Kevin Durant’s departure this offseason from Oklahoma City to Golden State finally separated what was once one of the league’s most dynamic trios for good, as Durant, Russell Westbrook, and James Harden were all on different teams.
The one-time young core of the Thunder led Oklahoma City to the 2012 NBA Finals with all three stars under the age of 24. That offseason, Harden was traded to the Rockets, and ever since NBA fans have wondered what the three could have accomplished had the Thunder chosen to pay Harden and tried to keep the trio together rather than trade him.
This weekend will be a reunion of sorts in Oakland, as Durant and the Warriors host Westbrook and the Thunder on Wednesday night followed by Harden and the Rockets on Friday night. Durant sat down with Anthony Slater of the Bay Area News Group on Tuesday to reminisce about his early years with the Thunder playing alongside Westbrook and Harden, which he referred to as “pure fun.”
“We never looked at it that way, like we could be best of all-time,” Durant told Slater. “It was really AAU basketball, man. We were just having fun. We weren’t listening to anyone on the outside, media, none of that. It was just pure fun. When we did hear something about the group, it was like, what is this? That was so foreign to us because we never paid attention to it.”
Durant also detailed the intense practices that Scott Brooks put the young trio through in Harden’s first season to get them ready for the NBA grind as young 20-somethings.
“Scotty Brooks had this rule: No fouls,” Durant said.