HoopsHype Sam Presti rumors

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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

Contract extension talks between the Thunder and Harden broke down, and Thunder general manger Sam Presti moved quickly to trade the guard. Harden rejected a four-year offer that would have paid him a base salary of $53 million to $54 million, league sources said. That offer would have pushed OKC's payroll to $95 million, and Thunder officials weren't willing to go any higher. Yahoo! Sports

October 17, 2012 Updates

In an innovative and historic hiring, the Oklahoma City Thunder have reached agreement with Serbian Darko Rajakovic to coach the franchise's Development League affiliate in Tulsa, sources told Yahoo! Sports. Rajakovic's hiring with the Tulsa 66ers is still pending his completion of the immigration process, sources said. Yahoo! Sports

Rajakovic, 33, is the first European to be hired as a head coach for an NBDL or NBA franchise. Thunder general manager Sam Presti has had a long relationship with Rajakovic, including a working partnership that began when Presti was an assistant GM with the San Antonio Spurs. Presti targeted Rajakovic for the Thunder's minor-league position out of a strong belief in Rajakovic's ability to develop the franchise's young players who'll spend time there, sources said. Yahoo! Sports

September 13, 2012 Updates

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