This is the thanks Sam Presti gets.
Oklahoma City’s general manager fired Scott Brooks, traded for Enes Kanter, shipped out Serge Ibaka and landed Victor Oladipo — all to put the pieces around Kevin Durant so OKC’s superstar could bring his city a championship.
Only, Durant didn’t see it that way.
Durant figures his easiest way to a title is to sign with Golden State, a $54-million, two-year deal.
Sorry not sorry, Sam.
Wonder how Ibaka feels today as he surveys the landscape in Orlando?
Presti wouldn’t have traded Ibaka to the Magic without Durant’s approval. Now Durant has jumped ship, leaving Presti at the wheel of a vessel that’s listing and may be taking on water — and Ibaka can’t help.
Wonder what Russell Westbrook thinks now that OKC is his team?
Or is it? With just one year left on Westbrook’s contract, maybe now Presti goes big-league himself and trades OKC’s other superstar in hopes of recouping another difference-maker with a more long-term outlook? Westbrook’s otherworldly ability could attract the type of player that could be the foundation for another decade or so of Thunder winning.
We saw what Westbrook could do with no Durant last year, although the team didn’t make the playoffs. Does Presti make resigning him the new priority to send the Thunder onward, or does Presti send him packing and start over?
Wonder what Scott Brooks thinks?
Presti wouldn’t have fired Brooks without Durant’s blessing, and now Brooks is having to reinvent his career in Washington while “The Chosen One” has chosen to play with another team.
Wonder what Kanter and Steven Adams think?
The ‘Stache Brothers were the unseen steel beams in Oklahoma City, two disparately talented big men anchoring a franchise while Westbrook and Durant got all the glory. Now, without the supremely gifted Durant launching from distance and dissecting the court, how impactful are Kanter and Adams?
(Actually, this might be great for Kanter, who averaged 22 points and 14 rebounds per 36 minutes in his first full season in OKC. Without Durant, maybe Kanter can become a focus of the offense.)
It’s almost laughable that Durant is leaving because he thinks he’ll be better positioned to win a championship in Oakland than he was in Oklahoma City. Presti has pushed all the right buttons to make Durant an NBA champion.
But it didn’t happen.
As much as the city and the entire state loved Kevin Durant, and as much as the community meant to him, Oklahoma City’s lack of championships is on Durant a lot more than it’s on James Harden or Kendrick Perkins or Reggie Jackson or Scott Brooks or Serge Ibaka or anyone else.
KD was their leader. KD was their superstar. And KD, as transcendent a talent as he is, delivered zero titles.
And now Sam Presti and Oklahoma City can start over.