Share “Oklahoma City Thunder: Thunder GM Sam...”

Oklahoma City Thunder: Thunder GM Sam Presti 'wouldn't rule out anything' during NBA Draft

That includes trading one or both first-round picks for future assets, something Presti has done only once on draft night during his tenure.
by Darnell Mayberry Published: June 25, 2014

photo - Scott Brooks, left, listens to general manager Sam Presti after the Thunder practice Sunday, June 10, 2012. Photo by Doug Hoke, The Oklahoman
Scott Brooks, left, listens to general manager Sam Presti after the Thunder practice Sunday, June 10, 2012. Photo by Doug Hoke, The Oklahoman

Equally detrimental to the Thunder’s chances is salary cap constraints. OKC simply is in a much different place financially now than it was in 2010, when it could easily take on the final year of Morris Peterson’s contract, a $6.6 million commitment that New Orleans wanted no part of, to jump 10 spots. And you can forget the Thunder parting with any of its core players.

If we’ve learned anything about Presti through the years, though, it’s that his creativity can never be underestimated. Still, the numerous challenges of moving up this year are what make it impossible to overlook the possibility of the Thunder trading out.

There is one potential saving grace — LeBron James opting out of the final two years of his contract with the Miami Heat.

Teams might now look to slash players and shed payroll for a shot at signing James. It could create a trickle-down effect upon which Presti has proved he won’t hesitate to pounce.

Remember, James might not have been able take his talents to South Beach had it not been for Presti. A day before the 2010 draft, and just weeks before James produced the NBA’s most scrutinized “decision,” Presti traded the 32nd overall pick to Miami for Daequan Cook and that year’s 18th overall pick. It was a haul for the Thunder and part of a necessary fire sale by the Heat, who had to cut salary to make room for the eventual signings of James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh.

Should the Clippers, Rockets, Mavs or Bulls enter the latest LeBron sweepstakes, every complementary piece on those rosters would become expendable, allowing clever GMs like Presti opportunities to ride the wave and acquire quality players for pennies on the dollar.

But an equally, if not more, likely scenario this year can be seen in the pick Presti got from the Heat four years ago. That 18th pick became the only first-round selection Presti has ever parted with for future gains. He sent eventual selection Eric Bledsoe to the Los Angeles Clippers for a future first-rounder. That pick was later packaged to Boston as part of the Kendrick Perkins trade.

If all else fails, something similar could be seen Thursday night with the 21st and 29th selections.

“Sometimes improvement comes without addition,” Presti said. “And sometimes addition can create what’s called compression. My job is to calculate how we best get the most out of the team so that the coaches have as many options as possible to build the deepest team and put players on the floor that are going to grow throughout the season and probably throughout the years.”

Brace yourselves.

It could be a wild night.

by Darnell Mayberry
OKC Thunder Senior Reporter
Darnell Mayberry grew up in Langston, Okla. and is now in his third stint in the Sooner state. After a year and a half at Bishop McGuinness High, he finished his prep years in Falls Church, Va., before graduating from Norfolk State University in...
+ show more


  1. 1
    Harry Styles thigh tattoo revealed while hanging with Chelsea Handler
  2. 2
    Teens Using E-Cigarettes Triple in One Year
  3. 3
    'Anne of Green Gables' Star Jonathan Crombie Dies at 48
  4. 4
    Elmo Encourages Kids to Get Vaccinated in Hilarious New Video
  5. 5
    Gender bender at ESPN? If Britt (Brat) McHenry was a man, she'd be out of a job
+ show more