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Thunder GM Sam Presti praises Kevin Durant in wake of tweets

OKLAHOMA CITY -- In the wake of Kevin Durant's deleted tweets that slammed his former team and coach, Oklahoma City Thunder general manager Sam Presti responded on Friday by taking the high road and praising Durant's time with the franchise.

"I, and no one from the Thunder, has anything negative to say about Kevin Durant," Presti said. "I think we've been hopefully very open about the fact that we have tremendous appreciation and respect for what he and his teammates and coaches and everybody over his tenure here accomplished, and I really don't think there's anything more to say other than that."

Thunder GM Sam Presti, left, said of the contract extension offer to Russell Westbrook: "We're going to have that offer on the table as long as it's permitted to be there, and obviously we're hopeful that that takes place." Layne Murdoch/NBAE via Getty Images
Durant, responding to a fan who asked why he left the Thunder for the Golden State Warriors in July 2016, tweeted that he didn't like the organization or playing for coach Billy Donovan, and said the roster "wasn't that good."

Durant apologized for the tweets, calling them "idiotic" and "childish." He denied intending to post the third-person comments to a separate, anonymous account.

Durant told USA Today Sports on Tuesday that he reached out to apologize to Donovan. Presti said he hasn't heard from Durant and couldn't speak for anyone else in the organization.

"I'm not asking people that question," Presti said. "Maybe he has, but I can't tell you that he has."

The Durant firestorm took center stage at Presti's preseason availability, overshadowing what has been the main storyline lingering around the Thunder this offseason -- Russell Westbrook's unsigned extension. The reigning NBA MVP has a five-year, $207 million offer on the table from the Thunder. He has a deadline of Oct. 16 to sign the designated veteran player extension.

"We're going to let that play itself out, and as we've said, he has and we have until the 16th of October to be permitted to sign that. ... We're going to have that offer on the table as long as it's permitted to be there, and obviously we're hopeful that that takes place," Presti said. "But until the 16th passes, I'm not going to put a label or adjective or anything like that on it."

Westbrook has not yet given the Thunder an answer, but many expect clarity to come early in training camp, which begins next week. If Westbrook rejects the extension, which would award him the largest contract in NBA history, he would become an unrestricted free agent next summer, leaving some to wonder whether the Thunder would consider trading him.

"I think it would be easy for me to sit here and speculate and create a million narratives, but I don't think that's really productive," Presti said of the prospect of shopping Westbrook. "I think let's get to the 16th, and if we get to the 16th, we'll get our answer, and then we'll move from there."

Westbrook will sit the first few days of training camp after having platelet-rich plasma therapy Monday to treat tendinitis in his left knee, Presti said.

Westbrook had three surgeries on his right knee after tearing his meniscus in 2013. Westbrook will be back in time to play in some preseason games, Presti said.

"I think he really wanted to make sure he took care of that in advance so it wasn't something that lingered through the year," Presti said. "But [it's] not anything serious."

Author: Royce Young, ESPN
Source: http://www.espn.com/nba/story/_/id/20785551/oklahoma-city-thunder-gm-praises-former-team-member-kevin-durant

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