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A note from the editor:
The news of Kawhi Leonard’s surgery spawned a Daily Thunder podcast and even more hypotheticals in the Thunder rebuild sandbox. The shift in fortune also inspired several caveats from our folks privately and publicly: we are not gleefully celebrating a severe injury to one of the game’s best players. But if someone has to benefit from another franchise’s misfortune, why not Oklahoma City?
Basketball is cruel. Injuries aren’t fair. But this is also the height of competition. Sam Presti placed some bets during the teardown that will come up rosier in OKC the worse things go for other fan bases. He also placed bets during the first Thunder run of contention, and others benefited from Thunder misfortune including several untimely injuries, ineffective coaching, and roster strikeouts. While the world has mostly come around to sharing Thunder nation’s perception of Kevin Durant’s lame career choices, no one else will ever shed tears for OKC’s 3-1 meltdown against Golden State that preceded his departure. The only silver lining for us is someone else’s misery (the Warriors’ own blown 3-1 lead in the Finals that same year).
Sportsmanship is great. We loved it when Steven Adams put Mason Plumlee’s life ahead of two points. I speak highly of our media peers and genuinely wish them the best. But we’re still competing. The Thunder don’t need to apologize to Paul George, Steve Ballmer, or Clippers fans if they get a stud in the 2022 draft thanks in part to Kawhi’s downfall. And no one’s going to apologize for outworking us at DT if they put out better content.
I love this dynamic, and love having people on our team hungry to win and shake hands. The Thunder might be vulturing during this phase of the rebuild, but it’s driven by a taste for championship blood–not mere roadkill.
With all due condolences to LA…Thunder up.
– Cray Allred