featured Latest sb nation radio

Thunder's entire history slowly releases its golden generation

Thunder's entire history slowly releases its golden generation

Eight years ago, the younger Thunder was ready to regulate the league. In this method, they slowly threw themselves aside.

Russell Westbrook is now trading, and crucial figure in Oklahoma Metropolis Thunder's history is formally closed. Westbrook was the last piece of a younger upstart group that took the NBA storm firstly of the decade. Along with Kevin Durant and James Harden, Westbrook and Oklahoma Metropolis appeared to be a part of NBA's next dynasty.

Seven years later, they have just one NBA finale that exhibits the MVP of the three leagues, and now for three of them in different groups, they should get to the rebuilding stage with out attaining the league's largest prize once extra.

Let's see how Thunder misplaced the core that when was the jealousy of the league. 19659005] June 20, 2012: 4-1 loss in NBA 2012

Regardless of his youth, Oklahoma City had purpose to be assured within the 2012 NBA last towards LeBron James and Miami Heat. They favored Vega, they usually additionally had a home benefit, and since they hadn't lost certainly one of their house games from the earlier three rounds.

After profitable Recreation 1, Thunder appeared to be ready for the problem. Nevertheless, issues went shortly south.

Dangerous coaching selections have been part of the story behind the collapse of the 4 games in Oklahoma Metropolis. When Chris Bosh played within the middle, Miami was capable of place the floor and add an additional dimension to his dangerous crime. At the similar time, Thunder's head coach Scott Brooks grabbed his weapons and continued to start out the normal middle of Kendrick Perkins. This led Miami to an easy-to-use basket once they took advantage of the area created by Bosh.

Heat gained the game on 2 roads, because of James and 24 Wade. Despite Westbrook's beautiful performances in Recreation 4 (43 points) and Durant in Recreation 5 (32 factors), Miami gained the following three to take the title.

Finish of the 2012 NBA Finals. It was purported to be a learning experience for Thunder on the best way to dominance for decades. That's not exactly the case. pic.twitter.com/WtKIn6WnX8 [19659002] – Jake Marotz (@jakemarotz) July 12, 2019

The loss of four straight video games in the finals dropped Thunder they usually took the defeat arduous. Nevertheless, three younger superstars and an excellent help leg seemed to have


October in front of better occasions. 27, 2012: Buying and selling by James Harden

As it turned out, Recreation 5 can be the last NBA recreation that the trio would play collectively.

Oklahoma City faced robust wage selections in the summer. Harden and Serge Ibaka have been each eligible for further help and the adoption of latest contracts meant that they might not be restricted in the coming yr. When Durant was already locked up and Westbrook signed probably the most agreement in January, Thunder needed to let both Harden or Ibaka stroll or pay an amazing luxury tax.

What's worse, this drawback came in the summer after the NBA imposed newer and extra severe penalties for exceeding the posh tax, together with the exponential scale for every greenback and additional penalties for luxurious tax repeatedly. The brand new rules did not move until the subsequent period, however the new agreements for Harden and Ibaka would have been above Oklahoma Metropolis's tax. Making Harden's departure is even higher. It lastly occurred at a implausible velocity when Oklahoma City changed star to sixth Houston Houston Rocket four days before the beginning of the season. In return, Thunder acquired the first and second rounds of Kevin Martin, Jeremy Lamb and Houston in 2013 with the first spherical in 2014.

Harden stated in an interview with ESPN's Hannah Storm that Thunder had provided him four years, a $ 55 million supply, 5 $ million if it is a maximum. It didn't sit nicely together with her.

“I felt I had already made a victim who came out of the bench and did anything to help the team, and they were not willing to help me,” Harden informed Storm.

26. April 2013: Russell Westbrook tears his meniscus

Harden dropping Oklahoma City wins 62 and the NBA's greatest report, Durant and Westbrook averages 28 and 23 points per recreation.

Their first collection of falls corresponded to acquainted enemies at Rockets and Harden. In the second quarter of Recreation 2, Westbrook went on to name a timeout and slowed right down to the bench, as traditional before the sport stopped. On the similar time, Houston guard Patrick Beverley hit the ball and hit Westbrook's knees. The occasion would end the sparkling years between beef duo.

Westbrook climbed a big hip and hit the printer's desk together with his proper fist. OKC gained the sport to take 2-0 lead, but later MRI confirmed that Westbrook had stored a torn meniscus, demanding surgical procedure and ignoring him perpetually.

Oklahoma Metropolis gained a collection of six video games in Houston, however with out Westbrook, Thunder fell on the subsequent spherical of "Grit and Grind" in Memphis Grizzlies in five video games.

