The Oklahoma City Thunder have put together one of the most talented teams in NBA history in 2012. They had an MVP player in Kevin Durant, an All-Star and the most athletic point guard in NBA history in Russell Westbrook, and a 6th Man of the Year who later became an MVP in James Harden. Not to mention, the Thunder had defensive star Serge Ibaka and they made it to the NBA Finals in 2012. But unfortunately for them, they lost all 4 of these star players and were forced to enter a complete rebuild last year.
Now, the Oklahoma City Thunder have a whopping 17 first-round picks to use for their rebuilding plan. While it will be very rare for them to get talents in the form of Durant, Westbrook, and Harden; they can take a much different route and lure the best player in the world LeBron James and his prodigy son Bronny James Jr. Here is how they can do it.
The Thunder Finally Build A Team That Wins The NBA Title
The Thunder blew a chance to win multiple NBA titles when they traded James Harden to the Rockets. They had to make a move to avoid the luxury tax when they re-signed Serge Ibaka, and they felt Harden was in the way of Westbrook’s growth as a ball-handler. Instead of keeping Harden anyway and making it work, they traded him. Kevin Durant later left in Free Agency to form the best superteam in modern history in Golden State, leaving Westbrook high and dry. The Thunder made a genius move to acquire star forward Paul George to pair with Westbrook, but that did not work either and they had to trade both Westbrook and George for a complete rebuild.
The Thunder, by trading away all their stars over the past few years, have amassed an incredible 17 first-round picks through 2026. The way they have collected these picks is extraordinary. They traded Jerami Grant, a defensive forward, to the Denver Nuggets and also Dennis Schroder which both became picks in 2020. They also acquired Miami’s pick in the Paul George trade and a pick swap via the Westbrook trade for 2021. In 2022, they have 2 more picks thanks to the Paul George and Chris Paul trades. The Paul George trade also helped OKC acquire picks in 2023, 2024, and 2026. The Westbrook trade also yielded 2024, 2025, and 2026 picks. The Thunder also have their own picks in 2021, 2022, 2023, 2024 2025, and 2026.
Bronny James is set to enter the NBA draft in 2024 and seeing how the Thunder are in the full-tank mode, they have a great chance to draft him as their next franchise star. If that happens, you can rest assured that LeBron James will want to play with him. LeBron is a 4-time NBA champion with 3 franchises, so he might want to win a ring with his 4th franchise. LeBron James is still the best player in the world in 2021, and he looks to be in great shape to manage another 2-3 years in the league at least. If the Thunder draft Bronny using their stash of picks, they can convince LeBron James to sign in Free Agency and finally build a team that will win an NBA title.
Like Father, Like Son
LeBron James is a one-of-a-kind athlete. He has dominated the NBA for 17 straight years, and his accolades are extraordinary. LeBron has 4 NBA titles, 4 Finals MVPs, and 4 MVPs. James has made 16 All-Star Teams, 16 All-NBA Teams, 3 All-Star Game MVPs, and won the 2008 scoring title. In a nutshell, there will never be another LeBron James. Standing at 6’9” and weighing 250 lbs, James was an athletic phenomenon and no player other than Kareem Abdul-Jabbar played for this long at an elite level. If Bronny James is half as good as LeBron James, the Thunder have a chance to win a title in 2024 and 2025.
Bronny James is a 6’2” guard in Sierra Canyon High School, but he will likely hit another growth spurt by the time he is eligible for the NBA Draft. Bronny James has already impressed as a sophomore, although recent ESPN rankings have placed Bronny as a 4-star recruit and the No. 24 ranked player. Of course, it is still early to tell and Bronny can take another massive leap in his game which is expected. But LeBron’s genetics run in the family, and there isn’t a better leader and basketball genius than LeBron James right now. With LeBron right behind his son, Bronny has the potential of a top-10 recruit. For a franchise with the number of picks that the Thunder have, they can sacrifice one of their picks to draft Bronny with the hopes of landing LeBron James as well.
LeBron James has made it clear his goal is to keep playing in the league until his son enters the league, and that would be a story that would shatter all sports news if that happened. The Thunder can draft Bronny, another top prospect in the draft, and still have enough picks in the 2024-2026 Draft to convince the Lakers to part with a 39-year old LeBron James.
Even if 2024 is his final season, seeing LeBron James in a Thunder uniform would not only catapult them in the Western Conference standings but also convince Bronny to train under his father and remain with the Thunder. The Thunder already have a young stud in Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. who is averaging 21.9 PPG this season at only 22 years of age. Gilgeous-Alexander will likely be one of the top point guards in the NBA by 2024, making him a star talent to welcome in Bronny and LeBron. Bronny will start at SF, and LeBron can either start at PF or play 20-25 MPG to show Bronny the ropes on how to be a dominant forward in the league. With a legitimate Big Three, OKC might have enough to overcome the 2012 Finals demons and win the NBA title.