With training camp opening this weekend, Thunder general manager Sam Presti sat down for his annual state of the organization address with media members on Wednesday.
Presti touched on a variety of subjects, ranging from Russell Westbrook's health to Serge Ibaka's potential growth to the NBA's new jersey trends.
Here are some highlights:
Q: With Russell's situation, how involved do you expect him to be in training camp?
A: “He'll be able to go through the parts that he's cleared for. I'm hesitant right now to say exactly what he'll be able to do a week from the first day. But I will tell you that he'll be going through parts of camp starting on the first day. With that being said, when you're dealing with rehabilitation, it's a day to day thing because you're constantly retraining the body to do things it has not done in a while. So there'll be some good days, probably some setbacks as well, but he'll be able to do a lot out on the floor early on. Once he's meeting those thresholds and meeting those benchmarks, that workload will increase.”
Are you surprised that it's taken this long for him to be cleared?
“First and foremost, the most important thing is he's healing properly, and all signs point to that. We were very hesitant to give a specific timetable because when you're dealing with injuries, recovery time, everybody's different.”
Is there at least the possibility that Russell will not be ready for the start of the regular season?
“I wouldn't say that he will be, and I wouldn't say that he won't be. Again, we've got to see how the next month goes. Beyond that, I'm just projecting on things that I have no business projecting on. We're going to trust the medical team. Russell will be ready to go once he's cleared. This is an important player for us not only this year but for many years down the line, and we'll be operating with that in mind.”
What have you seen from Kendrick Perkins this offseason, and what do you expect from him during this season ahead?
“Obviously he has high standards for himself, and he expressed those at the end of last season. He makes up part of the group and part of the continuity that's been around for quite some time, and he's been a part of the best team that we've had here. We expect him to continue to be an elite post defender. We expect him to impact the play of some of the top-tier centers in the league, especially those in the Western Conference. He's going to impact our team in other ways as well, and we've said that before. It's always hard to answer those questions without sounding defensive, other than to say Perk is a part of the success that we've had here. He's an important member of the team. We expect him to fill the role that he's given and contribute.”
With all the different uniform experiments being talked about (sleeves, nicknames, etc.), are you guys doing any of that? And when it comes to that, is that a team decision or the league?