Billy Donovan is returning as coach — Thunder GM Presti

Thursday, 03 May, 2018

Presti acknowledged that Wednesday while hitting on some key points going into another pivotal offseason.

Not helping matters was the sudden decline in Carmelo Anthony's game and for that reason, the team is reportedly expected to explore trade options for small forward Carmelo Anthony if he declines the early-termination option in his contract to remain with the team for the 2018-19 National Basketball Association season.

"I think everybody has their own decision to make, " Anthony said. "Continuity is his best friend going forward".

OKC was eliminated from the playoffs in the first round in six games by the Utah Jazz.

However, Carmelo recently told reporters that he has no interest in seeing a diminished role with the Thunder.

"The only way our team becomes a really expensive team is if Paul George chooses to stay with the Thunder", Presti said. "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".

Well, the Thunder appear to be ready to pay that amount if George returns. It would be a huge blow for Oklahoma City if he was to go as, despite the playoff disappointment, he has been their second-best player behind Westbrook this season.

The Thunder owe Melo $28 million for next season, but it's possible the two sides could reach a buyout (for, say, half of that amount) so the Thunder could move on and Melo could play in a situation that was more to his liking. "I think that's something that we have to figure out".

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"Today is the first time I've heard from anybody that I trust that George is gone", Russillo said.

Free agency begins in July, and the Thunder or any other National Basketball Association team can't hold talks with George about a contract until that time. The Thunder made the deal for George knowing it could potentially be a one-year rental, while also being a one-year free agency recruitment.

This shouldn't be a surprise, in part because Donovan and Presti have a long relationship, and in part because Donovan still has a couple of years left on his contract. "I respect that. I respect the fact he's being open about that". There's some things that we have to kind of step away from the game now. Those tenets were followed throughout the year and continued to be.

"I felt strongly about the relationship", Presti said. The reason why is because I just feel like he's such a tremendous fit for our organization, our community.

"We want players that are from Oklahoma to go on and have success other places", Presti said.

"I can sit here and tell you to this point the conversation we've had throughout the year, February, March, April, has been transparent, truthful, honest". This is a business.

Asked about getting more out of Russell Westbrook defensively, Presti called it "a fair question", but answered around how Westbrook might change at that end of the floor, focusing instead on team defense. Stunning inconsistency plagued the Thunder, along with an injury to starter Andre Roberson. "That's how our team gets extremely expensive". The 10-time All-Star was inconsistent and ended the season unhappy. We didn't do a good enough job with that.