Thunder GM Sam Presti admits he ‘missed’ on Gordon Hayward trade: ‘That’s on me’

Hayward was traded to OKC in February, but he appeared sparingly in just 26 games with the team

Gordon Hayward isn’t happy with how his time with the Oklahoma City Thunder went, and general manager Sam Presti is right there with him.

Presti, speaking at his final news conference of the season on Tuesday after the team’s loss to the Dallas Mavericks in the second round of the playoffs, said he “missed” on the deal that brought Hayward in earlier this season.

“I missed on that. That’s on me,” Presti said, via ESPN. “But I'm learning, I'm trying to learn this team, I'm trying to learn the pace of the team a little bit. And trying to be a great observer of the team as it's going through its paces, knowing that it's really going to change on its own in and of itself."

That’s a pretty blunt admission from a general manager, but it’s hard to dispute it.

The Thunder acquired Hayward from the Charlotte Hornets in exchange for Tre Man, Vasilije Micic, Davis Bertans and a pair of future draft picks in February. Hayward, however, appeared in just 26 games for the Thunder, mostly off the bench. He averaged just 5.3 points and 2.5 rebounds per game in just more than 17 minutes per game with the team.

Gordon Hayward headshot
Gordon Hayward
SF - OKC - #33
2023 - 2024 season

He averaged just five minutes per game in their semifinals series against the Mavericks, and less than eight minutes per game in their first-round win over the New Orleans Pelicans. The Thunder, despite all of their success as a team, never really found a good place for Hayward.

After the season-ending loss, Hayward didn’t hold back. His time with the team, he said, was both “disappointing” and “frustrating.”

Gordon Hayward said his short time with the Thunder was “disappointing” and “frustrating” after the mid-season trade landed him in Oklahoma City.

"I feel as a player, I have a lot to offer," Hayward said, via ESPN. "Just wasn't really given much of an opportunity to do that. I thought I would be given that opportunity."

Hayward’s wife, Robyn, clearly wasn’t happy either.

Hayward is set to become a free agent later this summer. Based on how this past season went, he’s sure to be playing somewhere else next fall. Despite that issue, Presti still led the Thunder to the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference and out of the first round of the playoffs for the first time since 2016.

“I don’t think I read that one perfect, and I’m learning from that in terms of bringing somebody midseason and especially early on in the process for our team,” Presti said.