The Oklahoma Cith Thunder made waves all around the NBA last night when they traded reigning Sixth Man of the Year James Harden to the Houston Rockets, along with Cole Aldrich, Daequan Cook, and Lazar Hayward, in exchange for Kevin Martin, Jeremy Lamb, and three draft picks. On Sunday, Thunder GM Sam Presti spoke to reporters about the move. Here's a transcript of some of his comments, courtesy of Yannis Koutroupis of HoopsWorld:
On the decision to trade Harden:
The culmination of this decision to move forward, we got to a point where we were pretty transparent, very direct as we are with all our players in this situation. As a fact, we reached a point where we had to make a decision, we made a final proposal on Friday morning that was unacceptable, we then came back to where we were beginning to execute a trade, initiation with another proposal. We were very transparent with James that if this was not acceptable, then we would have to move towards making the best decision for the franchise, given the fact that it was becoming a reality that more than likely, he would be signing elsewhere after the season. Once that reality was met, as we have in the past, this organization turned a page. We started to focus on what’s in the best interest to the program and focus on capitalizing on an opportunity that would help us both in the short term and also continue to strengthen the future of the Thunder organization and building this program in a sustainable fashion.
On Harden's reaction:
I value my relationship with James and I do with all the players that we have here, because once they walk through the doors of the Thunder, they’re going to leave an impact on the fabric of this program, one way or another. It’s been a great thing for us to watch James grow as a player and as a professional. It was a difficult situation because I didn’t think the day would come to the reality that it wasn’t going to work out and we weren’t going to be able to meet the expectations, but it doesn’t change how we feel about James Harden. We wish him the best and any relationships that he has here will live on, but once that was established we had to do what was best for the organization. In response to your question about were we able to talk to him, James and I have had several conversations over the years about things other than basketball, so I enjoyed a pretty good relationship with him and we did talk.
On the players the Thunder received:
I think about adding Jeremy and Kevin to this group and it’s exciting to me, it’s very exciting to me. I think those guys add to what it is we have in place and what we have in place is a group of very competitive people and last night, as I was wrapping up the end of the trade and the things that have to happen, I also looked out my window and Russell Westbrook and Serge Ibaka were in here, working individually with our coaching staff on separate baskets and I thought about that we were adding two qualities players to a group of guys who are really invested with what it is that we’re trying to do here and take a lot of pride with playing with the Thunder.