Sam Presti | Executive Vice President and General Manager

Sam Presti is currently in his 17th season with the Thunder franchise. During Presti’s tenure, the Thunder has captured six Northwest Division Championships and reached the Conference Finals four times, including the team’s trip to the NBA Finals in 2012.  This past season, Oklahoma City secured its 12th postseason appearance in the last 15 seasons which represents the second most postseasons for any NBA team during this span. 

Presti was 29 years old when he was named General Manager on June 7, 2007, making him the second youngest person to ever hold the position in NBA history. The next season he was promoted to Executive Vice President and General Manager by Professional Basketball Club Chairman, Clayton I. Bennett.  Presti stands as the third-most tenured head of basketball operations in the NBA.   Presti and Bennett also represent the second-longest pairing for a Governor of an NBA team and head of basketball operations. 

Throughout the Thunder’s time in Oklahoma City, the organization has been known as one of the premier franchises in the NBA for player development. As a result, both Thunder teams and individuals have set historic marks for accomplishment at very young ages. This past season, the Thunder became the youngest team in NBA history to win 55 games and claim the No. 1 seed in either conference. The Thunder achieved a 17-win improvement in 2023-2024 and during the 2022-23 season, Presti oversaw a 16-win improvement, making the Thunder one of just four teams in NBA history to see that level of improvement in consecutive seasons.  The 2023-24 Thunder also set an NBA record by becoming the youngest team to win 50 games and clinch a playoff berth, records that were previously set by the Thunder in 2010.  Additionally, the Thunder is currently tied for the NBA lead with eight seasons of a 50-plus win equivalent over the past 15 seasons.

Since the NBA/ABA merger in 1976, the Thunder enjoyed the most successful first 15 seasons of any expansion or relocation team. The Thunder ranks first in wins per season, winning percentage, net rating, playoff series wins, Division titles, Conference Finals Appearances and tied for 1st in NBA Finals appearances, compared to the other 17 expansion or relocation teams. Additionally, the Thunder ranks first with four First Team All-NBA players (nine total First Team All-NBA selections) when compared across the same timeline to those other 17 teams.

Presti led the Thunder to the second-best record in the NBA for more than a decade (2009-2020), and the seventh best wining percentage in all of the four major North American professional sports, creating an unprecedented period of sustained success in one of the smallest markets in the NBA.  After acquiring six-time All-Star Paul George in a landmark trade from the Indiana Pacers in June of 2017, George then signed a multi-year deal with the Thunder in the summer of 2018. This occurred the year after Oklahoma City signed Westbrook to his third multi-year contract extension in September of 2017.  Following the 2018-19 season, Presti began repositioning and replenishing the franchise with a series of moves, acquiring Chris Paul, Gilgeous-Alexander, Danilo Gallinari, eight first round draft picks and four pick swaps in separate deals involving Paul George, Russell Westbrook and Jerami Grant. In the George deal alone, the Thunder acquired five first round picks, a record for first round picks to come back in a single trade. This new version of the Thunder again made the playoffs in 2019, earning the fifth seed in the Western Conference as Presti finished second in Executive of the Year voting. 

Before the start of the 2020-2021 season, in order to continue to reposition the franchise, Presti and the Thunder executed 11 trades with 15 different teams, marking the most activity for a team in a single offseason since the advent of the NBA Draft Lottery in 1985. Currently, Presti and the Thunder have amassed a total of 13 first-round and 20 second-round picks to accompany three first round pick swaps through the 2029 NBA Draft. 

Throughout his time leading the Thunder’s basketball operations efforts, Presti and his staff have enjoyed incredible success with respect to the NBA Draft, beginning with the 2007 selection of Kevin Durant with the second overall pick. Presti went on to draft Russell Westbrook and Serge Ibaka in 2008 with the fourth and 24th selections, before taking James Harden with the third overall pick in 2009. The selections of Durant, Westbrook and Harden marked the only time in NBA history where future MVPs were selected by the same GM in three consecutive drafts. 

More recently, Josh Giddey was named the NBA’s Rookie of the Month on four occasions during the 2021-22 season after being selected 6th overall in the 2021 NBA Draft.  Jalen Williams finished second in Rookie of the Year voting at the conclusion of the 2022-23 season after being selected 12th overall. Lastly, Chet Holmgren was twice named NBA Rookie of the month this past season after being selected No. 2 overall by the Thunder in the 2022 NBA Draft. 

