Sam Presti Named Sonics General Manager

June 7, 2007

SEATTLE - One of the NBA’s most respected and fastest rising executives, Sam Presti, today was named the new general manager of the Seattle Supersonics. The announcement was made by Sonics’ Chairman Clay Bennett at a Seattle news conference. Presti comes from the San Antonio Spurs where he served as Vice President/assistant general manager. Presti will join the organization immediately.

“I am extremely pleased to welcome Sam Presti to the Sonics as our new general manager,” Bennett said. “He represents a new generation of NBA executives. 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.”

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Presti, 30, joined the Spurs in 2000 and rose quickly through the executive ranks. After one season, he was named the team’s basketball special assistant. In September of 2002, he was promoted to assistant director of scouting. Presti was named the Spurs director of player personnel in September of 2003 and became the Spurs assistant general manager in September of 2005. During his time with the Spurs, they made the playoffs every season and won two NBA Championships.

Presti led the design and implementation of the Spurs scouting database, a system that is now being used by numerous teams throughout the NBA.

He earned his bachelor’s degree in 2000 in communications, politics and law from Emerson College in Boston, becoming the first Rhodes Scholar nominee in the history of the school. Presti was also a basketball letterman, serving as team captain his junior and senior seasons. He earned All-Academic honors two times and was twice selected to the Great Northeast Athletic Conference All-Tournament team. Sam was honored with the Emerson College Young Alumnus Award in 2005.

A native of Concord, Massachusetts, he is an accomplished drummer and has produced three music CDs with all proceeds benefiting the Extra Ordinary Needs Fund at Children’s Hospital in Boston.

“I am thrilled with the opportunity to join the Sonics organization,” Presti said. “I am sold on the ownership and am convinced they are committed to building a successful team and organization.  I look forward to developing a culture and defining an identity for the future of Sonics basketball. We want to initiate a process and institute a plan that will result in sustained success for the team and our fans. We need to define this franchise as one built on professionalism, teamwork and integrity. We are well on our way to adding the key component, a new coach who can provide the dynamic and inspiring leadership to bring it all together on the court.”

In announcing the hiring of Presti, Bennett said he will restructure the Sonics basketball operations so that the GM reports directly to him.  In doing so, Bennett said Lenny Wilkens returns to his role as Vice Chairman of the Professional Basketball Club, LLC. Wilkens will continue to serve as a senior advisor to Bennett, and will serve as an important advisor to Presti in draft preparation and search for a new head coach.

“I am not sure if there is anyone who cares more deeply about the future of the Sonics than those of us who had the pleasure and honor of playing and, in my case, coaching for this team,” said Wilkens. “I am thrilled with the decision to hire Sam Presti. He represents the future and will infuse the basketball operations and this organization with new energy.  I could not be happier and more excited about the future of the Sonics given all that has happened over the past couple of weeks.”

Presti comes highly recommended by his former bosses in San Antonio.

“I am confident Sam Presti and the Sonics will prove to be a great match. Sam is a bright, creative leader and he possesses a fine knowledge of both the game and personnel, “Spurs Head Coach Gregg Popovich said. “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.”

"For many years Sam Presti has been intricately involved in all of the major basketball decisions made by our franchise,” said Spurs General Manager R.C. Buford. “We will miss his knowledge, instinct and energy. I’m excited for the opportunities ahead for Sam with the Sonics. With the leadership provided by Clay and Sam, the Sonics will enjoy a successful future."