In the wake of the shocking trade that sent Paul George to the LA Clippers, rumblings have centered on the potential of another deal that would send Russell Westbrook elsewhere as the Oklahoma City Thunder pursue a re-tooling effort. Those whispers are now reportedly getting louder, as Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN brings word that both player and team could be motivated for an expedited conclusion.
ESPN’s reporting indicates that Westbrook and his agent “have been discussing trade possibilities and scenarios with the franchise” and that “the sides are both motivated to find a resolution sooner rather than later.” On one hand, that makes complete sense as Oklahoma City looks to press the reset button (at least to some degree) while also acquiring assets in exchange for Westbrook. On the other, Westbrook has been the undisputed face of the franchise in Oklahoma City since Kevin Durant headed for Oakland and the possibility of a swift exit is jarring.
Within the same report, Wojnarowski notes that “Westbrook wants to play for a team pursuing contention” and there is buzz that the Miami Heat could be interested in pairing the former NBA MVP with Jimmy Butler in the future. Still, there are obstacles in play, with Westbrook set to earn approximately $170 million over the next four seasons, all as a typical aging curve would suggest a decline in his on-court performance.
Much of the NBA world has descended on Las Vegas for Summer League festivities and, with that in mind, deals can come together in hasty fashion as parties can participate in face-to-face discussion. Nothing is assured at this point but, with this reporting in mind, Westbrook’s days in Oklahoma City might be numbered.