Is Russell Westbrook’s Time in Oklahoma City Coming to an End?
The biggest surprise of the NBA offseason to this point has more than likely been the collapsing state of the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Out of no where, there was MVP runner-up Paul George being shipped out in the middle of the night to the Los Angeles Clippers. The following morning, word came out that both franchise superstars George and Russell Westbrook were close to being dealt north of the border to Toronto.
While the Toronto Raptors reportedly declined giving up the farm for Westbrook and George, Westbrook’s future with the Thunder remains uncertain. For the first time in his tenure with the franchise, the Thunder are apparently taking phone calls for the veteran star guard. Moreover, Westbrook has allegedly spoken to management and will accept a trade if it is to occur.
Story filed to ESPN: In aftermath of Paul George’s departure, OKC star Russell Westbrook is welcoming to idea of Sam Presti engineering a trade that would bring an end to his illustrious 11-year Thunder tenure. Miami's expressed interest, a destination that appeals to Westbrook.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) July 8, 2019
That being said, three-to-four teams have risen as favourites to land Westbrook if he is to be dealt.
The Houston Rockets, New York Knicks, Detroit Pistons, and the Miami Heat have all expressed interest in the point guard. The Rockets in particular are hoping to land a third star, but salary issues may prohibit it from ever happening. Reports have suggested that Westbrook and the Heat have mutual interest, especially following the free agent signing of All-Star Jimmy Butler.
The major issue in orchestrating any sort of trade centred around Westbrook will be the salary cap. Westbrook is due to make $170-million over the next four years.
Nevertheless, although an inefficient scorer, Westbrook has averaged a triple-double in each of his last three seasons. The soon-to-be 31-year old point guard has shown no signs of slowing down after a season in which he averaged 22.9-points, 11.1 rebounds and 10.7 assists.
If Westbrook is to be traded in the offseason, this has a similar feel to the Kyrie Irving-Cleveland Cavaliers saga, where a traded did not occur until the end of the Summer.