“What I can tell you is that we're going to do everything we can to make it work. We're going to put everything toward it,” Presti said.
Each of the players facing contract decisions expressed an interest in returning to the Thunder. A day earlier, Maynor openly discussed the potential that the players would need to “sacrifice” to make it work. Harden said he loved playing for Oklahoma City and suggested the possibility of a dynasty being built by the Thunder.
“Those guys obviously care a lot about the organization, they care a lot about playing here and, I think, very much about winning. But at the end of the day, those are personal decisions,” Presti said.
“We're not ones to judge anyone in those respects. We're going to do what we can to try to make it work for them and to make it work for us.”
Since relocating from Seattle in 2008, the Thunder have largely been able to grow with young talent playing on less expensive rookie contracts. As the team has grown older and more successful, the cost of doing business has grown.
“The challenges of that, quite frankly, are the challenges you have when you're a good team,” Presti said, “and the decisions that you have to make, especially under a new system, as we try to learn that system and understand it and ultimately make some decisions about what we feel like is the best way to build a team in Oklahoma City that's capable of competing year in and year out and giving ourselves a chance to win both in the in short and long term.”