4 min read

Tuesday Bolts: 4.30.19

Nick Gallo (okcthunder.com) recaps Sam Presti’s end-of-season press conference: “Management, led by Thunder Chairman Clay Bennett and General Manager Sam Presti, is able to take the long view. Digesting the season from above, as Presti explained in his end of season press conference on Monday, can often take some time. The emotion has to wash away. The human beings have to try to shed themselves of biases and as the offseason rolls along, Presti will check in with key stakeholders to get their opinion on potential alterations and fixes for the 2019-20 campaign. At this early hour, less than a week removed from the end of the season, Presti has as many questions as he does answers, as one would expect. However, he did have a clear vantage point on what he saw from the Thunder this past year. “If I had to define the year in a couple words, I would say capability and inconsistency,” said Presti.”

Royce Young (ESPN) on Presti’s belief that Billy Donovan will be back as head coach: “Thunder general manager Sam Presti said Monday “we anticipate Billy [Donovan] being back,” in reference to whether the team’s head coach will return next season. Presti said he has not officially met yet with Donovan but plans to do that in the coming days, leaving the door cracked for something to change. Asked to clarify if “anticipate” means Donovan will be the coach next season, Presti said that’s his expectation. “I wouldn’t expect anything to change,” he said. “I haven’t had the chance to sit down with him. I do think getting his perspective on things is important because there’s nobody that works harder than him. If anything, I think he needs to take some time to think through the season himself and have a really good conversation.”

Brett Dawson (Athletic) on why the Thunder would bring back Donovan: “Sam Presti waits. He always does it this way. The Thunder’s players and head coach will meet with the media at the end of a season to review what happened and look ahead to what comes next. And days later, Presti, the team’s general manager, will sit in the same spot and answer questions himself. The delay is on-brand for Presti. It’s in character. The only general manager the Thunder have ever known is measured and careful. Presti can’t properly evaluate if there’s emotion in the equation, and so he takes his time before he says his piece. It helps to understand that if you’re wondering why, when Presti met with reporters on Monday, he said he anticipates Billy Donovan’s return as the Thunder’s coach next season. If you watched the Thunder’s season deteriorate, you might wonder why Donovan gets a fifth season as the head coach.”

Maddie Lee (Oklahoman) with an update on Paul George’s offseason plan for his ailing shoulder: “The Thunder expected Paul George would need his right shoulder re-evaluated after the season. That’s what general manager Sam Presti said in his end of season media availability Monday. According to Presti, George has yet to undergo that offseason re-evaluation with a specialist. He will do so outside of Oklahoma City, but Thunder representatives will be present. The decision to let George continue to play came out of a collaboration between the team, its physicians, George and his agent. George missed a total of four games for right shoulder soreness this season. “Everybody felt comfortable with him playing,” Presti said Monday. “He was at no risk of any type of future injury.”

Tom Ziller (SB Nation) on if the Thunder can stay patient with George and Russell Westbrook: “If it seems like I’m waffling on the core question here — whether the Thunder can remain patient with PG and Westbrook — it’s because there’s not an easy answer. It seems likely that the Thunder will remain patient, but there are enough concerns that it’s not an open and shut case. Here’s the thing: it certainly wasn’t an open and shut case for the Blazers last year either. There were cogent arguments as to why Portland should flip McCollum for an athletic wing or rangy big man. The Blazers instead stayed the course, and it paid off. That’s no assurance that the Thunder staying the course will have similar results, or that the Blazers will now have sustainable playoff success. But it is an example of how patience can pay off even amid repeat postseason failure. Lillard and the Blazers just threw the Thunder into an uncertain despair while proving to them it’s possible to climb out of an uncertain despair without changing much. Will OKC heed the lesson? If so, will it work? The beautiful thing about sports is we won’t know until we see it happen.”

Grant Hughes (B/R) on one trade the Thunder needs to consider this offseason: “Oklahoma City Thunder Get: Bradley Beal, Ian Mahinmi / Washington Wizards Get: Steven Adams, Dennis Schroder, Terrance Ferguson, 2019 first-round pick, swap rights on 2020 first-round pick, 2021 first-round pick — The Washington Wizards should be desperate for assets, and like the Thunder with Westbrook, they can’t realistically expect to find a taker for John Wall’s albatross deal. Adams would be a significant upgrade at the 5 who’d also give the Wizards leverage against overpaying to match offer sheets on Bobby Portis and Thomas Bryant. Dennis Schroder would slot in as the starter until Wall returns from his Achilles injury, and he’d also lessen the Wizards’ urgency to match offers for Tomas Satoransky. In Terrance Ferguson, Washington would also get a young, athletic wing with upside. The two first-rounders would be the real prize, though, as the one in 2021 could be valuable if Westbrook’s decline accelerates.”