The Brooklyn Nets paid a visit to Oklahoma City to take on the Thunder on Sunday night. It went as most would expect, as the Nets easily did away with their rebuilding counterpart in a 24-point victory. One of the bigger stories coming out of the matchup had most to do with the Thunder fans’ treatment of James Harden and Kevin Durant.
As they both once played for the Thunder and left the team on bad terms, the fans reminded the all-star duo of what was missed many years ago. During player introductions, the local fans in the OKC crowd became audibly rejective as they gave loud boos to both players. Reflecting on it after the game, James Harden briefly responded to the reaction he received.
“I don’t know why. It wasn’t my fault.”James Harden
To his point, Harden hadn’t expressed any desire to leave Oklahoma City back in 2012, but a contract dispute between himself and the team resulted in his eventual move to Houston. Nearly a decade later, it seems as though Thunder fans still hold hard feelings about the matter.
Regardless, with this game done, both sides move on to their next opponents. The Thunder will look for a quick rebound win when they host the Miami Heat on Monday night. Meanwhile, the Nets continue their championship bid on Tuesday night when they go home to face the league-best Golden State Warriors.
Kevin Durant and James Harden on the Thunder
Unbeknownst to them at the time, the Oklahoma City Thunder struck gold in three consecutive NBA drafts. Between 2007 and 2009, they drafted Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, and James Harden. These three went on to earn multiple individual accolades throughout their careers. However, only a few of them came while they were all teammates.
As previously mentioned, a contract dispute led the Thunder to trade James Harden in the 2012 offseason. The team had just made its first (and only) NBA Finals with that old core. Four years later, Kevin Durant left in free agency to join the Golden State Warriors.
Between Harden, Durant, and Westbrook, we have multiple league MVP awards, scoring titles, assists titles, a pair of championships, and Finals MVPs to boot. The fans in Oklahoma City have since been left to wonder about the great dynasty that probably should have been.