| Oklahoma City Thinder HISTORY
Arena: Ford Center
Division Championships: 5 (11,12,13,14,16)
Conference Championships: 1 (11)
NBA Titles: None
Team history before the relocation
When the Sonics moved from Seattle and became the Oklahoma City Thunder it was one of the most controversial moves in sports history. Many in the Seattle area felt lied to and betrayed by owner Clay Bennett.
NBA Commissioner David Stern and government officials for both the city of Seattle and the state of Washington tried to keep the team there, but Bennett would not budge and forced the relocation.
Many in Seattle are still holding out hope for a return of an NBA franchise to the city.
Before they were in Oklahoma City as the Thunder, the Seattle Supersonics were one of the most successful franchises in the NBA. Here the 1996 Sonics huddle together. The 96 team made it all the way to the NBA finals before losing to the Jordan lead Bulls.
Kevin Durant was the face of the franchise from 2007-2016. He helped smooth things over with NBA fans after the teams controversial relocation from Seattle to Oklahoma City. He would go on to be the franchises only MVP winner and one of the faces of the NBA.
The Thunder celebrate their Western Conference Finals victory in 2011 and their pending meeting with the Miami Heat in the NBA finals. The Thunder would lose to the Heat in 5 games, but it would mark the franchises 4th NBA finals appearance.
After the departure of Kevin Durant in 2016 the Thunder became unquestionably Russell Westbrooks team. Westbrook is the only player to win back to back all-star game MVPS and will now looks to add regular season MVP to his credentials.
The Transformation of the Thunder |
Back in December, the Miami Heat knocked off Oklahoma City, 97-95. The Thunder sat at 11-8 after that loss, on the fringe of the playoffs in the Western Conference. When the two teams met again this week, the Thunder rolled to a 99-75 rout, taking their 30th win of the season against just a dozen losses.
That's right -- the Thunder have gone 19-4 since that loss to the Heat and are now firmly in the conversation when it comes to contenders to take the Western Conference this year (and have the unenviable prospect of facing an even more determined Cavaliers crew in the NBA finals this summer). So how have they gone from mediocre to elite?
One change has been the return of a healthy Kevin Durant, of course. As the career of such big men as Bill Walton and Sam Bowie showed, and Joel Embiid seems to be showing now, if you can't put foot problems in your rear view mirror, your career will suffer. He is back from his foot issues and is playing well on both ends of the floor.