This past offseason, Sam Presti decided to allow the Orlando Magic to overpay Rashard Lewis. To do so, Seattle and Orlando agreed to a sign-and-trade deal that allowed them to gain an eight million dollar trade exception. Rather than holding onto that extra money, Presti did a masterful job of converting it into a handful of extra assets.
The first move, was to acquire veteran forward Kurt Thomas and the Phoenix Suns' first round draft choices in 2008 and 2010 for a conditional second round draft choice. Phoenix needed to clear Thomas from their payroll and Seattle was able to leverage their trade exception into multiple assets.
Then on Wednesday night, the Sonics traded Thomas to the Spurs for guard Brent Barry, center Francisco Elson, and a 2009 first round draft pick. Both Barry and Elson are in their last year of their contracts and will fall off the payroll this summer.
Presti said after making the trade with the Spurs, "looking at the first-round pick, in combination with our other future picks, we have great flexibility to add to our core or acquire another impact player in the future. At the same time, Kurt is a tremendous person and player, and I appreciate his contributions this season and wish him success."
Seattle has 13 draft picks over the next three years, including six in the first round - two each season. After next season, Luke Ridnour, Earl Watson, Nick Collison, Kevin Durant, Jeff Green, Damien Wilkins, and Johan Petro are the only SuperSonics currently under contract. Presti has plenty of flexiblity and some intriguing young players to be big time players within the next few years.