Paul George recently made the headlines when he demanded a trade from the Oklahoma City Thunder. Instead of keeping an unhappy superstar on their team, the Thunder decided to trade George to the Los Angeles Clippers in exchange for Danilo Gallinari, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, and future first-round picks. After losing George, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN revealed in his recent article that the Thunder are now also exploring the possibility of moving the face of the franchise, Russell Westbrook, and undergoing a full-scale rebuild.
Despite his lucrative contract that runs until the 2022-23 NBA season, Russell Westbrook is still expected to receive plenty of interest once he becomes officially available on the trading block. According to Brad Botkin of CBS Sports, one of the NBA teams that could take a chance to acquire Westbrook is the Orlando Magic.
“There are a couple ways Orlando, which remains in need of an impact point guard, could go about this. The first package would include Aaron Gordon, along with Markelle Fultz and D.J. Augustin. The Thunder get Gordon, who is locked up for the next three years on a pretty team-friendly deal at an average annual salary of about $19 million, and take a shot on Fultz. If he somehow comes out of his funk and rediscovers his game, the Thunder win huge. If not, the Thunder have added Gordon and cleared their books of Fultz and Augustin by next summer.”
In the proposed trade deal by CBS Sports, the Magic will be sending a trade package including Aaron Gordon, Markelle Fultz, and D.J. Augustin to the Thunder in exchange for Russell Westbrook. The deal works on ESPN‘s NBA Trade Machine.
If the deal becomes a reality, it will help both the Magic and the Thunder in filling up the needs to improve on their roster. The Magic will be finally acquiring an All-Star caliber point guard that they have looking for since the 2018 NBA offseason. Russell Westbrook will not only address the Magic’s backcourt issue, but he will also give them a very reliable option on the offensive end of the floor. Last season, the 30-year-old point guard averaged 22.9 points, 11.1 rebounds, 10.7 assists, and 1.9 steals on 42.8 percent shooting from the field and 29.0 percent shooting from beyond the arc.
Meanwhile, in exchange for Russell Westbrook, the Thunder will be acquiring two young and promising talents that could help them speed up the rebuilding process. Since being drafted as the No. 4 overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft, Gordon has shown lots of superstar potentials and qualities of a player who could become a face of the franchise. Markelle Fultz may have been a huge disappointment in his first two seasons in the NBA, but once he recovers his 100 percent health and brings back his former game, the former No. 1 overall pick could be the next star point guard in Oklahoma City.