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Thunder: Sam Presti not committed to reopen practice facility May 8

The NBA has targeted May 8 as the first day teams might reopen their practice facilities, but Thunder general manager Sam Presti said he's not committed to that date. 

Presti, holding a video press conference Thursday, spoke publicly for the first time since the NBA season was suspended. 

"With respect to the May 8 date, what I can say is the league has stated that's a target date," Presti said. "And we're still a week or so away from that before we can even get there. And I think what we've all seen that live through this experience is that things are changing literally day by day. So we're evaluating that. I wouldn't say we're committed to doing that."

There will be new safety measures in place once team facilities reopen. The NBA announced that team practices and scrimmages will be prohibited and that no more than four players will be allowed at the facility at the same time. 

"We're going to continue to speak to our players about that whole entire concept of coming back," Presti said. "But the league has given some flexibility to the teams to determine what is best for them. And for us, we're operating under the assumption that the league wouldn't be permitting players and staff members back into facilities unless they felt it was absolutely safe. With that being said, we still have some time before we would even be able to take that option. And we're going to be thorough in how we look at it." 

Oklahoma City restaurants, churches and movie theaters — following social distancing guidelines — will be free to open Friday

As Oklahoma City begins to reopen faster than other NBA markets in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, Presti was asked if teams like the Thunder, which might be able to return to practice facilities quicker, have an advantage. 

"I don't know that there's any advantages in this situation," Presti said. "And I don't mean from a basketball standpoint, I just mean in general. And a big part of that is because the amount of uncertainty that everyone is working with. You could make the argument that coming back too soon is a disadvantage, you know what I mean? I think it all depends on how you're defining that." 

CNBC reported Thursday that some team executives and agents are pushing for the cancellation of the NBA season and that owners "are concerned with liability issues and are conflicted about whether or not to give up on the season." 

Presti made no such waves Thursday. Instead, several times he emphasized that teams need to take directions from the league. 

"One of the great traits of a leader, in my opinion, is knowing when and being willing to follow," Presti said. "As an organization, we're following ... We'll work with whatever circumstances we're handed and be a good partner." 

It's been 50 days since the season was suspended after Rudy Gobert tested positive for COVID-19 before the Thunder-Jazz game in Oklahoma City. 

The Thunder (40-24), like the rest of the league, is still in a holding pattern. 

"It's going to be extremely imperfect whenever we return to play," Presti said. "But none of that's within our control. Everybody is dealing with the same circumstances, and we've got to make our way with that." 

Related Photos
Oklahoma City Thunder general manager Sam Presti addresses the media during his start of the season press conference at the Thunder practice facility in Oklahoma City, Okla. on Thursday, Sept. 26, 2019. [Chris Landsberger/The Oklahoman]

Oklahoma City Thunder general manager Sam Presti addresses the media during his start of the season press conference at the Thunder practice facility in Oklahoma City, Okla. on Thursday, Sept. 26, 2019. [Chris Landsberger/The Oklahoman]

<figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-84e12b08e1d73926db9d4e4a92af331f.jpg" alt="Photo - Oklahoma City Thunder general manager Sam Presti addresses the media during his start of the season press conference at the Thunder practice facility in Oklahoma City, Okla. on Thursday, Sept. 26, 2019. [Chris Landsberger/The Oklahoman] " title="Oklahoma City Thunder general manager Sam Presti addresses the media during his start of the season press conference at the Thunder practice facility in Oklahoma City, Okla. on Thursday, Sept. 26, 2019. [Chris Landsberger/The Oklahoman] "><figcaption>Oklahoma City Thunder general manager Sam Presti addresses the media during his start of the season press conference at the Thunder practice facility in Oklahoma City, Okla. on Thursday, Sept. 26, 2019. [Chris Landsberger/The Oklahoman] </figcaption></figure>
Joe Mussatto

Joe Mussatto joined The Oklahoman in August 2018 to cover OU football, men’s basketball and softball. He previously covered University of Kentucky football and basketball for SEC Country. Mussatto is from Oklahoma City and lives in Norman. Read more ›

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