There was a time more recently than seems possible that the Oklahoma City Thunder officially began what everyone knew was a dynasty. Led by a pair of precocious, superstar baby faces and stocked with other über-valuable player and draft assets, an eventual championship seemed like a foregone conclusion for Sam Presti’s team after it broke the rational timeline for contention and represented a loaded Western Conference in the NBA Finals.
That was June 2012. Almost four years later, the Thunder haven’t only failed to win the the conference, but are staring the prospect of sustained illegitimacy straight in the face as Kevin Durant’s first foray into free agency rapidly approaches.
The swirling winds of random injury, sudden personnel turnover, and general luck open and shut championship windows in the NBA faster than most teams are comfortable admitting. Just ask Oklahoma City, or any other up-and-comer throughout league history whose seemingly imminent title never quite came to pass.
Bottom line: If a team believes it has a chance to hoist the Larry O’Brien Trophy come season’s end, nothing – save for the complete mortgage of a blindingly bright future – should stand in the way of making the moves that might allow that to happen.
The Toronto Raptors’ time to win their first ever championship, believe it or not, could be right now.