You can say this summer was one to remember for the Oklahoma City Thunder, as they suffered major roster changes with the departure of their two best players, Russell Westbrook and Paul George.
Both players were traded at some point this month, with PG heading to Los Angeles to team up with Kawhi Leonard in the Clippers, while Russ was traded to the Houston Rockets soon after that.
These moves left people wondering why and when the Thunder decided to part ways with their two maximum figures. It was reported that OKC had actually thought about trading Westbrook even before the George trade took place, with PG-13 assuring his trade request wasn’t surprising for the team.
Well, that’s not entirely true for the franchise. GM Sam Presti openly stated that moving George was not necessarily a mutual agreement. Moreover, one unnamed executive told Keith Smith of RealGM that a move was not considered when they planned the summer.
“When we sat down and mapped out our summer plans, none of them included trading Paul (George) and certainly none of them included trading Russell (Westbrook). But that’s how this league works. Sometimes your hand is forced. When that happens, you do the best you can and I think we did even better than that. We’ve got more to work with moving forward than any team in the history of the league. Now we have to make something of all of that.”
Although they lost two great players in George and Westbrook, the Thunder still managed to have a great offseason. They received a bunch of draft picks, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, who is a star in the making, and a good veteran in Danilo Gallinari in exchange for PG. In exchange for Brodie, they also got draft selections and Chris Paul.
OKC have now a very interesting young core mixed with good veterans that even though won’t put them in the race to win the title, will make the Thunder a very entertaining team to watch next season.