|Presti hired as new Sonics GM|
|Written by Admin|
|Thursday, 07 June 2007 10:04|
The 30-year-old San Antonio assistant general manager replaces Rick Sund, who was demoted to consultant after Seattle's 31-51 season. Presti also will prepare the upcoming NBA draft on June 28, when the Sonics have the No. 2 pick.
Presti ``represents a new generation of NBA executives,'' said Sonics chairman Clay Bennett. ``He brings solid NBA management and basketball experience as well as a new, fresh, energetic approach. I am confident we are hiring the right person at the right time for this organization.''
Bennett said he will restructure the basketball operations so Presti reports directly to him. Lenny Wilkens will remain vice chairman and a senior adviser to Bennett.
``I am thrilled with the opportunity to join the Sonics organization,'' Presti said in a release. ``I am sold on the ownership and am convinced they are committed to building a successful team and organization.''
Sund was reassigned on April 24 after six seasons as Seattle's GM. Sund has one year left on his contract and is working as a consultant for the team.
Those believed to be on Seattle's short list to replace Hill include San Antonio assistant P.J. Carlesimo, former Minnesota coach Dwane Casey and former Indiana coach Rick Carlisle.
Presti and Carlesimo have worked together for the past five seasons in San Antonio. Casey was an assistant in Seattle from 1994-2005. Carlisle was a commentator on Sonics' broadcasts in 2000.
Presti must deal with the pending free agency of Rashard Lewis, who is coming off a career-best season and is expected to command a contract in the range of $15 million per season.
Lewis opted out of the final two years of his current contract - giving up a guaranteed $21 million - and will become an unrestricted free agent on July 1. Lewis is expected to be one of the most sought after free agents.
In the draft, Seattle will likely take either Kevin Durant or Greg Oden, depending on who Portland picks with the No. 1 selection.
Seattle also owns the 31st and 35th picks in the second round.
``I am confident Sam Presti and the Sonics will prove to be a great match,'' Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said in the Sonics' release. ``He has been a key component of the success of the Spurs organization and, although we hate to lose him, we knew it was a matter of time before a team came calling.''
Presti quickly rose through the Spurs' organization.
He graduated from Emerson College in Boston and was a Rhodes scholar nominee, before joining the Spurs as an intern in 2000. He was given a full-time job as special assistant in 2001.
In 2002, he became San Antonio's assistant director of scouting and was moved to director of player personnel in 2003. His final promotion with the Spurs came in 2005, when he was selected vice president and assistant general manager.