Russell Westbrook is on his way out of Oklahoma City.
According to NBC Sports, several rival NBA general managers believe the Oklahoma City Thunder will try to trade Westbrook before the season starts. A trade would happen out of fear of losing him in free agency for nothing. Whether there is some truth to this NBA trade rumor remains to be seen, but expect a handful of teams lining up their offers for Russell Westbrook. If a trade does happen, it will cap a wild NBA offseason that featured a few of the league's big name players changing addresses.
The Oklahoma City Thunder could be considering moving Russell Westbrook in the wake of losing Kevin Durant in NBA free agency. The former NBA MVP opted to sign with the Golden State Warriors over Independence Day weekend. It was a move that stunned many, altering the competitive balance and the landscape of the league as a whole. Kevin Durant leaving the Thunder for the Warriors effectively eliminated most of the Western Conference teams from title contention. The Thunder, while perhaps being one trade away from returning to contender's status, is left with a questionable future.
With Russell Westbrook, they have a star who can attract other players to the smallest NBA market. Without him, the Thunder lose a lot of its mystique.If the Oklahoma City Thunder are indeed looking at trading Russell Westbrook, the multi-million dollar question is, where would they trade him to?
Some people think that Westbrook will likely land with the Boston Celtics. Bleacher Report's Howard Beck is banking on the Celtics being his destination (courtesy of Slam Magazine) if the Thunder does trade him.
"What I'm hearing here in Las Vegas from some GMs is that not only do they think Westbrook will get traded, that it'll be sooner rather than later, probably before the season starts. And that the most likely destination right now would be the Boston Celtics."The Boston Celtics are just one of several potential destinations for Russell Westbrook. Boston is ideal because they have the combination of players and draft picks that would satisfy the Oklahoma City Thunder. There are several other landing spots which could offer similar if not more enticing packages. The one team that immediately comes to mind is the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Along with Towns and Wiggins, who are untouchable, is a bevy of tradable players that could trounce just about any deal that can be offered to the Thunder. Oklahoma City may want to receive a guard with star qualities in return for Russell Westbrook. Rookie Kris Dunn provides a particular sizzle.
Already known for his defense leading up to the NBA Draft, Kris Dunn is wowing people with his athletic ability. His crossover dribble in his NBA Summer League debut became the talk of Las Vegas.Dunn's crossover move could quickly remind people of Russell Westbrook. Those same people are beginning to wonder if the Minnesota Timberwolves got lucky when he fell to them at No. 5.
Although it is just the Summer League, and the quality of the players are not the same, Kris Dunn appears to be just as good as Ben Simmons and Brandon Ingram. Because he seemingly has the ability to be a great player, he may appeal to the Thunder enough to want to do a deal.
Another player who the Timberwolves might be able to use in a possible trade for Russell Westbrook is Zach LaVine.
When you think of Zach LaVine, the first thoughts that come to mind are the two slam dunk contests he won. What gets ignored is the 18 points he averaged per 36 minutes. LaVine is only 21 years old and has plenty of room to grow. Having only played two seasons of NBA ball, LaVine would give the Thunder cap control for at least three more seasons.
Adding Russell Westbrook would make the Timberwolves a surefire playoff team, capable of winning a round or two in the postseason. Would Timberwolves' president and head coach Tom Thibodeau be willing to pull the trigger on a Russell Westbrook trade?
We will find out in the next coming days and weeks as the NBA's newest soap opera gains some steam. What we know right now is that the Oklahoma City Thunder may be resigned to trade Russell Westbrook. Just because many think that the Boston Celtics are the frontrunners to trade for him does not mean that is where he will go. The Minnesota Timberwolves appear to have the most to offer if they want to add Westbrook to their team.
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