The Boston Celtics were hoping to make a serious run at Kevin Durant this offseason in free agency, but came up short. Durant decided to sign with the Golden State Warriors and the Celtics ended up signing star forward Al Horford. While they were unable to get their No. 1 free agency target, there is a chance that they could target another Oklahoma City Thunder superstar.
Russell Westbrook is left as the only star in Oklahoma City and there has been speculation that he could end up being traded. If he is indeed placed on the trade block, could the Celtics acquire the superstar point guard?
Sam Presti knows that Westbrook will be free to leave in free agency next offseason. He has not shown a desire to get a long-term deal done with the Thunder. Now that Durant is gone and the Warriors have formed an All-Star team, Westbrook could leave and try to form one of his own.
There is no question that Westbrook is one of the top players in the NBA. He showed that all season last year and seemed to take over as the alpha dog for the Thunder.
Last season with the Thunder, Westbrook ended up averaging 23.5 points, 10.4 assists, and 7.8 rebounds per game. He shot 45.4 percent from the field overall and knocked down 29.6 percent of his three-point shots. There are still plenty of ways that Westbrook can improve, which should scare opposing teams.
Figuring out a way to put a trade package together that would interest the Thunder might be the most difficult part of acquiring Westbrook for the Celtics.
Isaiah Thomas would likely have to be included, which Danny Ainge would be more than happy to do if they were getting Westbrook in return. Other pieces like Jae Crowder, Avery Bradley, and first round picks could be included, as well.
Boston would have to get a long-term agreement done with Westbrook before any trade. Acquiring him and risking him leaving next offseason would be a massive mistake. Westbrook might be interested in playing for the Celtics long-term, as they could offer him a chance to help build the team that he wants to play with.
Looking at the list of teams who could show interest in Westbrook, there is only one that stands out as having a better chance to put together a reasonable trade package for the point guard. The Los Angeles Lakers have more young talent to move, although they may be happy with the pieces that they’ve put together.
If the Celtics do end up making a deal for Westbrook, they would immediately move up to the top of the Eastern Conference. They would have trouble beating the Cleveland Cavaliers, but would be able to compete with teams like the Toronto Raptors, Chicago Bulls, and Indiana Pacers who are also expected to be at the top of the conference standings.
Needless to say, it will be interesting to see what the Thunder end up deciding to do with Westbrook.
Brad Stevens would likely be more than happy to have Westbrook as his starting point guard. It would make things much easier on him and Westbrook and Horford would likely fit very well together. Boston may not end up making a serious inquiry about Westbrook, but they certainly should.
Expect to hear a lot of rumors surface about Westbrook and don’t be surprised if the Celtics are mentioned as an interested team. They have been looking to make a big splash over the past couple of years, but haven’t been able to get a deal done. Westbrook would be exactly the kind of move they’ve tried to make and would change the future for the Celtics.
Do you think the Boston Celtics should look to acquire Russell Westbrook from the Oklahoma City Thunder? What package of players and picks do you think it would take to get him? Let us know your thoughts in the comment box below!
[Photo by AP Photo/Jonathan Bachman]