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Thunder GM, owner praise Kevin Durant on his way out door

New Zealand Basketball Academy Launch

WELLINGTON, NEW ZEALAND - AUGUST 17: General Manager Sam Presti of the Oklahoma City Thunder speaks to media at a press conference during the New Zealand Basketball Academy Launch at ASB Sports Centre on August 17, 2014 in Wellington, New Zealand. (Photo by Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images)

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Thunder fans are in shock. They feel betrayed. They are understandably hurt.

Kevin Durant has chosen to play basketball for the Golden State Warriors. Up to the end, Thunder fans — and most of the league — thought he would return to them. He did not. The words a lot of them are using to describe their feelings and Durant are not ones I can repeat on this family-friendly site.

The team’s owner and GM took a much higher road in statements released by the team.
“Kevin made an indelible mark on the thunder organization and the state of Oklahoma as a founding father of this franchise,” Thunder president of basketball operations Sam Presti said in a statement. “We can’t adequately articulate what he meant to the foundation of this franchise and our success. While clearly disappointing that he has choosing to move on, the core values that he helped establish only lead us to thanking him for the many tangible and intangible ways that he helped our program.”

“Kevin’s contributions to our organization during his nine years were profound on and off the court,” majority owner Clay Bennett said in his statement. “He helped the Thunder grow and succeed in immeasurable ways and impacted the community just them same. We thank him for his leadership, his play, and how he represented Oklahoma City and the entire state of Oklahoma.”

Oklahoma City handled this a whole lot better than Dan Gilbert did in Cleveland.

Those men and the rest of the Thunder basketball brain trust face some very difficult decisions about the future direction of this franchise in the coming weeks and months.