The morning after: Where do the OKC Thunder go from here?

Paul George #13 of the Oklahoma City Thunder (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images)
Paul George #13 of the Oklahoma City Thunder (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images) /
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OKC Thunder
Damian Lillard #0 of the Portland Trail Blazers (Photo by Sam Forencich/NBAE via Getty Images) /

Sometimes, the unpopular decision is the right one…and sometimes it isn’t.

This move is by far the most controversial one. It is also the hardest decision to make if the OKC Thunder do ultimately choose to do it. A lot of fans will hate this idea and have already begun throwing tomatoes at me and calling me an idiot in the comment sections as you are reading this article, and others will agree that it is time to close the book on this era of OKC Thunder basketball.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is one of the most talented young prospects in the NBA, who is rapidly rising after a very good rookie season. His fit though with Russell Westbrook is a bit concerning.

Westbrook is already going to be 31 years old when the NBA season kicks into full gear, who has shown his decline in athleticism his most important trait in the last two years. Russ is no longer on the Thunder’s timeline.

After this trade, as the roster sits, the Thunder are not a playoff team in the tough Western Conference.

Trading Russell Westbrook would not taint his legacy, in fact, it would just help jumpstart the teams rebuild, If you pick this route, it will not be fun for 82 games, for a few years. Despite their small market size, the Oklahoma City community is rabid enough to support a losing team. Especially a franchise that has yet to provide the fanbase a true losing season outside of the inaugural season in the city.

At this point though, if Russ and company could not get past the first round in the last two seasons, no star on the market will make the team better. George was an awesome fit for the Thunder and even the aforementioned Bradley Beal would not be a better pairing.

So here is what you do if you are Presti and decide to take this route.

You trade Russell Westbrook on his hefty contract, and his declining skill set, for any asset you can get. You trust Sam Presti to use all of these assets and future picks to usher in the new wave of young talent.

Rebuilding is scary, but the OKC Thunder are unlike the Suns, or Knicks, or teams of that ilk. They are a stable organization. You have to trust that Sam Presti will know how to evaluate talent and enter in the next era of Thunder basketball because this one is over.

That will be a sad day if and when it comes, but that is the business side of it.