OKLAHOMA CITY — On a wall of Sam Presti’s bureau that overlooks a Oklahoma City Thunder’s use court, there’s a list that says all about where a 37-year-old ubiquitous manager has taken this authorization and where he wants it to go.
Teams are ranked in sequence of uninterrupted playoff appearances, with a San Antonio Spurs adult tip with a conspicuous 17 and a rest of a NBA entrance in a apart second. Presti, whose infirm years as a rising front bureau star were spent with a Spurs, takes honour that his group has been to a postseason 5 uninterrupted times and appears headed down that same road.
As Presti will tell anyone who listens, and as we saw again final deteriorate when a Spurs won it all for a fifth time in that storied stretch, this is a pivotal to building an chosen organization. Consistency. Stability. Contending year in and year out and always preserving a long-term plan. Pounding a rock, as Spurs manager Gregg Popovich so famously likes to say. And now, with Kevin Durant’s much-talked-about giveaway group dual summers divided and a vigour to finally win a pretension building within these walls, Presti and a Thunder are some-more prepared than ever for that stone to break.
“I’m unequivocally unapproachable that a (players) who are a pillars of a organization, they proceed things day by day each day, and we trust that’s what gives this classification a possibility to do something impossibly singular in terms of carrying an event of contending (for) championships, (playing) contending basketball for a really prolonged time,” says Presti, whose group has won 69% of a regular-season games given 2010 while losing in a Finals once and Western Conference finals twice. “With that said, we can’t get dreaming by that. We have good opportunities right in front of us this deteriorate that we wish to maximize, that we wish to know and capture. We have to respect a season, even with a fad for what a destiny binds for us.”
That ethereal change between a benefaction and a destiny was front and core when Presti done a much-talked-about preference to trade James Harden to a Houston Rockets in Oct 2012. Yet while a Thunder have been roundly criticized for not giving Harden a maximum-salary agreement he was perfectionist and forgoing their best possibility for a championship during a time, a existence is that a pierce extended their championship window and put them in primary position to turn a modern-day Spurs when it comes to contending.
It was a distributed risk, yet one that was innate out of a fulfilment that a league’s repeater taxation would have crippled a Thunder’s efforts usually as players such as Durant and indicate ensure Russell Westbrook (free group in 2017) were considering their futures. The tax, that became partial of a league’s common negotiate agreement in late 2011 after a owners pushed to turn a financial personification margin during a lockout, army teams with payrolls that transcend a oppulance taxation threshold in 4 out of 5 seasons to compensate large fines for such practices. For example, a taxation of $1.50 for each dollar spent that relates to teams with payrolls that are reduction than $4.9 million over a taxation threshold ($76.8 million for this season) jumps to $2.50 per dollar for supposed “repeater” teams.
The irony in this clearly everlasting discuss about a small-market Thunder is that their argumentative devise has given turn a normal rather than a exception. Even a clever Los Angeles Lakers, with their towering Time Warner radio understanding that is potentially value $5 billion over 25 years and dwarfs a Thunder’s understanding that pays them roughly $15 million annually, are formulation with a repeater taxation in mind.
“It’s a appearing black cloud that was combined for a reason,” Lakers ubiquitous manager Mitch Kupchak pronounced final season.
The Brooklyn Nets have prolonged given turn a league’s instance for taxation defiance, with their latest payroll roughly $102 million and a indirect taxation check costing owners Mikhail Prokhorov $90 million more. Not usually have their unreasonable ways not paid off as they fell in a initial and second rounds of a past dual postseasons, yet according to a new news in Grantland, they also mislaid some-more income than any other group in a joining final deteriorate ($144 million).
The standing quo competence not be sexy, in other words, yet it certain can be successful. The Thunder’s core of Durant (26), Westbrook (26 in November) and brazen Serge Ibaka (25) is in a common primary (though Durant will skip a start of a deteriorate with a damaged foot). And with indicate ensure Reggie Jackson (24) apropos a vital factor, with other immature players building around them and a offseason further of shooter Anthony Morrow around giveaway agency, they have each reason to consider this could finally be a year. As Presti says: “I know that there’s a disposition for movement in today’s society, yet we’re calm with pushing a trail to what we feel is postulated excellence.”
Yet from this deteriorate forth, it will be fascinating to see how things reveal for a Thunder. Because they stayed out of a taxation for a initial 3 seasons underneath a CBA and since usually 3 seasons sojourn before new CBA negotiations are approaching to unfold, a hazard of apropos a repeater group is unofficially gone. (Players and owners have a ability to opt out of a stream understanding after a 2016-17 deteriorate and are approaching to do so.) There’s also a NBA’s new TV deal, that should yield a vital boost in income top space that could start holding outcome subsequent season.
Not surprisingly, there are clever signs that Oklahoma City, that is about $1.8 million next this season’s taxation threshold with a stream payroll, is peaceful to excavate into those taxpaying waters now that they’re not so deep.
As Presti himself hinted, no one should design movement for a consequence of action. But it appears a taxation is no longer a invisible roof for their operation. What’s more, a sputter outcome of a Harden understanding contingency continue to be analyzed as a players they substituted him for continue to improve.
Rugged core Steven Adams (taken 12th altogether in a Jun 2013 breeze with a Rockets’ pick) showed critical intensity as a rookie and is approaching to make an even bigger impact this deteriorate as obligatory Kendrick Perkins enters a final year of his contract. Third-year sharpened ensure Jeremy Lamb took a vital step brazen in 2013-14 and will be a bigger partial of a module now that maestro sharpened ensure Thabo Sefolosha sealed with a Atlanta Hawks in giveaway agency.
The Thunder fates of rookie brazen Mitch McGary (No. 21 collect out of Michigan in June’s breeze around a Rockets’ pick, on a stream roster) and Spanish ensure Alex Abrines (32nd collect in 2013 around a Rockets’ pick, still personification for FC Barcelona) sojourn to be seen. Yet usually like all a rest, they’re partial of this devise that Presti and his group are anticipating pays off.
“One of a strengths as a group and an classification is a amassed knowledge of a core players, and a fact that we feel like if we do things rightly this deteriorate we’ll have another chance,” Presti says. “We live within that window of meaningful that we’re a really successful team, a really successful organization, yet we wish to keep removing better.”