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Sam Presti's plan bears NBA playoff fruit

Berry Tramel: The Thunder has become a postseason power thanks to the general manager's shrewd moves.
by Berry Tramel Published: April 21, 2011

“He's been excellent, building the moves he made for us,” Durant said. “Trading away Jeff Green? That's a bold move.”

Durant said Presti should rival Pat Riley for NBA executive of the year, though I told Durant that Dwyane Wade was the Heat's executive of the year.

Presti learned his craft in the San Antonio organization and has used the Spurs' model for the Thunder.

“I was positive Sam was going to turn the franchise around,” said the Thunder's Nazr Mohammed, who arrived in February via trade from Charlotte but who played on San Antonio's NBA title team in 2005, when Presti was working for the Spurs. “He had a plan. He had a formula, similar to what they did in San Antonio.

“Real smart guy. I was excited for him. San Antonio, they put together a great group of smart guys.”

It does help when you're smarter than the average bear. Truth is, Presti has outfoxed a bunch of NBA general managers, not so much in one-sided trades, but in having cap space that allowed Presti to obtain talent other teams couldn't afford.

Intelligence is the catchword when people discuss Presti.

“He's a lot smarter than me,” Brooks said. “He uses words I need help understanding.”

But Presti has more than smarts. He has drive.

“You can tell he has a passion for his job,” Brooks said. “He practices what he talks about. He's a worker. He's diligent on his work.”

Brooks jokes that the first time he and Presti saw each other, they probably thought the same thing. “Who's that ballboy?”

Brooks had a youthful look when he was a journeyman point guard. Now Brooks coaches a youthful ballteam that is the talk of the NBA, thanks to a man with a plan.

Berry Tramel: Berry can be reached at (405) 760-8080 or at He can be heard Monday through Friday from 4:40-5:20 p.m. on The Sports Animal radio network, including AM-640 and FM-98.1. You can also view his personality page at

by Berry Tramel
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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