Paul George is in LA with the Clippers, Russell Westbrook is in Houston with the Rockets and the Thunder have a treasure chest of first-round picks and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. OKC’s change from a significant playoff team is one of the most surprising developments this Free Agency.
Sam Presti did an amazing job to turn a Paul George and Russell Westbrook trade requests into assets in such a short period of time, especially because he didn’t see it coming. While OKC does have themselves to blame for putting an ill-fitting roster around Westbrook and letting him dominate the team to their detriment, they can also look towards Dame Lillard for some of the blame. His shot and wave effectively ended an era in OKC. Remember?
The symbolism of this play is enormous, and Dame just added fuel to the fire. The difference between Dame and Russ is enormous. The way they play, the way they act on the court – they are complete opposites. Dame usually doesn’t flex so when he waved the Thunder goodbye, it was obvious the rivalry was real there.
Talking to Sports Bussines Radio, Lillard talked about the shot and his reaction right after the play. The same as his wave goodbye, it was subtle but on the nose.
“That was for Seattle”
Dame is from Oakland but grew up in an era when the Sonics were one of the most exhilarating teams to watch. Like all basketball fans, he obviously felt Seattle got cheated out of their team, and this was his way of getting back at OKC.
OK, maybe his rivalry with Westbrook had something to do with it as well.