There are plenty of reasons why this was the case. First, convincing any player that can choose their destination to choose to live on the prairie with tens of millions of dollars burning a hole in their pocket is a tough sell. That is made exponentially more difficult by the inability to sell those players on joining a winning franchise. The rebuild plan is not offering that in the near future. So, that really only leaves Thunder brass with the option of overpaying to convince players to join the team. That is not an attractive option at this time because it ruins flexibility moving forward.