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James Harden trade made in Thunder's 'best interest', says Sam Presti

Sam Presti spoke out after the James Harden trade and talked about the team's 'best interests' in the long-term.


The Oklahoma City Thunder shocked the basketball world over the weekend with the trade that brought over Kevin Martin and future assets from the Houston Rockets in exchange for James Harden and others. For those who wanted a bit of explanation, general manager Sam Presti took the time to discuss the full ramifications of the trade and why he would rid the team of an icon and central figure.

"We started to focus on what was in the best interest of the program," Presti said. "And focus on capitalizing on an opportunity to help us both in the short term and also to continue to strengthen the future of the Thunder organization and building this program in a sustainable fashion."

Presti is focused on the long-term nature of the program, referencing the history of his tenure and his future all at the same time.

"The challenges of sustaining success are a lot more stringent that those of achieving success," Presti added. "We're not immune to that. What we will do, is continue to operate as a team on the core principles and values that we've established since 2008 and make our decisions based on those, with the franchise first in mind. We're confident in that process."

The team was able to not only add immediate offensive help like Kevin Martin, but they gained a new prospect in Jeremy Lamb from UConn, the No. 12 pick in the most recent draft, as well as three future draft picks. It's a haul that could include a lottery pick this year from the Toronto Raptors.

More than anything, Presti knows that he has a core that can weather the changes and stay competitive while also staying positive about the business side of the NBA.

"We have made changes in the past," Presti said. "I have a tremendous amount of confidence in our players and how they welcome new people, how they integrate people. That's a credit to guys like Durant, Westbrook and Collison, the people that have helped establish the standards as to which we work by on a day to day basis."