2014: Early Injury to Serge Ibaka

In the absence of Westbrook's 35 video games that recovered from knee surgical procedure in the period 2013-2014, Durant was once more referred to as crucial bucket belt. He had the perfect particular person season, averaging 32 points per recreation, when he gained the MVP and lead the second greatest report within the league in Oklahoma Metropolis.

Oklahoma Metropolis survived the horrible first round of seven games towards Memphis, then passed the Los Angeles Clippers in six video games within the second round. This grind came at the expense of. Towards the collection towards LA, Ibaka burdened the calf, and Presti introduced he was unlikely to return to the position.

Thunder misplaced badly the first two games to San Antonio Spurs within the finals of the conference, however gained momentum when Ibaka returned to Recreation 3. . “I acquired rather more respect for Sergei to sacrifice himself to the group. No matter what occurred tonight, it's one thing you want subsequent to you, Durant stated after recreation Three.

But Ibaka's return turned out to be too little, too late. Oklahoma City gained only 34 factors within the second half of the 5 matches, then dropped 6 in additional time after Kawhi Leonard turned one among his largest performs

2015: Kevin Durant's flip harm

One week earlier than the season in Oklahoma City reported that Durant suffered from Jones breaking his leg, leaving him for the primary month. However it was solely the start of the KD injury. Durant mocked his ankle in December, his massive toe a month later, after which he had one other procedure to hurt the leg in February. March 27 Presti announced to Durant that he would lose the rest of the season for a third minimize.

The injuries of Durant and Westbrook, which have been left originally of the four weeks on account of a damaged hand through the season, created the want of Oklahoma Metropolis. They started the season 3-12 and ended up in the ninth in the west, dropping the ultimate drop recreation.

30. Might 2016: The original blown 3-1 lead

with Durant again healthy and Billy Donovan took over as head coach Scott Brooks. They shortly went past the Mavericks to five, then gained three straights to win Spurs whereas staying back, 2-1. It set up a match for the Warriors workforce, which went 73-9 within the common season.

With Durant, Ibaka and Andre Roberson, smaller warriors conquered Thunder to rise to 3-1. They gained Recreation 1 by limiting Warriors to only 14 factors within the fourth quarter, then crushed the Golden State combined with 52 points when the collection moved to Oklahoma City. Durant performed 33 factors in recreation Three, and Westbrook took the game 4 right into a recreation that rose to 36 when Thunder took 3-1.

But the warriors fought again. After the narrowly profitable recreation 5, Golden State acquired Klay Thompson's presentation for the century in the Recreation 6 thriller. Thompson scored 41 points out of 11 out of 18 three NBA playoffs and outperformed the entire Thunder group in the fourth quarter with 108-101 victories.

Oklahoma City was left within the shell. They rose seven points to five minutes, however looked at Durant and Westbrook fired collectively in Three-14 quarters. Over the past five minutes, Thunder's two stars went from 0 to five and made six internet gross sales.

Oklahoma City hanged in 7, but ultimately misplaced 36 points for Stephen Curry's night time. Thunder was on the best way again to the long-awaited NBA finale, however as an alternative thought-about the second season to finish with heartbreak.

23. June 2016: Goodbye, Serge

Summer time 2016 was set to be a monumental Thunder. Durant was a free agent, and Westbrook turned one the subsequent summer time, and Oklahoma Metropolis once more had robust selections.

On the day of the 2016 NBA Draft, Thunder gave Ibaka to Victor Oladipo, Ersan Ilyasova and No. 11, which turned out to be Domantas Sabonis. Oladipo's plan was to put her sixth husband alongside Durant and Westbrook. Oklahoma Metropolis was additionally very all for signing free agent Al Horford, who had played at the University of Donovan in Florida.

The thought was so as to add songs aggressively to help Durant congratulate his long-term contract. As an alternative…

4. July 2016: Kevin Durant leaves

The reconstruction of Oklahoma City was not sufficient to maintain his largest star. Durant first met Thunder after which went to New York's Hampton to satisfy with Clippers, Heat, Celtics, Spurs and Warriors.

On 4 July, Durant broke OKC's hearts via the Participant's Tribune essay saying its choice to go away Thunder sign the identical Warriors group that threw them out finally yr's conference.

“I Forget Oklahoma City and the role I have played in building this remarkable team,” Durant wrote. "I will forever nurture internal relationships within the organization – friends and teammates who went to court for nine years with war, and all community fans and people. They have always had my back unconditionally, and I cannot be more grateful for what they have labeled for my family and me." [19659020] On the same day, Westbrook revealed a picture of cupcakes on Instagram

It seemed like a easy photograph of its Independence Day, but later we discovered that behind the mail was hidden which means: By way of Jenkins Sports Illustrated:

When Kendrick Perkins performed Thunder Middle, he referred to as teammate "cupcake" if he thought he was a bit mushy, Westbrook and Durant accepted the term in Jest Westbrook released a bittersweet picture on Instagram: three cups of cupcakes with a pink and blue star and sprinkles

4, 2016: Westbrook's Revenge Tour With Durant now you’ll be able to play By the Bay, Thunder could not lose Westbrook. The parties committed themselves to a three-year extension of $ 85.7 million.

