Sam Presti has a new task ahead of him. His Oklahoma City Thunder look more different than ever before, and now he has the unenviable task of rebuilding a contender in a small market city without any certified stars on his roster.
Things have been a whirlwind since Presti traded Paul George to the Los Angeles Clippers under duress as part of the Kawhi Leonard deal. Russell Westbrook soon followed to the reviled Houston Rockets.
Nobody would have guessed this is where OKC would stand come the end of July. But alas, here they are.
As such, Presti penned a letter to the fans of Oklahoma City in The Oklahoman this past week, telling the Thunder faithful they’ll need to be patient, and invest their faith in the organization.
In part, the letter read:
In order to build — and then sustain — a truly great basketball team, it requires a method. This method is not guesswork or a convenient message that miscasts other’s good fortune as a repeatable skill. To build true excellence in any industry, and then sustain it, requires trading on time and playing the empirical odds. This will require strategic discipline and thoughtful patience, but these are values our organization has always held high. That’s how longevity is earned. It is important to remember that.
It will take us time, now, to reposition, replenish and then ultimately rebuild our team. Things will inevitably get harder from here. At some point during this transition, we may not have the kind of team you’ve been used to. But we will be fearless, focused, and relentless in seeking opportunities to improve our long-term position.
Presti drew on the revitalization of the city itself over the past 30 years or so, and ended by writing that, “The people of Oklahoma City should be able to one day watch the rise of another great team.”
It’s going to take some time, but at least Presti has the most impressive haul of draft picks in NBA trade history to start with.
That’s not a bad spot to be in.