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Sam Presti talks Thunder, Paul George, Westbrook on the Woj Podcast

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If you didn’t know, Thunder GM Sam Presti was a guest on The Woj Podcast that dropped this morning

NCAA Basketball: West Virginia at Oklahoma Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Earlier today, Adrian Wojnarowski dropped an episode of his podcast, “The Woj Pod,” that featured Thunder GM Sam Presti. You can listen to it here:

The podcast took place live at Emerson College, Presti’s alma mater. Presti isn’t known for doing things such as being guest on podcasts, so this was a rare occurrence. Below are summaries of some of the most interesting talking points Presti made during the episode.

  1. After Paul George’s agent, Aaron Mintz, initially requested a trade over the phone, Presti’s first reaction was to meet with George and Mintz in person in Los Angeles, believing that a trade request are better done in person than on the phone. After it was made clear George wanted to play with Kawhi Leonard on the Clippers, Presti said he would do his best to make a trade happen, but no promises are made. His #1 priority was how this could benefit the Thunder and, if none of the trade packages the Clippers offered appeased Presti, then a deal won’t be made; George would have to move on and get ready to play with the Thunder for the 2019-20 season.
  2. Presti said he might’ve handled the trade request differently if he was younger, stating how his pride might’ve stopped him from respecting George’s trade request. Instead, he learned from the Kevin Durant experience and started to work on a trade. Presti says that there’s always a solution to every situation, and that was the mindset he had during this event.
  3. Presti reiterated that trading Russell Westbrook was a mutual decision and that it was time to move on, as the team was moving to a different direction.
  4. When the midseason tournament was brought up, Presti said he was a fan of it and that change is good. He said it’s important to honor traditions, but also equally important to adapt and change. Presti said he has been supporting the proposed regular season changes for 3-4 years now.
  5. Presti also said the GM role has changed over the years since he was first given the job in 2007. He cited how it’s much more than just player evaluations nowadays — the GM has more responsibilities. Presti also said he was overwhelmed when he was given the job in 2007 at 29 years of age, but had the right people around him to help guide him.
  6. Presti made it a priority to tell the story of how Wojnarowski went up to Presti after the Thunder lost Game 7 of the 2016 Western Conference Finals to the Golden State Warriors and told him he built a championship team; it’s just that there were multiple championship teams that season. It helped Presti a lot in a down moment in his professional life and served as a great example of humanity in this highly competitive business. It’s not just a results-only business, and that the human side of things can go underappreciated.