“There's no other place than Oklahoma City,” Westbrook stated at a press convention opened to the media and fans. “You've basically raised me. I've been here when I was 18, 19 years old. You made me big things. Through good and evil you blocked me through everything and I appreciate it. ”

The Westbrook revenge started. He recorded 42 triple doubles when he took Oscar Robertson's document for one yr and have become also the first player because the Oscar was on average 3 times double through the season. Westbrook broke each characters in a shocking means, scoring 50 factors and hitting the winner to steer Thunder again from the 14% deficit for six minutes remaining to win the Nuggets.

Westbrook was named the MVP for a document yr in 2016-17 because of a report yr. Nevertheless, he did not succeed in the playoffs as a result of Oklahoma Metropolis sent Harden and Rockets to five video games.

1. July 2017: Paul George Saves

For the second summer time in a row, Thunder crashed into its roster. In an enormous, non-gambling playing recreation, they bought Oladipo and Sabonis, final summer time's Ibaka trade prizes, to Indiana Pacers for the shameful superstars Paul George. George was set as a free agent next season, and his announcement had been in Los Angeles Lakers. Oklahoma City had a yr to vary its thoughts.

September 29, 2017: Westbrook Becomes Thunder for Life, or Considering

Each side agreed on a five-year $ 205 million agreement beneath the brand new Supermax reservation. It seemed that Westbrook would by no means depart.

Along with Westbrook's re-signing and George trading, Oklahoma Metropolis made a late offseason splash by buying all star Carmelo Anthony from Knicks in change for Enes Kanter, Doug McDermott and the second round draft.

1. July 2018: One-Yr George Experiment

When Westbrook, George, and Anthony have been uncomfortable, OKC ended up because the fourth seed of the West, beginning at Eight-12. The problems of this mix turned out to be a dying in the first spherical of the six-round recreation for the Utah Jazz Association. In Recreation 6, George gained only five points from 2 to 16 shootings. The probabilities of signing him didn’t look good.

However when the clock went to midnight, George shocked the NBA world by saying that he lived with Oklahoma Metropolis and revealed Westbrook celebration information. George ended up signing a four-year $ 137 million contract.

For those who haven't acquired it, I need to say it again. I am here to remain!

It appeared that Thunder would recuperate from the Durant defeat

February. 26, 2019: Another injury that changed every part

When Westbrook took just a little back seat and Anthony out of the staff, George gathered the first half of the celebs. By the top of February, he had a mean of almost 29 points and more than nine rebounds for the game. At the moment, OKC had 38-21 data and again showed Warriors as a challenger.

But things started to get uncontrolled when George suffered shoulder accidents in a match recreation towards Denver Nuggets. He continued to play however seemed like a shell of former MVP quality. "Four days ago I couldn't even lift my shoulder," he stated after the sport 1 on the playoffs.

Oklahoma City went 11-11 to the remainder of the traditional season, when he acquired a match No. Three from Portland Path Blazers. Portland took the collection in five games, and Damian Lillard hit a serial-ended buzzer on George's face after which gave up Thunder.

Little did we all know that he actually gave up Thunder.

Three. July 2019: George finally goes to LA

Free agent Kawhi Leonard needed to signal with Los Angeles Clippers, but needed stars to hitch him. He employed George, and then George asked Thunder to commerce him. This made Thunder bind.

Two nights later they did as George asked him to cope with report blocks (the primary 5 runners and two pickups) and with Danilo Gallinar and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander.

George thanked Oklahoma Metropolis for Instagram and shouts specifically for Westbrook.

But when George has gone, attainable competitors for Thunder within the near future ended.

12. July 2019: Westbrook returns to his previous good friend

After George & # 39; s trade, the writing was on the wall of Westbrook's departure. Thunder moved Westbrook to a desired vacation spot in Houston, which meant that ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski was joining Harden. Oklahoma Metropolis acquired Chris Paul in addition to two first rounds (2024, 2026) and two swap contracts (2021, 2025).

The first promise of the Nice Thunder dynasty had lengthy pale, but Westbrook's departure ended with a franchise deconstruction. Making the finals in 2012 was meant to be a pop-up for the younger trio of Westbrook, Durant and Harden. As an alternative, it ended up as their greatest achievement for teammates.

Eight years passed, however the demolition of Oklahoma City is now full. Now all we’ve got left might have been.

Learn extra at SB Nation.