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Dynasty talk is fun, but it lacks merit until Thunder wins first championship

General manager Sam Presti like enthusiastic comments from James Harden. But plenty of good NBA teams failed to win a title.
by Berry Tramel Published: June 24, 2012

Sam Presti mixed his television metaphors. Which was fine with him. Anything to shift the talk off James Harden's mention of the D-word.

Yep, Harden dared utter “dynasty” Saturday.

Might have been relevant had the Thunder just won the NBA Finals instead of having just lost the same. Instead, the Thunder still seeks its first NBA championship, not a series of basketball's grandest prize.

“This is something special here,” Harden said, still walking down Acceptable Boulevard. But then he took a wrong turn. “A dynasty could be, is being, built here. So we're winning, we're having fun and we're brothers.” The kind of stuff, he said, you can't buy.

So early and late, Harden was talking good sense. Good sense and great stuff. But the dynasty claim eclipsed the message and sent the Thunder general manager into damage control, if not total denial.

“I didn't realize that James was such an aficionado of '80s television,” Presti said. “I'd like to say respectfully we're as close to a dynasty as J.R. was to dodging the bullet.”

Uh, Sam, J.R. Ewing was on “Dallas,” not “Dynasty.” “Dynasty” was Linda Evans and John Forsythe and Joan Collins. The Carrington clan.

I don't remember how close J.R. was to dodging the bullet, and by Presti's own impeached testimony, neither does he.

But I know how close the Thunder is to a dynasty. No closer than even Dallas; J.R.'s hometown Mavericks at least won the 2011 NBA title.

The idea that the Thunder is headed for a long stretch of NBA success has merit. With Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook signed up for four more years together, the Thunder will match any team's talent at the top.

But can the Thunder keep surrounding its superstars with elite sidekicks? Next season, absolutely. Beyond that, we'll see.

Despite the talk of player sacrifice, either in paycheck or playing time, from both Harden and Eric Maynor, nothing is assured. The new payroll tax will make it treacherous for the Thunder to keep all its young talent. Might happen, could happen, but won't necessarily happen.

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by Berry Tramel
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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