The Oklahoma City Thunder have had one heck of a summer. Both of the franchise’s cornerstones, Paul George and Russell Westbrook, were traded sometime over the last month. George requested a trade and was dealt to the Los Angeles Clippers, while Westbrook was moved soon after to the Houston Rockets.
Some of the conversation in the aftermath of these moves have centered around exactly when the team decided it was time to make a move. There have been indications that Oklahoma City believed time was running out on Westbrook before the George trade, while George made it sound like his trade request did not come out of left field.
For the Thunder, though, this might not have necessarily been the case. Sam Presti has openly said that moving George was not necessarily a mutual decision, while one unnamed executive told Keith Smith of RealGM that a move was not in the cards when they laid out what they hoped to accomplish over 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.”
The good news for Oklahoma City is that they ended up with quite a haul. George turned into a bevy of draft picks, plus a potential All-Star in Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and a really good veteran forward in Danilo Gallinari. Westbrook was flipped for even more draft capital, as well as Chris Paul. Moving two players as valuable to the franchise as those two All-Stars was assuredly difficult, but the Thunder managed to put themselves in a position to win in the present and have an awfully bright future ahead if they turn those picks into good players.