What a difference a year makes. Last year at this time, the Thunder were basking in the glow of their first-ever Finals appearance with four excellent players. While history will undoubtedly look unkindly on the trade of James Harden to the Rockets, the swap made some sense at the time because the Oklahoma City brass were trying to stay ahead of the salary cap curve. Additionally, it wasn't completely clear that Harden would quite be the impact player he became in the 2013-14 season.
It may be hard to remember that the team won 60 games and had the best record in the Western Conference after trading Harden, since Russell Westbrook tore his MCL in the first round of the playoffs and OKC was unceremoniously dispatched by the Grizzlies in five games in the conference semifinals. Without Westbrook, Serge Ibaka was exposed and Kevin Durant simply couldn't do everything. Westbrook will not be ready for the beginning of the season, and the Thunder
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