Video: Sam Presti Should Split Executive of the Year with Pat Riley

Erik Gee

If Sam Presti is named the NBA's Executive of the Year, he should share the award with Pat Riley as a gesture of goodwill. Riley balked twice when the Thunder offered the Heat season altering trades. 

 Chris Paul was available over the Summer, and Riley didn't want to part with Tyler Herro or Bam Adebayo. At the trade deadline, Danilo Gallinari was on the table, but Gallinari's expiring contract was too much of a concern. 

Thank you, Pat. While we may not get to see how much that Gallinari non-trade pays off the postseason, Riley's miss on Paul has been paying dividends for months.  

To be fair, the Heat is one win better than the Thunder at 41-24, but Oklahoma City was only supposed to win 31 games. The Thunder's unexpected success will have Presti on just about every voter's ballot.  

A recent Pro Basketball Talk poll ranks Presti as one of the top three executives for Krut Helin, Dan Feldman, and Keith Smith. Smith points out that the growth Shai Gilgous-Alexander is making, along with Darius Bazley and Lou Dort, "looking like keepers" is what's setting Presti apart from other General managers this season.  

I've always been one to defend Presti, but in a way, Riley saved him from himself this season. There is no question, the Thunder wanted to unload Paul's massive contract and get something for Gallinari before he could leave in free agency, but the Heat prevented both of those things from happening, and thank God they did.