This past Saturday and Sunday, the Thunder team made themselves available for most of the day in order to answer questions from the press during a session dubbed "exit interviews." The players spoke individually on Saturday, while team GM Sam Presti spoke on Sunday. The Oklahoman's Darnell Mayberry has the complete rundown here:
Here are a few of the high points:
- The one thing on everyone's mind is the contract situation for James Harden, Serge Ibaka, and Eric Maynor. Both Harden and Maynor indicated that they might be willing to sacrifice a bit in the short term in order to keep the team's core together.
- Harden actually referred to the Thunder's situation as the building blocks for a dynasty, and that the things he has gained from being part of this team cannot be assigned a price tag.
- The team wants Scott Brooks back. Brooks' current contract runs out at the end of the month and he has already rejected one 3 year deal offered by the team.
- Harden owned up to his struggles and vowed to come back stronger next season.
- The team wants Ibaka to become a much bigger part of the offense.
- We will be seeing some zone defense next year.
- Kevin Durant wants to see as little change as possible, because he thinks that is the best recipe for the team to keep getting better.
- Nazr Mohammed wants to return, but at the same time recognizes that his understudy Cole Aldrich is ready for his time to step up.
- Presti stated that the Jeff Van Gundy and Phil Jackson rumors are rubbish. RUBBISH!
- Presti thinks the team saw its best basketball during the Spurs series, when both the offense and defense really came together. But now that level of performance is the new baseline.
- Presti thought that OKC's greatest identity this past season was how it could adapt to play virtually any type of basketball - smallball, fast, half-court, defensive, etc.
- Presti on Tibor Pleiss: "He did sign a contract in Spain for Caja Laboral, which is one of the top teams in Spain in the ACB. We think it’s great for him. I think he’s only going to improve as a player by playing there. We’re very encouraged by his development. But I think the decision for him was to continue to play in Europe and give himself an opportunity to improve so that when he comes to the NBA he’ll be ready to contribute. And we support that."