During Presti’s tenure, the Thunder front office have either drafted or traded for 12 All-Stars (K. Durant, R. Westbrook, J. Harden, V. Oladipo, D. Sabonis, P. George, C. Anthony, C. Paul, A. Horford, Gilgeous-Alexander and G. Hayward). Since 2008, the Thunder leads the NBA with 16 First Team or Second Team All-NBA appearances. 

With Presti at the helm, the Thunder advanced to the postseason five straight years (2010-14) and at the conclusion 2012-13 season, Oklahoma City became just the second team in NBA history (Boston Celtics; 1955-60) to increase its winning percentage for five consecutive seasons while maintaining a winning percentage of .700 or better in two of those seasons. 

During the 2009-10 season, Oklahoma City experienced one of the largest turnarounds in NBA history. A year after winning 23 games, the Thunder concluded the 2009-10 season with a 50-32 record (.610) and captured the franchise’s first playoff berth in Oklahoma City. The 27-win improvement was tied for the eighth-largest improvement in NBA history. Presti was named NBA Executive of the Year by Sporting News at the conclusion of the season.

As player development has been a signature of the Thunder organization, so has leadership development. Since 2010, the Thunder have produced the most front office members to become general managers as Rich Cho, Will Dawkins, Rob Hennigan, Michael Winger and Troy Weaver were all hired from the Thunder into that respective role. 

During his tenure in OKC, Presti has hired three head coaches.  The Thunder is the only team in NBA history to have three consecutive coaches named Coach of the Year (Scott Brooks – 2011; Billy Donovan – 2020 and Mark Daigneault - 2024).

Prest has also devoted time serving on several NBA committees. At the request of former NBA Commissioner David Stern and then Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver, Presti was named to the league’s first-ever Competition Committee in May of 2012 (2012-2018). During his term, Presti was a part of the committee that enacted several rule changes, such as concussion protocol, a package of rules to increase game flow, player rest policies, anti-flopping rules, deliberate away-from-the-play fouls, modifications to playoff seeding, qualification and tie-breakers, and adjustments to the NBA Finals scheduling format. 

Additionally, Presti was asked to serve on the NBA’s Instant Replay Committee in 2009, which helped to lay the groundwork for rules changes that the Competition Committee would later make regarding instant replay expansion and the expanded use of the replay center. He has also been a part of the General Manager Sub-Committee which was designed to help identify opportunities to enhance the future of the NBA.

Prior to joining the Thunder, Presti held a variety of roles with the San Antonio Spurs. After starting in 2000 as a video intern for Gregg Popovich, Presti moved up through the front office ranks under the leadership of R.C. Buford before being elevated to the position of Vice President and Assistant General Manager. As a member of the Spurs, Presti was part of NBA Championship teams in 2003, 2005 and 2007, as well as five division titles.

Community involvement and giving back has been a pillar of the Thunder organization since moving to Oklahoma City in 2008.  Presti has led community involvement initiatives for both Thunder players and staff. Under his leadership, Thunder players have made more than 2,850 community appearances in and around Oklahoma City.  Presti understands how the Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum is part of the fabric of the community and has made it policy for every new player and staff member to tour the Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum soon after joining the organization. 

Philanthropy has been a lifelong passion and commitment of Presti and his family as well.  Presti was elected as a member of the Executive Committee at the Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum after previously serving on the Board of Trustees. While on the Board, Presti helped lead the Memorial’s Oklahoma Standard campaign, a movement built on the foundation of resilience, compassion, consistent acts of honor, service and kindness.

Presti has also created and launched several transformational initiatives. In July of 2020, Presti and his high school teammate, friend and CAA Sports executive Mike Johnson, launched the Thunder Fellows Program, a partnership between the Thunder and CAA Sports intended to unlock new opportunities in sports, technology and entertainment for Black students in the Tulsa area.  Located in the Historic Greenwood District of Tulsa, the curriculum offered through the Thunder Fellows Program, focuses on increasing the odds of high school and college completion through mentorship, skill development, and the provision of practical experience. Students are exposed to a variety of disciplines within Thunder basketball operations, where they work on real-world projects for the organization.

