We all believe that everything is going to last forever and nothing represents that more than in the world of sports. Of all sports where you would think it would last forever is in the NBA with guaranteed contracts and generally, if you have the best 2 players in the league then you’re not only going to compete but win championships for the next decade. Unfortunately for all Oklahoma City Thunder fans, that dream will never be realized but for Kevin Durant, James Harden and Russell Westbrook it might’ve been the best thing for their careers.

The rising of stars

The Big 3 for Oklahoma City was complete when the Thunder drafted James Harden with the 3rd pick in the draft in 2009 adding to already rising stars Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. From that point forward for the next three years they grew and mature going through the struggles of all future champions by learning the hard way of losing tough physical close series to more veteran laid teams (Lakers 2010 Mavericks 2011 and Heat 2012). Each of the teams they lost to in the playoffs ended winning the championship that season so it wasn’t a stretch to believe that soon enough Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and James Harden would be on the stage in Oklahoma City receiving the Larry O’Brien Trophy from commissioner David Stern in June of 2013.

The Decision That Ended It All

The general manager of the Oklahoma City Thunder Sam Presti comes from the San Antonio Spurs front office tree and it showed with the great draft picks he has selected during his tenure. Though since Oklahoma City is a small market team ownership made a decision to pressure James Harden in the summer of 2012 knowing he will become a free agent next summer.

The deal that closed the window was a 3 year 55 million dollar deal which is well below the value Harden was going to receive on the open market so from a business standpoint Harden made the right decision. In turning down the deal this led to him getting traded to Houston for Kevin Martin, a first round pick that year and 2nd round pick in 2014.

James Harden would then sign a 4 year 88 million dollar deal with the Houston Rockets on the plane ride to Houston.

The Injury That Created The Monster

So after the departure of James Harden, more of the workload was now placed on the shoulders of Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. They not only handled it but elevated their game to MVP status including in 2014 with Kevin Durant winning the award with the iconic message to his mother ‘You the real MVP”. But what was under the surface and its well documented now that the organization cater to Russell Westbrook allowing him to do whatever he wanted to do this created bitterness with Kevin Durant. And when Durant went down in 2015 only playing in 27 games allowed Russell Westbrook who averaged a triple double down the stretch trying to sneak into the playoffs but came up short.

Even though they didn’t make the playoffs management saw what life would be like without Kevin Durant and little did they know that that would become a reality.

The Departure

When Kevin Durant left the Thunder for the Warriors this summer people were shocked and outrage that someone of KD stature would leave to a team that has been so successful the last 2 years. Under the radar that no one was realizing was the amount of success not only individually but as a team, James Harden has had since he left OKC to be the man in Houston. Posting numbers 27.4 PPG, 5.9 TRB and 7.5 AST that he wouldn’t be able to put up if he was still in OKC and the same goes now for Westbrook who’s posting a triple double with 31.2 PPG, 10.5 TRB and 10.4 AST.

Also even with the amount of heat KD received for leaving to “the enemy” was putting up career highs in shooting percentages before going down with the injury. It’s highly likely if not probable that before their careers are over with that each Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and James Harden will win an MVP which wouldn’t be the case if they all stayed together.