On Monday afternoon, in the wake of franchise cornerstone Kevin Durant’s decision to bolt for Golden State, Thunder Chairman Clay Bennett and General Manager Sam Presti issued two separate statements on the loss of the best player in their team’s relatively short history.
Bennett thanked Durant for his “leadership, his play, and how he represented Oklahoma City and the entire state of Oklahoma.”
Presti went on to talk about the “indelible mark” Durant left on the franchise and the state, citing him as a “founding father of the franchise.”
“Kevin’s contributions to our organization during his nine years were profound, on and off the court. He helped the Thunder grow and succeed in immeasurable ways and impacted the community just the same. We thank him for his leadership, his play, and how he represented Oklahoma City and the entire state of Oklahoma,” Bennett said.
Presti added, “Kevin made an indelible mark on the Thunder organization and the state of Oklahoma as a founding father of this franchise. We can’t adequately articulate what he meant to the foundation of this franchise and our success. While clearly disappointing that he has chosen to move on, the core values that he helped establish only lead to us thanking him for the many tangible and intangible ways that he helped our program.”
Russell Westbrook, Kevin Durant and Nick Collison were the only players on the Thunder’s roster remaining as original draft picks of the team back when they were the Seattle Supersonics. All three played one year in Seattle before relocating to Oklahoma City.
Now, Westbrook and Collison are the only remnants of a by-gone era in Oklahoma City.
Durant will look forward to creating a dynasty in Golden State while Westbrook and the Thunder franchise will attempt to salvage what’s left of a talented roster in Oklahoma City.