One of the unexpected joys of living in Southern California is that I’m constantly surrounded by people involved in sports. Everybody is located here, from coaches, athletes, players, trainers, to, well, you name it. For a sports nerd like me, living here is total nirvana; like giving a young musician an all-access pass to Coachella or something. You know, if the all-access pass was 24 hours a day, for 365 days a year.
Well, since I’ve gotten here, there has been this one guy that I’ve particularly enjoy hanging out with. I can’t give you his name, because unlike me he has a real job, with real responsibility and could get in real trouble if I ever put his name out in public (in the industry, I believe he’s what someone might call a “source.”). What I can tell you though is that the dude works at a major sports agency, with many major clients that you’ve definitely heard of. And the guy is plugged-in. He’s already told me a handful of epic stories that seemed to be too crazy to be true… until they were in fact proven true shortly after he shared them.
Anyway, he and I were grabbing beers and talking hoops one night when the topic of the Oklahoma City Thunder came up. Eventually Oklahoma City GM Sam Presti’s name arose and when it did, I will never forget the look on my buddy’s face. He stopped what he was doing, looked me square in the eye, got super-serious and said something to the effect:
“Dude, Sam Presti is a f***ing genius.
He’s got stuff planned out so far down the road you can’t even imagine.”
Those are some damn strong words, and I couldn’t help but think of them Saturday night after Presti made the boldest move of his career Saturday night, trading one of the league’s rising young stars in James Harden. More important than the player was the timing though, as it came just days before the Thunder were set to defend their Western Conference title.