I’m not sure if there was a specific moment where things went sour between Kevin Pritchard and the Portland Trailblazers, but at this point the funk in the air is undeniable.
And Sam Presti doesn’t want any of it stinking up his place with the Thunder or his status as one of the top GMs in the league.
Reports have indicated that Presti was interviewing for Pritchard’s chair with Pritch still in it, but they didn’t quite pass the smell test. Why would Presti hand over the Thunder, who are coming off of an incredibly successful season with the roster he constructed, to anyone at this point? Kevin Durant is a top five player, Russell Westbrook is positively captivating, and the team is only in a position to improve from this point forward. If Presti stays in OKC, it seems like it’s only a matter of time before the Thunder are perennial contenders.
It makes sense that Portland would want Presti, but to assume Presti would leave the Thunder for the Blazers? Iffy at best.
So it comes with minimal surprise that Presti himself has denied the rumors. Via Darnell Mayberry of The Oklahoman’s Thunder Rumblings blog:
“The story is absolutely false,” Presti said in response Tuesday. “I
have not interviewed with any teams or spoken to officials related to a
team, nor do I intend to. I have a terrific situation here with the
Thunder and enjoy being a member of the Oklahoma City community. I am
excited about the short and long term vision for our organization.”
It’s the second time in four days Presti’s name has been linked to
the Blazers and the second time Presti has had to express how satisfied
he is in his current position. A Yahoo! Sports story over the weekend
reported the Blazers had targeted Presti as a potential replacement to
Pritchard should they part ways with him and even have made several
“fact-finding calls” about Presti.
“Portland has a general manager, and I have a great job in Oklahoma
City,” Presti said Sunday. “I am excited to be a part of what we’re
Now, Presti would probably respond the same way even if he had been interviewing for the Portland job, but think about it. Do the math. Reflect. Why would a successful GM bail on a project he built from the ground up?