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Billy Donovan shows appreciation for departed Thunder players


Oklahoma City Thunder coach Billy Donovan is tasked of helping the team rebuild after losing All-Stars Russell Westbrook and Paul George during the offseason. Both players requested a trade and OKC’s front office decided to let them go and start over. Still, Donovan is thankful for them and other players who are no longer with the team, per Berry Tramel of Oklahoman.com.

“For me personally, I loved Raymond Felton. I loved being around Raymond Felton. I’ll miss Raymond not being here. You spend four years with Russell. I’ll miss those guys. I’ll miss the relationship piece of it with those guys.

“Paul was a great guy. Even like the Carmelo year, I know that experiment maybe wasn’t great, but he was a great guy, Carmelo. You get to know them really as people. So I’ll miss all those guys as people.”

The past two years have been rough for OKC, who have tried to build a superteam of their own. They traded for Carmelo Anthony and George in 2017 after Kevin Durant left the team to join the Golden State Warriors. The Thunder had hoped for Melo, PG, and Westbrook to finally lead the team to a title, but they ended up getting eliminated in the first round of the playoffs. The following season, OKC traded Melo and re-signed George to a long-term deal. But nothing’s changed. They were still eliminated in the opening round of the postseason.

Still, nobody thought that the Thunder would be pressing the reset button this early. Then again, here they are, back to the drawing board, hoping to get things right this time around.