After penning an editorial in The Oklahoman to try to explain the Thunder‘s offseason to fans, head of basketball operations Sam Presti appeared in front of reporters today to discuss what has been an eventful offseason in Oklahoma City. Presti hadn’t addressed the media since draft night, so he had a lot of ground to cover in today’s session.
Besides discussing the deals that sent Paul George to the Clippers and Russell Westbrook to Houston, Presti also shared some news, telling reporters – including Maddie Lee of The Oklahoman – that injured swingman Andre Roberson is on track to be ready for the start of the 2019/20 season.
It has been a year and a half since Roberson last played in an NBA game. Since rupturing his left patellar tendon in January 2018, the veteran has experienced multiple setbacks and delays in his rehab process. However, Presti says he’s “really excited” for Roberson to return to OKC’s lineup this season.
Here are a few more of the highlights from Presti, via Lee and Royce Young of ESPN:
On new Clipper Paul George referring to his split with the Thunder as “mutual”:
“I wouldn’t necessarily agree with that because that would infer that we were wanting to trade Paul George, which I think most people would agree that that probably wasn’t on the top of our offseason priority list. But I would say that it was not adversarial at all, and I also fully respect the way that it was handled. And the fact that we were able to make it work in a way that benefited the franchise made it something that we could do.”
On whether he considered denying George’s trade request:
“I wouldn’t say that we were going to appease the request simply because it was made, but more than anything, it was because of the fact that we were able to get the return that we did, which then allowed us to accommodate what he was looking for, as well.
“… I just don’t think for us, we can take that risk, given the lengths that we had gone to to try to keep the run that we started in 2008 together, one more year without everybody being totally on board knowing that we could be faced with the exact same situation, from a business perspective, from a practical perspective, it would be irresponsible not to look at that opportunity. And it worked out.”
On acquiring Shai Gilgeous-Alexander:
“To get Shai is a big deal for us. We’re really excited about him. I think he’s not really even scratching the surface. … I think he’s got tremendous makeup, and I think that’s going to be a big accelerator for ultimately how good a player he becomes, and I think he has that. He’s got great size and great length, and he’s a sponge.”
On Chris Paul‘s future in Oklahoma City:
“I can’t give you a forecast on how many years or anything like that, especially after … some of this transition we’re going through right now. But I would say that we’re excited about having him here. He’s excited about the opportunity here. And I think he has an opportunity to really impact the team in a positive way. … I do know that I think he’s going to have a really good year for us, and I do think he’s excited about the opportunity to have an impact on the team.”