Following last night’s NBA draft, Oklahoma City Thunder general manager Sam Presti and Vice President of Identification and Intelligence Will Dawkins met with the media.
While most of the questions centered around the Thunder’s new draft picks–Devon Hall from Virginia and Kevin Hervey from UT-Arlington–the interest around offseason Oklahoma City basketball still hinges on the futures of Paul George and Carmelo Anthony.
Anthony’s early termination option is this Saturday. The 17-year veteran will make the decision to opt in with the Thunder and receive $28 million in the final year of his contract or opt out. The belief around the league is that Anthony will opt in and remain with the Thunder.
“We’ve had several conversations with his representation,” Presti said. “That’s all pretty standard at this point but I can’t speak to what he will do in respect to his early termination option.”
In his exit interview, Anthony left no stone unturned when talking about the sacrifices and what he was willing to do and not do with the team.
“I’m not sacrificing no bench role,” Anthony said back on April 28th. “That’s out of the question.”
Presti was quick to come to the defense of Anthony following his comments during his own exit interview.
“I don’t want his comments at the end of the season to in any way be reshaped by anybody to insinuate that he wasn’t a total pro during the season. I don’t want that to be insinuated that he didn’t put two feet into fulfilling the role that was necessary for him to take on this team.”
In regards to George, Presti revealed that Thunder staffers and players were in Los Angeles during the draft to throw him a surprise birthday party.
George becomes a free agent on July 1st. The Los Angeles Lakers are and have always been a threat to land the All-Star wing. This is despite reports that Oklahoma City has made a great impression on George and have found themselves with a great chance of retaining him.
“We’re looking forward to the opportunity to sit down and have a more specific conversation with him,” Presti said. “We’ve been in touch with him. He’s been consistent like he is.”
The Thunder’s offseason will begin to ramp up this Saturday with Anthony’s decision. Shortly after will be free agency. Presti’s result of the gamble of bringing in George will be decided soon.