Russell Westbrook is one of the best players in the NBA and has made history with his ability to record triple-doubles on any given night. Despite the individual success that Westbrook has had for the Oklahoma City Thunder, the team has yet to see him lead them to a championship. It appears that some think the team should consider moving on from him.
According to a report from ESPN’s Zach Lowe, many people around the NBA believe that the Thunder should trade Westbrook. There is almost zero chance of that actually happening, but it is intriguing, to say the least.
“There’s an increasing number of people around the league who think the Thunder should look at trading [Russell] Westbrook. To be clear, not a report. Not Thunder sources think they should do this. Just in spitballing ideas with teams around the league, there’s a number of people who have heard, just like, ‘It’s time for something to change here.'”
During the 2017-18 regular season with the Thunder, Westbrook averaged a triple-double for the second straight year. He ended up with 25.4 points, 10.3 assists, and 10.1 rebounds per game. Those numbers show just how valuable of a player Westbrook is for the Thunder.
Last offseason, Westbrook signed a five-year, $205 million extension with the Thunder. He has remained loyal to the Thunder, and it would seem strange for the team to move him after his first season of the extension.
Sam Presti, the general manager for the Thunder, went out and brought in both Paul George and Carmelo Anthony via trades last offseason. They were expected to team with Westbrook to create a formidable “big three” that could compete with the Houston Rockets and Golden State Warriors in the Western Conference.
Dwight Howard says Russell Westbrook should have sacrificed more (via @GetUpESPN).— SLAM Magazine (@SLAMonline) May 8, 2018
"I watched Carmelo and Paul George at times, and they were just standing there, watching" https://t.co/YP6IP6UhCd pic.twitter.com/em4ir9PjED
Unfortunately, the Thunder ended up struggling throughout the majority of the regular season and were eliminated by the Utah Jazz in the first round of the NBA Playoffs.
Due to their lack of success, the Thunder are a team to watch heading into the offseason. George will test the free agency waters and is currently expected to leave town. Anthony is still owed just under $28 million next season should he choose to opt in to his contract. He is expected to opt in, which will put the Thunder in a tough position.
Expect to see the Thunder be active this offseason as they try to bring George back to town. If they are unable to do so, unloading Anthony will become a priority.
Westbrook isn’t going anywhere this offseason unless something unexpected happens, but it is certainly intriguing to see people around the league thinking that the Thunder should move on from their star.