Oklahoma City Thunder After Kevin Durant: What’s Next?


Point guard Russell Westbrook will have to carry the load for the Oklahoma City Thunder next season.

Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

The Oklahoma City Thunder were riding high. They led the Golden State Warriors, the best team in regular-season N.B.A. history, three games to one, and were on the cusp of a huge upset and a trip to the finals.

Then it all started to go wrong.

The Thunder lost Games 5, 6 and 7 despite 40, 29 and 27 points from their star forward, Kevin Durant. After the season, they traded away their big power forward, Serge Ibaka.

But they still had the one-two punch of Durant and Russell Westbrook.

On Monday, in the most momentous decision since LeBron James’s “Decision,” Durant decided to leave town to join the rival Warriors.

In a flash, the Thunder went from contenders to also-rans. Oddsmakers hustled to change their lines, and around Las Vegas, Oklahoma City, previously 6-1 or so, can now be bet at 25-1 or more to win the title. Even at that price, you imagine that there will be few takers.

In losing Durant and Ibaka, the Thunder will be without 33…

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