Wanted: Top 5 Point Guard for Sale
OKC featured Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, James Harden and Serge Ibaka at one point in time and were just a few games shy from winning the NBA Championship. Now the only one left is Russell Westbrook. If you are Sam Presti, GM of the Oklahoma City Thunder what are you feeling? Is this a punch from Mike Tyson to the gut? Is this just the beginning of the next challenge? Are you ready to jump like Tommen from Game of Thrones? You traded James Harden and came with Steven Adams and Mitch McGary. You traded Serge Ibaka for Victor Oladipo, Domantas Sabonis and Erysan Illavosa. Now Kevin Durant left and you got nothing for that so the last thing that OKC should do is trade Russell Westbrook.
The late great Jerry Buss arguably one of the greatest owners in all of sports once told a frustrated Kobe in 2004, “you’re a 5 karat diamond I can’t trade you for 5 one karat diamonds” Is this same thought process Sam Presti is using with respect to trading Russell Westbrook. Russell Westbrook is a Top 5 player in the league and will garner a lot of assets back to OKC which will then ease the transition of a rebuild. Man oh man the talent they had deserves an ESPN 30 for 30 ASAP. Kevin Durant has gone to the Warriors and with Westbrook being a free agent next summer I doubt he will stay in OKC. So you might as well get as much as you can now for him. The sooner the better because the market right now is booming with this new salary cap but the closer you get to the trade deadline the smaller the market becomes. Sure, OKC can offer Westbrook an extension but I don’t see him signing that therefore the next move is to trade him. Let’s not forget Russell Westbrook did lead OKC to the playoffs while KD was hurt so it’s not like OKC will be at the bottom of the barrel but since the West is so stacked any change creates a domino effect. If I’m Sam Presti I would want to trade Westbrook now because I don’t want to be the guy known for letting two of the Top 5 players in the league leave my team and I don’t get anything in return. If you wait until the season starts then the contracts becomes locked in which means the money each team has will be different and could shrink the trade market very quickly.
If I’m Sam Presti, I’m contacting three teams expeditiously: Philadelphia 76ers, Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers. Each of these teams has young talent and draft picks that could warrant trading Russell Westbrook.
Here are three trade scenarios:
Thunder: Ben Simmons, Jahlil Okafor and Timothe Luwawau, 2018 first and second round pick
76ers: Russell Westbrook, Dion Waiters, Ersan Illaysova
This would be tough because Simmons has the potential to be a superstar. Shit he almost had a triple double in his first summer league game but if you want Westbrook you gonna have to pay. Don’t act it would be the first time a number one pick gets traded before they play their first game.
Thunder: Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart, Avery Bradley 2 first round picks not owned by the Brooklyn Nets
Celtics: Russell Westbrook
With the addition of Al Horford, Boston has become a dangerous team in the East but they still that piece that can possibly beat Cleveland in the playoffs. Al Horford with Russell Westbrook, Isaiah Thomas, Marcus Smart and other pieces can definitely help them.
- Thunder/ Lakers
Thunder: D’Angelo Russell, Julius Randle, Brandon Ingram, 2018 first round pick
Lakers: Russell Westbrook
Russell is from LA. LA needs star power. Case closed. According to my brother, he would trade everybody even Jim Buss and Mitch Kuchpek for Westbrook.
Other teams that could spark OKC’s interest: Knicks and Wizards
Thunder: Derrick Rose, Kristaps Porzinigis
Knicks: Victor Oladipo and Russell Westbrook
This is a real chin hair grabber because Porzinigis has no ceiling. Like he could be better than Patrick Ewing but then again if you can acquire a guard who can have a bigger impact than Walt Frazier in the mecca of basketball what would you choose? Then again if Derrick Rose or Brandon Jennings or both ball out in NYC would you really need Westbrook then because either way big fella is gonna flourish regardless.
Thunder: John Wall, Kelly Oubre, first round pick
Wizards: Westbrook and Enes Kanter
If you gonna lose a top PG then you have to gain another one in return correct. If I’m Ernie Grunfeld you might as well swing for the fences because you can be fired at any minute. Enes Kanter is better than both of your current bigs so you would be upgrading at two positions with one move.
The first three teams can give him the most money next year especially if you’re the Lakers because he’s from LA so that could be a match made in heaven. This isn’t the first time this happened and it won’t be the last. This occurs in 2011 when Carmelo Anthony was traded from the Nuggets to the Knicks for everyone you can think of. Denver won 57 games that season after trading Carmelo so anything is possible if they decide to trade Westbrook. On the other hand, the longer you wait the smaller the market becomes which means Sam Presti can’t demand as much as he can now. Just make sure if you trade Westbrook you get valuable assets who can contribute immediately because you don’t want to be known as the guy who let Serge Ibaka, James Harden, Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook and now you become a basement dweller. Let the phone calls begin. Is it worth the risk who knows but it’s a risk you have to take.