Thank you, Russell Westbrook; a trip down memory lane

Russell Westbrook of the OKC Thunder (Photo by Zach Beeker/NBAE via Getty Images)
Russell Westbrook of the OKC Thunder (Photo by Zach Beeker/NBAE via Getty Images) /
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OKC Thunder
Kevin Durant #35 of the Golden State Warriors /

July 4th, 2016. A day in which the NBA World, but especially OKC Thunder fans, will never forget.

Free agency was underway, and things were radioactively silent. Thunder fans, most of whom were confident Durant was returning sat back and waiting, envisioning Sam Presti signing Al Horford to pair with their new core that now included Victor Olidipo and Domantas Sabonis to go along with Russell Westbrook.

In fact, it was found out later by Royce Young of ESPN that Kevin Durant told Russell Westbrook and franchise pillar Nick Collison he was returning.

That was a lie, and despite Durant’s verbal reassurance to the Thunder time and time again throughout the season, it turns out he was being recruited by Draymond Green.

After a meeting in the Hamptons, Kevin Durant announced via the player’s tribune that he would sign with the Golden State Warriors. July 4th, 2016.

That sent shock waves throughout Thunder land. What does this mean for Russell Westbrook who is only under contract for another season? What does this mean for basketball in Oklahoma City? Why did he choose to do this? For the first time in franchise history, the Thunder were spurned by free agency.

James Harden and Serge Ibaka were traded, getting assets back for breaking up the core, but Durant just left for Golden State and the Thunder were left empty-handed with their best player joining a 73 win team that had just knocked off KD and the Thunder who once held a 3-1 lead.

No one guessed this would happen. At worse, Kevin Durant would sign a one year deal to run it back then leave with Russ…not leave Russ here alone.

Again, another “What if?”

What if, Durant doesn’t go? Oklahoma City had a commitment from Al Horford to join the Thunder in free agency and play for his college coach, Billy Donovan, and the dynamic duo of Durant and Westbrook.

Well, it was a good run. Russ will leave next right? This first era is closed?

Nope, just time for a new chapter.