I think the ensuing Thunder season could make a mini-scandal wherein the league finally has to give serious consideration to realignment. Hypothetically, the Thunder go 7-18 without Durant and Westbrook and then they both return and they go, let’s say, 42-15 – a 60-win pace over the course of a full season, finishing 49-33. But the Thunder miss the playoffs, because they lose a tiebreaker to the 49-33 Suns. Meanwhile, the 36-46 Pistons make the playoffs in the East.
That would just seem really bad for the league that a healthy Thunder team miss the playoffs, because, for about the 15th year in a row, the West is exceedingly better than the East. I don’t understand why there’s never been a loud call for conference realignment (comparable to say, the push, and recent failed vote, for lottery reform), even though it was outrageous, to give but one example, that the Suns missed the playoffs but the Hawks and Bobcats made it. Maybe the Thunder season will change that.