Russell Westbrook is discussing his future with the Oklahoma City Thunder in the wake of Saturday’s blockbuster trade — a future that include his own trade out of Oklahoma City.
In the early morning hours on Saturday, the Thunder pulled off one of the biggest blockbuster trades when they shipped Paul George to the Los Angeles Clippers to join Kawhi Leonard. The Thunder received an enormous haul of draft picks in return — seven first-round picks in total — and can now spark a top-to-bottom rebuild. They also received All-Rookie point guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, who could be a key part of a rebuild.
It is not clear yet if Russell Westbrook will be part of that rebuild. As ESPN reported, the former NBA MVP has already approached Thunder team management about his future with the team, including the possibility of a trade.
The report noted that Westbrook and his agent, Thad Foucher, have been engaged with Thunder general manager Sam Presti about the next steps of Westbrook’s career. Westbrook has reached this point before after Kevin Durant’s 2016 departure, but chose to re-commit to the Thunder and signed a contract extension.
That doesn’t seem likely to happen again, the report noted.
“The Thunder could rework the roster to try to remain competitive around Westbrook and Steven Adams, although that scenario is unlikely. Operating well over the salary cap with a projected salary tax payment of $43 million with the existing roster, the Thunder were in cost-cutting mode before George’s trade and will only accelerate on that front now,” the report noted.
The Thunder have struggled in recent years, being bounced from the first round of the playoffs in three consecutive seasons. The team shied away from a rebuild during this time, instead trying to build around Westbrook with additions like Carmelo Anthony and Paul George.
ESPN Sources: Russell Westbrook and his agent Thad Foucher are engaged with OKC GM Sam Presti on next steps for the All-Star guard, including the possibility of trade this summer. https://t.co/S69nu8Phqd
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) July 6, 2019
The Oklahoma City Thunder have already put Russell Westbrook up on the trade block once in the past 24 hours. As ESPN‘s Adrian Wojnarowski reported, Thunder general manager Sam Presti was dealing with both the Toronto Raptors and Los Angeles Clippers in the past day, offering a package of both George and Westbrook to the Raptors for NBA Most Improved Player Pascal Siakam and a large slate of draft picks.
The Raptors were unable to match the offer from the Clippers that included seven first-round draft picks, but the negotiations showed that the Oklahoma City Thunder are willing to deal Russell Westbrook as part of their rebuild.