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Berry Tramel: Thunder general manager Sam Presti sticking to his plan

Sam Presti having a plan puts the Thunder ahead of most teams. OKC is hoping that Cole Aldrich can become the next Kendrick Perkins.
by Berry Tramel Modified: June 28, 2010 at 8:55 am •  Published: June 27, 2010

Opinions still vary on the soon-to-be newest Thunder player, Cole Aldrich, but on one item there can be no debate.

General manager Sam Presti has a plan. He has not, does not, will not deviate from the plan. Presti's blueprint is to build a franchise on solid rock. High character, selfless, defensive-minded.

That pretty well sums up Aldrich, the Kansas ox who some say will be a defensive difference-maker and others say will be a career role player but no one says ever will be a malcontent.

Aldrich has the Thunder's DNA, a favorite term around Camp Presti.

I guess you could quibble with Presti's plan, though I don't know why anyone would. But just having a plan puts the Thunder way ahead of the game.

Some NBA franchises wake up in a new world every day. Some gut their roster on the pipedream of signing superstars, because that's easier than actually scouting ballplayers or knowing what you're doing. Some can't handle a plan; the Trail Blazers fired general manager Kevin Pritchard the other day even though he has resurrected the Portland franchise with a model that even Presti envies.

Every move since Presti took over three Junes ago has been calculated, with DNA and salary cap considerations always in the foreground.

As for this draft, personally, I would have been thrilled by any Thunder draft that didn't include trading away Jeff Green. You kept hearing rumblings that Green might be available for swap, but we never should have worried, because again, that would have gone against the plan.

Green is a tremendous athlete who plays defense, doesn't seem to mind that Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook are options A and B, and is very popular in the clubhouse.

Presti's plan is to fill the roster with guys like Green, not get rid of them.

And that's why we should have seen the Aldrich pick coming. It combined the two tenets of Presti's regime: a high quality person and assets obtained with sleight of hand.

The Thunder started the week with four picks: 21, 26, 32 and 51. Without trading a ballplayer or a future first-round draft pick, Presti turned those pedestrian selections into Aldrich with the 11th overall pick; Daequan Cook, a Heat sharpshooter as recently as 2008-09; old pro Morris Peterson, who probably won't be asked to join the roster but you never know; 7-foot German project Tibor Pleiss; second-round draft picks Ryan Reid of Florida State and Latavious Williams of Tulsa's D-League team; and a future first-round Clippers pick.

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by Berry Tramel
Columnist
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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