Presti traded Paul George to the Clippers and Russell Westbrook to the Rockets in July. 

By Michael Shapiro
July 25, 2019

It's been a turbulent offseason for the Thunder and general manager Sam Presti. Oklahoma City granted Paul George's trade request in a deal with the Clippers on July 6, then traded Russell Westbrook to the Rockets on July 11. 

Presti addressed the offseason fireworks in an Op-Ed in The Oklahoman on Thursday. The Thunder's GM discussed the organization's future, noting "our goal is sustainable, long-term, collective excellence." 

But Presti didn't just assess the state of his team. He made note of the league's power structure, specifically the disadvantages faced by small-market teams. 

"Given the way the league’s system is designed, small market teams operate with significant disadvantages. There is no reason to pretend otherwise," Presti wrote. "This in no way means we cannot be extraordinarily successful — we, and several other small to mid-market teams are our own best examples of the ability to overcome these realities. It simply means we must be thinking differently, optimistically, finding our advantages by other means."

Presti also said he didn't really agree with George's use of the term "mutual" in trading him, adding it wasn't something the Thunder wanted to do. 

The Thunder built the core of its previous decade of rosters through the draft. They selected Kevin Durant, James Harden and Russell Westbrook with a top-five pick in 2007-09, selecting Serge Ibaka and Steven Adams in the first round of the 2008 and 2013 NBA drafts.

Oklahoma City reached one Finals with the Durant-Harden-Westbrook trio, losing to the Heat in 2012. Harden was traded to Houston on 2012, and Durant signed with the Warriors in July 2016. 

Presti was hired as the Sonics general manager in June 2007. The franchise relocated to Oklahoma City in 2008-09. 

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