Thunder fans continue to process trades while BIG3 stars revel over Westbrook

Russell Westbrook, and Kendrick Perkins, OKC Thunder (Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images)
Russell Westbrook, and Kendrick Perkins, OKC Thunder (Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images) /

OKC Thunder fans continue to process the abrupt franchise shift and loss of two superstars while BIG3 stars revel over Russell Westbrook and serve up their unfiltered thoughts.

Ever since the OKC Thunder General Manager Sam Presti traded Russell Westbrook social media has been busy with hot takes on the situation. Thunder fans felt like a gut punch was delivered and although the writing was on the wall the minute Paul George exited it still didn’t ease the news when it came.

For many Thunder fans the past 11 days, (16 if you go back to the George trade) has been like navigating your car up a steep hill in a snowstorm with broken wiper blades. It still doesn’t feel real and it likely won’t until training camp.

The running narrative of analysts and scribes is whether the two active players with the highest usage rate can make it work in Houston. One thing is for sure the team appears to be committed as both James Harden and Eric Gordon backed out of the National Team practice in Vegas citing a commitment to preparing for next season as their reason.

A few seasons back Harden began gathering teammates together in the offseason to work on chemistry. With Russ coming into the fold odds are the many of the Rockets players will try to get a jump on team dynamics early via this process.

Meanwhile, former players are getting in on how the Westbrook will fit with Harden in Houston. One player who has lots to say about former teammates Westbrook and Durant is Kendrick Perkins. Maybe I just have a natural preference for old school big men since I’ve been obsessed with  Perkins recent foray into media.

Similarly, Charles Oakley is one of my favorite underrated forwards ever; both on and off the court. Known as a member of Michael Jordan‘s inner circle his interviews and inside stories are always a treat. To that end, in case you missed it check out his guest appearance on the Bill Simmons podcast (ranks among the best podcast episodes of all time).

Oakley also got in on the Westbrook trade this past weekend as he spoke following his teams BIG3 event. Erik Horne of The Oklahoman has the full story which offered a few former players takes on the trade. As per Horne:

"Killer 3s coach Charles Oakley hadn’t even sat down at the postgame podium Sunday before he asked the media who wanted to talk about Russell Westbrook and Paul George. —Oakley gave a short summary of his feelings about the Thunder. You need players, not draft picks. “They’re in trouble,” Oakley said."

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Other BIG3 players who offered their opinions (and who Horne noted in his article) were Kenyon Martin, Mike Bibby, and Stephen Jackson. The only positive take came from Bibby while Martin felt the OKC Thunder fans are getting robbed and Jackson had plenty to say with shots fired at Presti going all the way back to the 2012 team which featured what became three Most Valuable Players plus Serge Ibaka.

Jackson’s final comments (again, in the Horne article) “But, y’all lost Russ! Y’all lost a walking triple-double.” isn’t surprising because this group of players came from a different era. So, it’s not just Russ stats they admire.

Catch an episode of The Jump of which Jackson and Perkins have become regular panelists and it’s not uncommon to hear them praise Westbrook. And, there’s a good reason for that. These guys came from the era where players appeared in all 82 games for the most part.

And, while the game has changed with a faster pace, different defensive rules and perimeter emphasis the M.J. era would likely put one asset ahead of all others – compete level.

Someone who plays with the intensity of Westbrook, game in and game out is always going to garner praise from the old school crew.

Next. Thank you, Russell Westbrook; a trip down memory lane. dark

As for Thunder Nation, hang in there – like all grieving it takes time.