6 Oklahoma City Thunder players who turned their back on the franchise

Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City Thunder and Kevin Durant, Golden State Warriors
Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City Thunder and Kevin Durant, Golden State Warriors / Ezra Shaw/GettyImages
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Nobody likes to be spurned, least of all sports fan bases. The loyalty shown by fans to their team comes with an expectation that the star players will mirror some of that loyalty back to them. When those players then turn their back on the franchise the pain of betrayal stabs deeply.

From Christiano Ronaldo to LeBron James, players have spurned teams and fans that adored them to take their talents elsewhere. Without making a value statement on whether players should have loyalty to a team or city, when they don't reciprocate it's painful.

Unfortunately, the Oklahoma City Thunder franchise is no exception to players turning their backs on the franchise. Let's look at a handful of examples, starting with one that predates the move to Oklahoma City.

No. 6: Rashard Lewis

With the growth of NBA free agency in recent years and an increase in star movement, players are leaving their franchises much more often now than they were 20 years ago. That has naturally led to a list that is weighted towards the last decade, which painfully lays out some of the "downs" of the up-and-down roller coaster the Thunder and their fans have been on.

Even prior to the move, however, the Seattle SuperSonics knew what it felt like to be spurned. Rashard Lewis was drafted by the franchise in 1998, joining a team that had won at the highest levels over the past few years and was trying to get back to the NBA Finals. He would pair with Ray Allen to reinvigorate the franchise and make them a perennial playoff team.

The All-Star forward would then turn his back on Seattle when he hit free agency in 2007, choosing to sign a lucrative new contract with the Orlando Magic. That departure came when Seattle was in the midst of the transition that would ultimately land it in Oklahoma City. Instead of making a push to give the fans in Seattle one last good season, he walked out on the Sonics.

It was some small consolation that the Sonics won the No. 2 pick in the draft that year and took Kevin Durant. More on him later.

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