Sam Presti is having one hell of an offseason, no? The Oklahoma City Thunder‘s general manager has made a pair of trades this summer that have helped the team re-establish itself as one of the premier teams in the league. Presti turned Enes Kanter, Victor Oladipo, Domantas Sabonis, Doug McDermott, and a second rounder they got in a previous trade into Paul George and Carmelo Anthony.
That’s an absolute haul for one starter, three role players/sometimes starters, and a draft pick. It’s an example of great general manager-ing: Presti noticed that two teams were desperate to get something back for superstars who want to leave town, swooped in, and was able to give them something back. You can very easily argue that the Thunder won both deals handedly. (I certainly would.)
But the secret to all of these moves that get the better of desperate teams is that these are the actions of a desperate general manager. Sure, Presti is sensing an opening and pouncing, but while all of these moves are happening, the impending free agency of Russell Westbrook is hanging over the Thunder.
Every move the Thunder have made this offseason have been made with the cloud of Westbrook’s unsigned contract extension hanging over the franchise. For a while, it seemed like it was an inevitability that Westbrook would put pen to paper and make a long-term commitment to the franchise. That has yet to happen, and now, the team is in a race against the clock, as the deadline for Westbrook to sign an extension is Oct. 16.