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Sam Presti Press Conference: Notes & Quotes

Sam Presti held his annual pre-training camp press conference today in Oklahoma City, and spoke about a number of issues surrounding the 2017-18 Thunder. From Russell Westbrook’s unsigned extension, to Kevin Durant’s infamous Twitter fiasco, the Thunder’s head honcho flashed his trademark vernacular en route to setting the stage for the season to come.

You can check out the full press conference below via NewsOK, or continue scrolling for a few of the more noteworthy quotes.


On Russell Westbrook’s extension:

“We’re going to let that play itself out. He has — and we have — until the 16th of October to be permitted to sign that. We’re going to have that offer on the table as long as it’s permitted to be there, and obviously we’re hopeful that takes place. Until the 16th passes, I’m not going to put a label or adjective anything like that on it.”

“Let’s get to the 16th — if we get to the 16th, we’ll get our answer and then we’ll move from there.”

Westbrook recently received a PRP injection and will miss the beginning of training camp:

“Westbrook had a PRP injection a few days ago, so he is going to miss the first few days of camp just to make sure that settles itself down. He had that in the right knee patella tendon… Unrelated to — just to save the questions — unrelated to any past injuries, but I think he really wanted to make sure he took care of that in advance so it wasn’t something that lingered through the year. Not anything serious, but we will work him back in, I think, as we get through camp and see how he’s doing. But he’ll play in some preseason games as well.”

On Paul George:

“It was a unique opportunity for us, and we’re really excited to see him in our uniform, with our players and walking the halls. He just plays the right way and we think he adds a dimension to the team that’s pretty rare.”

“I really like him. He’s a mature guy. He can talk about differing things. There’s something about him, to me, that is really sturdy and stable. He’s been in the league for a while now, and he’s seen a lot of things. I think he’s got a nice confidence about him, which I really like.”

“We feel really fortunate that we were able to acquire him, that he’s going to be in our uniform. I just think he does a lot of things really, really well. I’m excited for our fans to see how good he is, because he brings a lot to the table, and that’s good for Russell. The team is much better in terms of the complementary nature of Russell and Paul.”

On having two All-NBA level defenders on the perimeter:

“It’s kind of exciting to think about. Just in general, the size and the length of the different combinations that Billy can use — it’s really exciting. Dre and Paul… maybe the toughest thing about that is going to be the battle between the two of them about who gets to guard the best player. That’s what makes great defenders.”

On Alex Abrines, Patrick Patterson and their health:

“So Abrines — bone bruise. I think we caught it at the right time, you don’t want to be playing on that once you’ve done it. He’s progressing well — I think everyone here knows we’re going to pretty conservative with the way we transition players back onto the floor, especially with a shortened training camp, especially with less preseason games.”

“Patrick Patterson — progressing. Again, I don’t know, he’s going to get some preseason games in most likely, but we want to make sure he’s feeling really good about where he’s at physically. He’s new to us, so we want to try to understand his body and that relationship between medical staff and players is really, really important. We want to make sure that’s growing and flowering out.”

On the Westbrook/George on-court relationship:

“Just because Russell has played with another really good player, that doesn’t mean it’s going to be a similar process. I think you have to let that kind of take its shape, and take its form. I do think they complement each other incredibly well. I do think the mentalities they share are very aligned in terms of competition and killer instinct — there’s similarities there.”

On Enes Kanter’s international travel situation:

“It’s an interesting situation in that it’s basketball, but it’s real life. That’s the most important thing. We don’t really control governments, politics and things of that nature. I can tell you that the NBA has been great, and they understand how important it is that we have these things taken care of if they can be taken care of. I don’t want to speak to an end point because there’s a lot of time that happens between now and then, but we’re certainly hopeful it will be taken care of, but the league is hard at work trying to make that possible.”

“We’re going to work with Enes and work with the league to make sure we’ve done everything we can to make sure he can go with us.”

On Westbrook’s development as a player/person:

“I wish I could tell you that any of us had any idea that he would become the player that he has developed into. We by no means expected this. We certainly hoped that he’d turn out to be a really good player, but his commitment and work ethic — and I think his character — those things combine to make a unique personality and person that allows him to be different.”

“It’s great that he has these other things he’s invested in — his foundation, the fashion component to his world, it’s great. I’m happy for him, and obviously his family, a growing family.. We care about him a great deal. We love him. I’m happy for him, I think it’s good for the league, obviously. He stands for something in Oklahoma City that I can’t put into words.”

On KD’s tweet:

“I and no one from the Thunder really has anything negative to say about Kevin Durant. We’ve been very open about the fact that we have tremendous appreciation and respect for what he, his teammates, his coaches and everybody over his tenure here accomplished. I really don’t think there’s anything more to say.”