Things are going to be different in OKC for a while. The Oklahoma City Thunder don’t have Russell Westbrook or Paul George any longer, with those players now on the Houston Rockets and Los Angeles Clippers, respectively.
Sam Presti is going to have to move forward, and he appears ready to do so. The Thunder now have a huge number of draft picks, but their front office will still need to be craft in order to make that haul pay off.
According to one executive on OKC’s staff, trading Westbrook and George was never in their plans.
From Keith Smith of Real GM:
“When we sat down and mapped out our summer plans, none of them included trading Paul (George) and certainly none of them included trading Russell (Westbrook). But that’s how this league works. Sometimes your hand is forced. When that happens, you do the best you can and I think we did even better than that. We’ve got more to work with moving forward than any team in the history of the league. Now we have to make something of all of that.”
Oklahoma City’s hand was forced, and it made the most sense for everyone involved to jettison Westbrook after George made his departure.
If you’d asked whether this team would look the way it does now in late July, nobody would have believed you.
But here we are, and Presti’s chops as a GM will be under the microscope once again.