With most NBA teams busy trying to reel in the top available stars in free agency, others who were not even mentioned this summer have suddenly entered the picture. And the curious thing about it all is that they come from only one team – the Oklahoma City Thunder.

The first name that popped up was Paul George. Just when most thought that the Thunder were allowing him and Russell Westbrook to get healthy, the 29-year-old suddenly made headlines when he was reportedly being traded to the Los Angeles Clippers. This came simultaneously with word that Kawhi Leonard had chosen to move to LA than stay with the Toronto Raptors for the 2019-20 NBA season, NBA.com reported.

Initially, most thought that the departure of George had something to do with resident star Russell Westbrook. But as it turns out, the OKC Thunder are inadvertently going on rebuild mode. This was practically confirmed by Agence France-Presse when word got out that the Thunder are looking to deal the 2017 NBA Most Valuable Player. And one team that is allegedly interested is the Houston Rockets, a team where Westbrook could reunite with former Thunder teammate in James Harden. A straight up trade is considered a long shot, meaning that the only way for this move to prosper is to involve multiple teams. Aside from the Rockets, the Detroit Pistons and the Miami Heat are said to be interested in the eight-time NBA All-Star as well.

There are several factors to consider. One is whether a Harden-Westbrook reunion would make sense. When both were teammates in Oklahoma, there was no denying both played second-fiddle to Kevin Durant. Harden saw his full potential come out when he moved to the Rockets while Westbrook went full throttle when Durant moved to the Golden State Warriors. Should Harden and Westbrook end up being teammates again, the question on how they can co-exist comes to mind.

The sudden decision of the Thunder to go into rebuild mode has left a lot of people baffled. However, if one is to factor in their performance last NBA season, the best most would have expected was the addition of new faces into the mix. Unlike other teams, the Thunder were hardly among the teams in hot pursuit of top names in the NBA free agent market. Equally interesting is when these rebuilding plans came into the picture. Was it their plan after the 2018-19 season or did it all start when teams like the Los Angeles Clippers and Los Angeles Lakers started hoarding the top names to their side for next NBA season?

Russell Westbrook
Russell Westbrook #0 of the Oklahoma City Thunder before the game against the Los Angeles Lakers during a 107-100 Thunder win at Staples Center in Los Angeles, Jan. 2, 2019. Harry How/Getty Images