushed by the luxury tax in 2014 with Harden's extension plus Steph Curry's extension plus David Lee plus Bogut/Jefferson/Biedrins. At that point, Presti went to Washington (offering Harden for Bradley Beal, and unbelievably getting turned down), then Houston (where the shopping heated up). Presti never ended up calling Golden State back. Grantland

February 22, 2013 Updates

Q: What made you go after Ronnie Brewer, and how long have you had your eye on him? A: I think the opportunity to add a player like Ronnie without dipping into our immediate player rotation was something we feel like we needed to pursue. He brings a defensive mind-set, versatility as a perimeter defender, and he comes in with over 300 games started. But more impressive to us is the fact that he’s played for some organizations that we really have a lot of respect for. In addition to that, he’s a high-character, hard-working individual that we feel like is going to fit well with our current group. Oklahoman

Q: What can you tell fans about the trade exception that you got in the Eric Maynor trade? A: Well obviously Eric is someone that we think very highly of, and I think he’s going to be a very productive player in the NBA for years to come. But we also recognize that he was going to have opportunities at the end of the season as a free agent, and we had to figure out the best way to maximize that situation given that he wasn’t playing on a consistent basis with us. The trade exception essentially gives us flexibility in terms of roster building, again, to try to make additions to our core group without infringing on that group. It’s going to give us flexibilities during the draft and also as we head into free agency. We’ll try to be as creative as possible, but we’re also going to be very disciplined with it. Oklahoman

November 13, 2012 Updates

I met Presti two weeks before the start of training camp at the Oklahoma City National Memorial, a site that commemorates, powerfully, the city’s defining tragedy: the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building. Presti shook my hand in the lobby, quickly and firmly, and then proceeded to say nothing for many minutes. The museum’s director was giving us a tour, and Presti seemed relieved to cede the floor completely to her. He wore a polo shirt, casual pants, fashionable glasses and hip sneakers. He was very slim — no excess — and was fidgeting a lot, bouncing rhythmically at the knees. We were at the memorial because, as Presti told me later, “This place is part of our existence.” Presti sits on the memorial’s board, and he makes sure that every player who joins the Thunder visits the site before he ever plays a game. The idea is to teach them the character of the citizenry they’ve just joined, to help them recognize, as Tom Brokaw put it on the night of the bombing, Oklahomans’ “essential sense of goodness, community and compassion.” New York Times

November 6, 2012 Updates

Thunder and Rockets executives give the same explanation for the timing of the trade four days prior to the Oct. 31 deadline for contract extensions: Houston needed a deal done on that Saturday, because Rockets officials felt that was the bare minimum to assure they could get their eventual five-year, $80 million deal with Harden into place. Houston had been pressing hard to complete the trade on that Friday, but Thunder GM Sam Presti waited until Saturday to present his final offer with a 60- minute deadline to accept. Presti believed the Thunder would've lost leverage in potential trade packages if rivals weren't sure they could keep Harden off the restricted free-agent market next summer. Yahoo! Sports

"I heard a lot of those things," Harden said. "I heard that I was greedy; that I didn't care about winning; heard the questioning of my loyalty. And I'm thinking: 'Of course I want to win. I've been winning my entire life.' "Everybody has their own opinion about me [as a role player and focus of a team]. I can do both: I'm versatile. Growing up in college, in high school, I was the focal point. I was the leader. I was the go-to guy. I was the third overall pick. I took a back seat and did whatever it took for the team to win. Some nights I scored, some nights I passed. Whatever was needed to win. "Now, I'm back to my old ways: Needing to be the leader, needing to score. In any situation, I'm going to be good." Yahoo! Sports

November 2, 2012 Updates

Didn’t you warn Sam Presti about trading with Houston? R.C. Buford got the intended humor immediately. “He didn’t ask me,” he said, smiling. Just as Buford once took heat for trading Luis Scola to the Rockets, Presti is being second-guessed for sending James Harden in the same direction. The deals were nothing alike. The Spurs only got money in return for Scola, and the Thunder received a lot for the future and something for Thursday, too. Kevin Martin, replacing Harden, tossed in three 3-pointers against the Spurs. But the bigger contrast is the life of these trades. Buford’s was never a national debate, and it went away in time. Presti’s? This trade will stick with him, good or bad, for his career. San Antonio Express-News

