Sam Presti kicked off media day szn Thursday with a long and entertaining session in Oklahoma City. He touched on a number of issues — from Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and his thoughts on drummers vis a vis the development arc of basketball teams — but he had some other interesting points to make.
He said that this year’s Thunder are projected to be the second-youngest team in NBA history, behind only last year’s Thunder.
SGA has become the latest young star-level player to hit the rumor market after the Jazz traded Donovan Mitchell to the Cavaliers. Presti was asked his thoughts on that development and he answered, surprisingly, with a dissection of the media ecosystem in 2022.
“The only reason we’re talking about it is because another player on another team got traded,” he said. “The machine — the aggregation machine — is empty now. So we need a little more content. That’s the price of admission. It’s not a penalty. No one’s out to try to disrupt the Thunder or create problems for the Thunder. This is the business we work in. You shouldn’t be surprised by that because there needs to be content. It’s a business. We need attention. Attention drives advertisements. Advertisements drive salaries. And that’s how it works. We have to be able to perform regardless of that. So I just think I’m level-setting that to say that if Donovan Mitchell wasn’t traded already, you wouldn’t ask me that question. So therefore, I don’t think they’re related.”
While I sat there wondering whether I was now part of this machine, Presti went on. Notably, he segued from a discussion about Pearl Jam to throw hosannas at the feet of Seattle and its place as a basketball city. Seattle, of course, lost its beloved Supersonics to Oklahoma City.
Presti believes they’ll get a team back soon enough.
“Seattle is an incredible place, an incredible city,” he said. “They will have a basketball team again… All of us here, we’re hopeful that happens… When it happens it’s going to be great.”
So what does Presti know and when did he know it? Not exactly tamping down expectations of NBA expansion.
Anyway, in case you thought Presti was just out here saying stuff, he assured listeners that he wasn’t. He began an answer about the growth he’s undergone during his 16 years running the Thunder with an assurance that everything he says is a sincerely held belief. The Presti we see is the Presti everyone gets, and it is fantastic.
“This is not performance art,” he said. “I’m not on Twitter. And this isn’t Twitter. This is what I really think.”
(Photo of Sam Presti: Zach Beeker / NBAE via Getty Images)