The Thunder didn't participate in any major deals at the trade deadline, but the club did make a couple minor moves, sending Eric Maynor to Portland for cap relief and a trade exception, and acquiring Ronnie Brewer from the Knicks for a future second-round pick. General manager Sam Presti spoke to Darnell Mayberry of the Oklahoman about those moves and the team's plans for its empty roster spot. Here are the highlights:
On the decision to trade for Brewer:
"I think the opportunity to add a player like Ronnie without dipping into our immediate player rotation was something we feel like we needed to pursue. He brings a defensive mind-set, versatility as a perimeter defender, and he comes in with over 300 games started. But more impressive to us is the fact that he’s played for some organizations that we really have a lot of respect for. In addition to that, he’s a high-character, hard-working individual that we feel like is going to fit well with our current group."
On whether the Brewer acquisition was made with LeBron James and the Heat in mind:
"Well, I think just in today’s NBA one of the things that is certainly valued is versatility. And for our team, a team that wants to continually improve defensively and establish a standard of play on both ends of the floor, we want to try to be as flexible and versatile in styles of play as possible. But we certainly aren’t looking at one particular team because what’s served us well as an organization and as a team is to always focus on the next day. And if we’re starting to look at things down the line, I think that would be inconsistent and probably inappropriate for us."
On the Maynor trade:
"Obviously Eric is someone that we think very highly of, and I think he’s going to be a very productive player in the NBA for years to come. But we also recognize that he was going to have opportunities at the end of the season as a free agent, and we had to figure out the best way to maximize that situation given that he wasn’t playing on a consistent basis with us. The [$2.34MM] trade exception essentially gives us flexibility in terms of roster building, again, to try to make additions to our core group without infringing on that group. It’s going to give us flexibilities during the draft and also as we head into free agency. We’ll try to be as creative as possible, but we’re also going to be very disciplined with it."
On the Thunder's open 15th roster spot:
"I’m going to sit down with [assistant GM] Troy [Weaver] and [head coach] Scott [Brooks] and spend some time working through that and figuring out what direction we want to go. But it’s something that we want to evaluate, and I think we will look to do something in the future."