Now that Paul George is gone to the Clippers, could the Oklahoma City Thunder trade their franchise star, Russell Westbrook, next?
With Paul George now traded to the Los Angeles Clippers, there are some who believe that Russell Westbrook could be the next superstar out the door in Oklahoma City.
Probably this summer.
According to multiple reports, Westbrook’s agent, Thad Foucher, is holding discussions with Thunder GM Sam Presti on his client’s future with the franchise. Included in the talks is the potential that the Thunder could deal Westbrook this summer, which would surely send shockwaves through the league.
In all actuality, that may be the best possible recourse for Oklahoma City right now.
Sitting deep in the luxury tax, the Thunder were unable to build a team around George and Westbrook, and even with George in L.A., the Thunder are still $15 million above the luxury tax. Since this will be their second-straight year paying the tax, Oklahoma City will have the dubious honor of having to pay a “repeater’s tax,” which would make little sense for a team that will not be competing for a title this upcoming season.
Which brings us back to Westbrook.
There is little doubt that he is the franchise centerpiece, but he will also be 30-years-old come to the start of the season, and given his “go-all-out” style of play, he has a lot of mileage under his hood. So would it make sense for the Thunder to try to build around him, even though they’re over the luxury tax threshold? Or would it make more sense for Oklahoma City to just blow it all up?
If you’re a Thunder fan, you should be rooting for the latter.
If the Thunder decides to trade their franchise guard, there will be a market. After all, Westbrook is one of the best players in the NBA and teams both at the bottom and top of the NBA could look to swing a deal to bring him on board.