One day after an Internet report named Thunder general manager Sam Presti as a potential successor to Portland GM Kevin Pritchard, Presti responded to the speculation. "Portland has a general manager, and I have a great job here in Oklahoma City,” Presti said Sunday. "I am excited to be a part of what we are building.” Pritchard's job has been in question for the past few months despite the work he's done rebuilding the Blazers. According to Yahoo! Sports, the Blazers have "made several fact-finding calls” about Presti, who in three years has transformed the Thunder franchise into a club that possesses arguably the most promising young core and future in the league. Because of the job Presti has done — reconfiguring the franchise's payroll structure, effectively rebuilding through the draft with young talent and creatively capitalizing on trade opportunities while remaining prudent in free agency — this seemingly will be the first of several reports that link him to GM openings. Losing Presti, especially at this stage in the team's development, would be a huge blow to the Thunder. But there are far too few reasons to believe Presti would bolt the Thunder for the Blazers. The lone sizable edge the Blazers hold over the Thunder is in billionaire owner Paul Allen. With Allen signing paychecks, Presti could potentially receive a hefty raise and perhaps wouldn't need to be nearly as mindful about his team's payroll as he must be in Oklahoma City. But Portland has its issues. The Yahoo! Sports article, citing anonymous sources, reports that potential candidates would be hesitant to take the Blazers job if it opened because of an ownership group in Portland that has a history of "meddlesome behavior.” The article goes on to say established NBA front-office executives are unsure they would have the leeway to carry out their philosophies. Presti, meanwhile, has been given that freedom in OKC. He makes it a point in press conferences to thank Thunder chairman Clay Bennett and the rest of the team's ownership group for how it has supported his methodical, build-from-the-ground-up approach. And it seems unlikely Presti would jump from one extreme to another. Furthermore, Oklahoma City already appears to be a step ahead of the Blazers in terms of the on-court product, even though the Blazers entered the rebuilding process three years before the Thunder. With Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, Jeff Green, James Harden, Serge Ibaka, Thabo Sefolosha and Eric Maynor, Presti has a stable of hand-picked players, all 26 years or younger, who fit his often-stated desired attitude of working hard, sacrificing and playing for each other on the court while being positive role models and stand-up citizens off it. You also could argue that the Thunder's talent exceeds that of the Blazers, whose young stars include Brandon Roy, LaMarcus Aldridge, Greg Oden, Martell Webster, Rudy Fernandez, Jerryd Bayless and Nicolas Batum. And while money is less of an issue for Allen in Portland, the Blazers will have less flexibility in the coming years now that contract extensions for Roy and Aldridge are set to kick in next season. Current projections have the Blazers already on pace to be over the salary cap next season and likely to surpass the luxury tax threshold as well in 2010-11. The Thunder will be in the same boat in two years. But when you consider the talent level of the Thunder players, the fact that they're Presti's own and he admittedly likes what's taking place here, the time just doesn't seem right for Presti to jump ship. Not for a place in Portland.