Tramel: Thunder shouldn't break up Jeff Green, Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant

by Berry Tramel Published: June 24, 2009
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photo - Oklahoma City Thunder NBA basketball players Kevin Durant, Jeff Green and Russell Westbrook watch the game from the sidelines during the first half of the preseason NIT college basketball game between the University of Oklahoma and Davidson University on Tuesday, Nov. 18, at the Lloyd Noble Center in Norman.
Oklahoma City Thunder NBA basketball players Kevin Durant, Jeff Green and Russell Westbrook watch the game from the sidelines during the first half of the preseason NIT college basketball game between the University of Oklahoma and Davidson University on Tuesday, Nov. 18, at the Lloyd Noble Center in Norman.

Sam Presti has made offers to the Clippers for Blake Griffin. You know he has. Wouldn't be doing his job if he didn't.

The Clippers have counter-offered. You know they have. Wouldn't be, well, it's the Clippers, so forget I said anything.

But the end result is almost certain to keep Griffin in LaLa Land and we might never know how far the Thunder was willing to go to keep Big Blake in his hometown.

We do know where the Thunder should draw the line. At Jeff Green and Russell Westbrook.

Do not break up the cornerstone trio of Kevin Durant, Green and Westbrook.

They are too promising. Too talented. Too good together.

I know that seems goofy to say about a trio that led OKC to 23 wins last season. But forget the 23 wins. Literally. Throw that win total into Lake Hefner and never think of it again.

The 2008-09 record was absolutely irrelevant. This franchise was broken down to be built back up. You don't judge marines halfway through boot camp, and you don't judge NBA teams built around pups who haven't seen their 23rd birthday.

When novice general manager Presti traded Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis two drafts ago, he set his franchise on a clear course. Rocky and rough at first, but with the hope of smooth sailing ahead.

Just like driving through the desert to reach the beach. You don't get to Death Valley and abandon ship. You keep going. The '09 Thunder was designed to win 23 games or some similarly dismal number.

Presti has a plan, and that plan is going swimmingly despite the record, and that plan includes Durant, Green and Westbrook as the core.

They are a special threesome. They are an historic threesome.

In NBA history, 449 teams have produced a trio of players that combined to average at least 57 points a game. Of those 449 trios, only 10 had ages that added up to less than 70 years old.


by Berry Tramel
Columnist
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...
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