In 2006, the SuperSonics were sold for $350 million to a group of Oklahoma City investors led by Clay Bennett, a move approved by NBA owners the following October. In 2007, Bennett announced that the franchise would move to Oklahoma City as soon as the lease with Key Arena expired.
In June 2008, a lawsuit between the City of Seattle and Bennett regarding Bennett’s attempts to break the final two years of the Sonics’ lease at KeyArena went to federal court, and nearly a month later the two sides reached an agreement to settle. The terms awarded the city $45 million to get out of the remaining lease at KeyArena, and could provide an additional $30 million payment to Seattle in 2013 if certain conditions are met. The owners agreed to leave the SuperSonics name, logo and colors in Seattle for a possible future NBA franchise; however, the items would remain the property of the Oklahoma City team along with other “assets,” including championship banners and trophies. On September 3, 2008, the team name, logo, and colors for the Oklahoma City franchise were revealed to the public. The name “Thunder” was chosen due to Oklahoma being a frequent victim of powerful storms for its location in the Tornado Alley, and Oklahoma City housing the 45th Infantry Division, the Thunderbirds.
On May 22, 2007, the SuperSonics were awarded the 2nd pick in the 2007 NBA Draft, equaling the highest draft position the team has ever held. They selected Kevin Durant out of Texas. On June 28, 2007, the SuperSonics traded Ray Allen and the 35th pick of the 2nd round (Glen Davis) in the 2007 NBA Draft to the Boston Celtics for rights to the 5th pick Jeff Green, Wally Szczerbiak, and Delonte West.
After the 2015 season Kevin Durant left the team in free agency for the Warriors. The move was not well received by the public or NBA analysts, with many comparing the move to LeBron James’ 2010 off-season departure from Cleveland to join the Miami Heat. On July 7, he was officially introduced by the Warriors organization and signed a two-year, $54.3 million contract, with a player option after the first year.
On August 4, 2016, Westbrook agreed to a 3-year extension to remain with the Thunder. With an average of 31 points, 11.3 assists, and 10.8 rebounds Westbrook is the first player since Oscar Robertson to still be averaging a triple double on the season in the month of December.
The Oklahoma City Thunder is an American professional basketball team based in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The Thunder competes in the National Basketball Association (NBA) as a member club of the league’s Western Conference Northwest Division. The team plays its home games at Chesapeake Energy Arena. The Thunder’s NBA Development League affiliate is the Oklahoma City Blue, which it owns. The Thunder is the only team in the major professional North American sports leagues based in the state of Oklahoma.
The team was originally established as the Seattle SuperSonics, an expansion team that joined the NBA for the 1967 – 1968 season. The SuperSonics relocated in 2008 after a settlement was reached between the ownership group led by Clay Bennett and lawmakers in Seattle, Washington following a lawsuit. In Seattle, the SuperSonics qualified for the NBA playoffs 22 times, won their division six times, and won the 1979 NBA Championship. In Oklahoma City, the Thunder qualified for their first playoff berth during the 2009 – 2010 season. They followed that success by winning their first division title as the Thunder in the 2010 – 2011 season and their first Western Conference championship as the Thunder in the 2011 – 2012 season, appearing in the NBA Finals for the fourth time in franchise history and first since 1996, when the club was based in Seattle.
Seattle – Oklahoma City
1967 – Present / National Basketball Association
2008 – Present / Oklahoma City Thunder
1967 – 2008 / Seattle SuperSonics
Thunder – When the Seattle SuperSonics relocated to Oklahoma City after the 2007 – 2008 season, fans voted on potential nicknames from an original list of 64 possibilities. Thunder was chosen over Renegades, Twisters, and Barons, and the name was extremely well received. The team set sales records for the first day after the nickname was revealed. Oklahoma City housing the 45th Infantry Division, the Thunderbirds.
NBA Championships 0
2012 – Present / Chesapeake Energy Arena
2010 – 2011 / Oklahoma City Arena
2008 – 2010 / Ford Center
1995 – 2008 / KeyArena at Seattle Center
1985 – 1994 / Seattle Center Coliseum
1978 – 1985 / Kingdome
1967 – 1978 / Seattle Center Coliseum
2006 – Present / Professional Basketball Club, LLC
2001 – 2006 / Howard Schultz
1983 – 2001 / Barry Ackerley
1967 – 1983 / Sam Schulman
1 Gus Williams
4 Nick Collison
10 Nate McMillian
19 Lenny Wilkens
24 Spencer Haywood
32 Fred Brown
43 Jack Sikma
– Bob Blackburn
*Blue is this team’s history