The Oklahoma City Thunder are reeling, and why wouldn’t they be? A historically unprecedented series of NBA economics and misfortunes has led them to a likely franchise rebuild after Kevin Durant left them for the rival Golden State Warriors, and their grip on remaining superstar Russell Westbrook appears tenuous at best:
Westbrook is a free agent next summer, and the Thunder had hoped to get him locked down for the long term before they have to go through the fear and collapse, again, that comes with having one of your home-built darlings jump into the open marketplace with a rising NBA salary cap. But, as NBA.com David Aldridge reports above, Westbrook is not too keen on handing OKC the security they’re seeking, even if it does mean an all-in investment on Russ as the franchise centerpiece.
The natural speculation from these reports, and the Thunder’s overall circumstances, is that Westbrook is not long for his team, because OKC’s general manager Sam Presti can’t possibly think it’s a good idea to let him be courted and impressed the way Durant just was. Losing a player of KD’s stature and getting nothing in return is a devastation that the Thunder will probably never fully recoup. They can’t let it happen twice.