HoopsHype Sam Presti rumors

October 29, 2012 Updates

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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August 7, 2012 Updates

Dallas' Mark Cuban is one owner who has made his feelings known that NBA teams are simply subsidizing the Olympics without receiving any control or profit. Nonetheless, Presti had only good things to say on Saturday about the status quo. "I think it's really helpful for them to play under different circumstances; it only rounds them out as players and makes them better," said Presti, who also saw Durant and Westbrook win gold at the 2010 FIBA World Championship. "What we observed from the World Championship was just the mental endurance that it takes to go through an international competition and the training camp that leads up to it in medal-round play just to get there. "Just the level of mental endurance that Kevin and Russell have been exposed to and conditioned themselves to, I think has really helped us in our playoff series. That's a real benefit. I think Serge's experiences with the national team, again just being in different situations and adjusting to different styles of play, I only makes him a more well-rounded player. And James now is also getting that level of experience. I really feel like we've benefited from all of the exposures that the players have been given, and I think they're all very grateful for the opportunity too. It's fun to watch them in these situations." SI.com

July 13, 2012 Updates

"He's a guy that has quickness at his size and fits in with his length and versatility," said Thunder general manager Sam Presti. "And what we've seen at this point is someone who has been excellent in terms of coming in and showing that he is a willing and active learner." NBA.com

June 29, 2012 Updates

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