Oklahoma City Thunder Celebrate Ten Years As a Franchise

Image courtesy of Edin Buzz

Image courtesy of Edin Buzz

The Oklahoma City Thunder are celebrating ten years as a franchise, including one trip to the NBA Finals. The Thunder started out in 2008 and made the NBA FINALS just 4 years after.

After drafting Russell Westbrook, Kevin Durant, and James Harden, the Thunder beat three championship contenders in the playoffs: the Lakers, Mavericks, and Spurs. In the NBA Finals, they went up against the Miami Heat and the great Lebron James, reported ESPN.

Although the Thunder lost in five games, it was still a great accomplishment for a team in their first five years as a franchise. After being a championship contender for the next couple of years, especially after the historic 2008 season, the Thunder played the Warriors for a chance at another finals.

Afterwards, the Thunder lost in seven games but lost something even bigger in the 2016 off-season. According to NBC Sports, star player Kevin Durant left to play for the Golden State Warriors. During the 2016/2017 season, Russell Westbrook of the Thunder went off. Averaging a triple double every game, Westbrook cruised to become MVP and carried the Thunder to the playoffs, where they lost to the Rockets.

In the 2017 offseason, the Thunder traded for Paul George, a star player from the Pacers. They then traded for Carmelo Anthony, a legend from the Knicks. With that big three, the Thunder earned the four seed in the west, but then lost to the Jazz in 6 games.  In game 5, the Thunder were down 25 points in the second half, but they made a great comeback to win that game and make it a 3-2 series. Sadly though, they lost in game 6.

This off-season, the Thunder made many moves. They resigned Paul George in the 2018 off-season and signed center Nerlens Noel, setting them up for another great year. According to Bleacher Report,  the Oklahoma City (OKC) Thunder signed a contract to Raymond Felton for 1 year with a salary of 2.4 million dollars. Bobby Marks of ESPN states that the Thunder will be the only team in NBA history to have a 300 million dollar Luxury Tax!  

The Thunder did not resign Carmelo Anthony for 27.9 million dollars throughout the 17-18 season. He could dump his old three-year contract and spread his salary cap, which would put OKC in a financial burden.

With Paul George and Grant back, OKC would be settled at a tax bill of 289.9 mm, with or without filling up the roster. If the Thunder could stretch Melo to have it drop to 180.3 mm, they could be saving over 100 million dollars by stretching a player who may have hurt them in the playoffs.

According to thunderousintentions.com, since Kawhi Leonard is a free agent now, he could possibly be the key to boosting the Thunder into a top 3 seed in the playoffs.  With George and Westbrook being a big part of the big 3 along with Melo, the Thunder could go pretty far with the addition of Kawhi and could become the Warriors biggest opponent.

 With the Lakers getting Lebron James, they can’t afford any more top tier players.  Also with the Warriors resigning Kevin Durant and getting Demarcus Cousins, the Warriors also can’t pay Kawhi the money.

Kawhi Leonard has a trade request but the Spurs are trying to get a lot out of him.  They already tried the Lakers, but it didn’t work. The Thunder would love to have 5 superstars on their team! Coach Billy Donovan continues to help the Thunder strive for success as they head into the 2018/2019 season.