Sam Presti Talks about OKC Trades - Full Press Conference

Thursday, May 26th 2011, 12:14 pm
By: News On 6

Originally Published: Feb 25, 2011 4:10 PM CDT

Corey DeMoss
Oklahoma Sports Staff Writer

OKLAHOMA CITY – Oklahoma City Thunder general manager Sam Presti held a press conference Friday to officially address his team’s big trades.

The Thunder completed two separate deals in the waning minutes before the NBA trade deadline Thursday. The first trade sent Jeff Green and Nenad Krstic to the Boston Celtics for Kendrick Perkins and Nate Robinson, and the second trade sent D.J. White and Morris Peterson to the Charlotte Bobcats for Nazr Mohammed.

Players and fans showed mixed emotions at the loss of Jeff Green. Since moving to Oklahoma City from Seattle, the Thunder became known for its youth and team chemistry. Green was an integral part of that chemistry and had become good friends with stars Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook.

“When you have a team that’s together for as much time as these guys are, there’s going to be relationships there,” Presti said. “It’s a difficult thing; but by the same token, we’re all professionals and we understand that it’s a business and you have to move on after you get past that initial stage of surprise.”

Green was so well liked by the organization that Presti choked up when discussing the Thunder without him.

“I have unbelievable respect for [Green] as a player and a person,” Presti said. “He’s a selfless person and he’s incredibly talented. We’re thankful for what he’s contributed to this organization. By the same token, I have to make really tough decisions in this job and that’s part of my responsibly that I carry every day for this organization.”

Presti acknowledged that the biggest piece of the Thunder’s two trades is center Kendrick Perkins. Presti said he has been pleased with Oklahoma City’s progress, but that he also was aware the team still had weaknesses. One of those weaknesses was size up front.

Presti said he thinks Perkins will fit in well with his new teammates, and at only 26 years old Perkins still has plenty of basketball in front of him. Perkins is in the final year of his contract, and Presti made it clear he is interested in resigning the center to a more long-term deal.

“I think the opportunity to add him to our group, especially given his makeup and the things he’s about, the chance to get him in our uniform is pretty unique given his age,” Presti said. “But in terms of us looking forward, we’ll have to have those conversations at the appropriate time. But clearly he’s someone we look at as a person and a player that can grow with our group.”

Presti particularly praised Perkins’ work ethic and experience. Perkins won the 2008 NBA Championship with the Celtics, but has been plagued by injuries of late. He nursed an injured ACL at the beginning of the season and is currently sidelined with an MCL sprain.

“We know some people that are around the Boston team,” Presti said,” and one of the things they talk about in regards to Kendrick is during his rehab process, he was there at 6:30 in the morning every morning on his own just doing his work. He’s just got a real disciplined approach to his job; I value that.”

Perkins, Robinson and Mohammed are expected to undergo their physicals later Friday. That process is usually a formality, but it has become more significant for the Thunder after an agreed upon trade two years ago for Tyson Chandler fell apart because he failed his physical. Presti said he does not expect any such problems this time.