Despite fighting to the
end in a series of narrow losses to Memphis, the Oklahoma City Thunder's decision to trade James Harden finally came back to haunt them.
Last spring, Kevin Durant spent his time leading the Thunder to the NBA Finals with the help of two co-stars. This season, he was left trying to survive the Memphis Grinders with the help of no co-stars.
After claiming the No. 1 seed in the West, OKC became the favorites to make it back and challenge the Miami Heat for the title.
Then, the cold move that had little to do with basketball and everything to do with finances come back to haunt them. The Thunder gave away their ability to survive a Westbrook injury when the traded away Harden.
''We lost the guy (Westbrook) that has the keys to our car.'' That’s the way Kevin Martin describes it.
The Thunder's offense fizzled without Westbrook's scoring punch and ability to create shots for teammates. To make matters worse, they drew the Grizzlies and their league-best defense in the second round.
''Let's face it, Russell's really good. He's not only one of the best point guards, he's one of best players in the league,'' coach Scott Brooks said. ''He has earned that with all of the work he has put in. He has a great work ethic and a great attitude to improve every day, and his will to win is at the highest level.”
Now all the Thunder can do is look back on what could have been.