While several teams underwent serious makeovers this summer, one elite team more or less stood pat and instead focused on keeping its successful core in tact. The Thunder re-signed Serge Ibaka to a four-year, $48MM extension and even though they appear to be hard-pressed for financial flexibility, they will now turn their attention to keeping James Harden in Oklahoma City for the long-term.
Some may say that a team that doesn't improve from one year to the next will get left behind, but it's hard to imagine that being the case for the richly-talented and young Thunder. Another year of experience under the belts of Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, Harden, and Ibaka accounts for more of an upgrade than most clubs could ever hope for. Meanwhile, the Thunder will have to butt heads with improved conference rivals including the Nuggets, Clippers, and of course, the super-charged Lakers. All things considered, how many games do you see the Thunder winning in 2012/13?