Would Sam Presti Have Interest in the Knicks?
Earlier this week, Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily new added Sam Presti's name to the list of potential candidates to replace general manager Chris Perry should the Knicks blow things up. Before you start panicking or dancing depending on which side of the "in Presti we trust" fence you sit on, it's worth taking a look as to how these two jobs stack up.
Let's start with how easy it will be to build a roster that can make a run through the playoffs in the next five seasons. According to Real GM, the Knicks have all their first-round picks through 2026 plus a conditional pick from the Mavericks acquired in the Kristaps Prozingis trade. New York also has most of its second-round picks during the same time frame but could lose at least one of those picks depending on if it's less desirable than the Magic's, Celtics, or Hornets picks.
As for the Thunder, Presti will have 15 first-round picks through 2026 that he can use in a multitude of ways. You're also loaded with current assets that could add to that bounty.
The winner here is cleary Oklahoma City provided some of those picks can turn into ready-made players, and ownership is still willing to go into the tax when a run can be made.
But Presti says this is all about the future. Next year Anthony Davis, Gordon Heyward, Andre Drummond, and Eric Gordon could all be free agents. The Knicks have a budding superstar in RJ Barett, they have the 29th highest payroll (which means cap room), and James Dolan is so sick of being abused by the New York media he'd be willing to pay the luxury tax just to shut people up. Presti has made it no secret the only way to get primetime veterans in Oklahoma City is to either draft or trade for them. Having the number one media market, the allure of becoming a legend (because you brought the Knicks back to 70's glory), and the ability to pair a dynamic duo via free agency as recruiting tools would be very alluring and less stressful than building through the draft.
Then there's the matter of how well Presti plays in New York. Winning will make him tolerable, but if the Knicks continue to struggle, "a period of discovery" won't be granted. Presti won't be able to meet with the media a few times a year and stay out of the spotlight. He'll be forced to answer for every move he makes with no grace. Presti can control the narrative in Oklahoma City, New York, not so much.
Presti will never run the Knicks, that's Dolan's team, and the fans and media can sway decisions. While Clay Bennett's name might be on the ownership papers, Presti is in charge of the Thunder, and for now, he can do with it what he sees fit.
Add it all up, New York will always be attractive if you want to cement your legacy, but Presti seems more content to do things his way, as long as that's the case there's no place like home.