The Presti family became significant benefactors to the Children’s Hospital at OU Medicine in 2019, as their contributions provided renovations and upgrades to two procedure rooms at the Jimmy Everest Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders for Children and the Bone Marrow Transplant Unit at The Children’s Hospital. The Presti’s philanthropy also helped create the “Presti Clubhouse,” a nurturing and interactive space for children and their parents.

In recent years, Presti has led a fundraising initiative to establish a scholarship in honor of Professor Mike Brown at his alma mater, Emerson College. Professor Brown taught courses on government, civil rights and the First Amendment. The scholarship will support incoming students from historically underserved and underrepresented backgrounds with financial need.

Also, Presti established the Keenan Smith-Anthony Halls Scholarship Fund at his former high school, Concord-Carlisle.  The scholarship is named after two high school basketball teammates and close friends of Presti’s, Anthony Halls and Keenan Smith, who were participants in the METCO program at Presti’s high school.  The scholarship recognizes Concord-Carlisle High School METCO graduating seniors who: possess good academic and attendance records and who have demonstrated a strong athletic performance.

Presti has impacted the lives of over 500 students who have gone through his Forward Thinking Leadership Development Program. Created in 2011, in partnership with several local organizations, the program aims to help the next generation of youth in the surrounding community. Presti has also incorporated UPenn and their standard bearing resilience and optimism training for the students as part of his Forward Thinking program.

Through the years, Presti has been involved with PeacePlayers International (PPI), a global outreach program focused on bringing children and communities together through the game of basketball. In 2018, Presti brought PPI together with the Oklahoma City Police Athletic League and made a significant donation to help the two parties collaborate and develop programs to foster positive relations with youth and law enforcement.

Presti has been recognized for his contributions to Oklahoma City. In the spring of 2024, Presti received the Lee Allan Smith Legacy Award from the Oklahoma Hall of Fame. This award is presented annually to someone in the community who is impacting future generations through their civic engagement and volunteer efforts.

During September of 2021, Oklahoma City University announced the induction of Presti into the Oklahoma Commerce and Industry Hall of Honor which recognizes business and community leaders who have made significant contributions to the growth and development of Oklahoma.  

In 2016, Presti was awarded the Humanitarian Award from the Oklahoma Center for Community and Justice thanks to his work in the area of diversity and inclusion in the workplace. He was named 2016 Oklahoman of the Year by Oklahoma Magazine.  Presti was recognized as Oklahoma City University’s 2012-13 recipient of the Abe Lemons/Paul Hansen Award for Sports Excellence and he also won the Oklahoma March of Dimes Sports Headliner Special Award for 2013. 

Presti earned his bachelor’s degree in 2000 in communications, politics and law with a minor in psychology from Emerson College in Boston, where he was the first Rhodes Scholar nominee in school history. The Concord, Mass. native served as team captain of the Emerson College basketball team during both his junior and senior seasons. In addition, Presti earned All-Academic honors two times and was twice selected to the Great Northeast Athletic Conference All-Tournament team.

He was honored with the Emerson College Young Alumnus Award in 2005. Presti has also completed Harvard University’s Continuing Education program on leadership and decision-making.

A skilled drummer, Presti has produced three music CDs with all proceeds benefiting the Extra Ordinary Needs Fund at Children’s Hospital in Boston.


Rob Hennigan | Vice President of Basketball Operations

Rob Hennigan begins his fourth season as Vice President of Basketball Operations and his 11th season overall with the Thunder organization. He worked as the General Manager for the Orlando Magic for five seasons before returning to Oklahoma City in 2017 to serve as the Vice President of Insight & Foresight. He works closely with key functions within the organization, including player personnel, strategic planning, data science & solutions and information management and counsel.

Hennigan previously worked in the Thunder front office from 2008-12 as the team’s Assistant General Manager/Player Personnel. He helped lead a turnaround that saw Oklahoma City go from a 23-win team in 2008-09 season, to a spot in the NBA Finals in 2012. Prior to joining the Thunder, Hennigan spent four seasons with the San Antonio Spurs, where he began as an intern in 2004-05 season before rising in the ranks to be named Director of Basketball Operations in September of 2007. In his time in San Antonio, the team won NBA Championships in 2005 and 2007.

A native of Worcester, Mass., Hennigan graduated with a degree in broadcast journalism from Emerson College in 2004. He was named a Division III All-American and an Academic All-American as a senior. He remains Emerson’s all-time leading scorer.

Hennigan and his wife, Marissa, are the parents of two sons, Jameson and Jack.