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OKC Thunder: Recipe to NBA championship remains slow and steady

While other teams beef up their rosters, Thunder general manager Sam Presti will not change course.
BY JOHN ROHDE Published: July 22, 2012
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Since the Thunder's birth four years ago this month, general manager Sam Presti has pleaded for locals to ignore how other NBA franchises go about their business.

Block out the noise. Don't overreact.

Each team's circumstances are different. Acquisitions by others might not necessarily be obtainable or desirable for OKC.

Presti had a plan when he accepted the GM position on June 7, 2007, and he's not about to alter it. His quest is for long-term competitive stability rather than short-term potential success, and he remains on that course.

Though the Thunder's success has come briskly — from a 3-29 start its initial season to the NBA Finals last season — patience remains entrenched in the franchise's process.

There is no fast-forward button to press via a big-name acquisition.

“Think big, but build small,” Presti said June 24, three days after the Miami Heat claimed the world championship by beating the Thunder 4-1. “Control the things you can control. For us, it comes down to some of those marginal gains that high-performing teams have.”

Not overreacting to what others do sounds good in theory, but how do you possibly block out the noise when so much racket is being made elsewhere?

*Since July 11, Brooklyn has committed roughly $340 million (so far) to re-signing and obtaining players, which nearly matches the $350 million an Oklahoma City-based ownership group paid to purchase the Seattle SuperSonics (and WNBA Storm) six years ago.

*The Los Angeles Lakers now have their best point guard since Magic Johnson after getting Steve Nash from Phoenix in a sign-and-trade. The Lakers also re-signed Jordan Hill, acquired Antawn Jamison and remain alive in a potential Dwight Howard trade.

*The world champion Miami Heat lured Ray Allen, the league's all-time 3-point specialist, away from their Eastern Conference rival Boston Celtics and also signed Rashard Lewis for minimum wage.

*The Celtics re-signed power forward Brandon Bass and obtained guards Jason Terry and Courtney Lee.

*The New York Knicks reacquired point guard Raymond Felton and signed future Hall of Famer Jason Kidd.

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