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Thunder GM admits fault trading for veteran who underperformed: ‘That’s on me’

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Oklahoma City Thunder GM Sam Presti is in the same boat as Gordon Hayward – the trade for the NBA veteran did not go as planned. 

Presti spoke at an end-of-season news conference on Tuesday following his team’s loss to the Dallas Mavericks in the second round of the NBA Playoffs, where he took the blame for the trade he made for Hayward. 

The trade was supposed to boost the roster, but Hayward wasn’t the right fit in the end. 

“I missed on that,” Presti said bluntly, via ESPN. “That’s on me. But I’m learning, I’m trying to learn this team, I’m trying to learn the pace of the team a little bit. And trying to be a great observer of the team as it’s going through its paces, knowing that it’s really going to change on its own in and of itself.”

Presti is better than most general managers throughout sports, who would rather die on the hill when the trade was made, but the player just didn’t perform to his usual abilities. 

Presti sparked a trade with the Charlotte Hornets for Hayward, the one-time All-Star who was in his 13th NBA season. He sent Tre Mann, Vasilije Micic, David Bertans and future draft picks in February to land the man averaging 14.5 points on 46.8% shooting from the field over 25 games with Charlotte. 


However, when Hayward got to the Thunder, the fit just wasn’t right. He played in 26 games, starting in only three, where he averaged 5.3 points, 2.5 rebounds and 1.6 assists over 17.2 minutes per game. 

And while the Thunder would’ve loved great depth in the playoffs, Hayward played just five minutes per game against the Mavericks, while seeing less than eight minutes per game against the New Orleans Pelicans in the first round. 

Hayward called his time with the team “disappointing” and “frustrating,” and the feeling is clearly mutual from Presti’s perspective. 

Gordon Hayward dribbles

“I feel as a player, I have a lot to offer,” Hayward said, via ESPN. “Just wasn’t really given much of an opportunity to do that. I thought I would be given that opportunity.”

Hayward’s wife was clearly ticked off as well, jumping into Bleacher Report’s comments on Instagram under a post with Presti’s “that’s on me” quote. 

“Why trade for someone and not play them?… missed it. By not integrating him,” Robyn Hayward posted, adding in a separate comment that Gordon allegedly told Presti the trade didn’t seem to make sense, though it was made anyway. 

Hayward will now be a free agent this summer, but it’s safe to say the Thunder will be looking elsewhere to bolster their roster after this failed marriage. 

Gordon Hayward looks on court

“I don’t think I read that one perfect,” Presti admitted, “and I’m learning from that in terms of bringing somebody midseason and especially early on in the process for our team.”

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