October 30, 2012 Updates

So here's Oklahoma City offering Harden $53 million for four years and refusing to include a trade kicker — in other words, Sorry, we have to keep our options open, just in case. Harden's agent justifiably turned them down. The team played hardball. Harden's agent stood his ground. They threatened to trade him to Houston — which was, in retrospect, their biggest mistake because that meant Harden had a five-year, $78 million offer with no state income tax suddenly waiting for him — and at that point, this was done. Grantland

October 29, 2012 Updates

Sam Presti: “We’ve had positive dialogue with Eric and he’s a guy that means a lot to this ball club. We value him. He’s continually gaining more confidence coming back from injury and looks fantastic. Whether or not we’ll ultimately do anything with him and in terms of extension is not a reflection of his wanting to be here or our wanting to keep him in the program. I think that it just may be better for us to see how things develop throughout the season for him, as well. I think he has to see that as well but I think everybody knows that Eric’s a guy that I think.. I’d like to have first dibs on him when he’s done because I think he’ll be a great coach. That’s far down the line but he’s got a great basketball mind. He’s got a great demeanor. He’s a great communicator and I really do think that he appreciates being with this organization and that goes a long way here.” HoopsWorld

Said Harden was stunned that the Thunder actually traded him to the Rockets. He didn't believe the Thunder would do it. But Sam Presti told him. Presti's lips now are sealed, but sources from both parties said that the Thunder appealed one final time to Harden on Friday. Upped its offer to $53 million over four years but told Harden if he didn't take it, he would be traded to Houston. Presti didn't use that as a warning. He used it as a plea. He desperately wanted to keep Harden, but this was the last best offer. And the Thunder gave Harden an hour to accept. Oklahoman

It wasn't that Presti was trying to play hardball, necessarily. He was on the clock. That deal with the Rockets wouldn't last forever; Houston wanted Harden early enough to sign him to a contract extension by the Halloween deadline. Presti had decided that if Harden wouldn't sign an extension with OKC, a preseason deal offered the Thunder its best leverage. Harden, through his agent, said he needed three days. Presti stood firm on one hour. Oklahoman

October 28, 2012 Updates

Plan with the two open roster spots created by the trade. Sam Presti: “It’s something we need to determine and we’re going to let the dust settle here a little bit and then we’ll make that decision. I’ve have a visit with the front office guys and obviously talk to Scott and decide what we want to do there.” HoopsWorld

Eric Maynor’s status. Sam Presti: “We’ve had positive dialogue with Eric and he’s a guy that means a lot to this ball club. We value him. He’s continually gaining more confidence coming back from injury and looks fantastic. Whether or not we’ll ultimately do anything with him and in terms of extension is not a reflection of his wanting to be here or our wanting to keep him in the program. I think that it just may be better for us to see how things develop throughout the season for him, as well. I think he has to see that as well but I think everybody knows that Eric’s a guy that I think.. I’d like to have first dibs on him when he’s done because I think he’ll be a great coach. That’s far down the line but he’s got a great basketball mind. He’s got a great demeanor. He’s a great communicator and I really do think that he appreciates being with this organization and that goes a long way here.” HoopsWorld

Sam Presti: We were very transparent with James that if this was not acceptable, then we would have to move towards making the best decision for the franchise, given the fact that it was becoming a reality that more than likely, he would be signing elsewhere after the season. Once that reality was met, as we have in the past, this organization turned a page. We started to focus on what’s in the best interest to the program and focus on capitalizing on an opportunity that would help us both in the short term and also continue to strengthen the future of the Thunder organization and building this program in a sustainable fashion.” HoopsWorld

For months, Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey called on Oklahoma City's Sam Presti, probing him with a simple question: Want to discuss a deal for James Harden yet? Over and over, the response had been an unwavering no. The Thunder wanted to sign Harden to a contract extension, hold together their young core and try to win championships for years and years. Yahoo! Sports

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