The Oklahoma City Thunder might not have joined the pursuit of Kawhi Leonard in the 2019 NBA free agency, but they ended up being one of the NBA teams who’s greatly affected by his decision. On his way to the Los Angeles Clippers, Leonard heavily recruited Paul George and succeeded. Instead of keeping an unhappy superstar on their roster next season, the Thunder were left with no choice but to trade George to the Clippers in exchange for Danilo Gallinari, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, and future first-round picks.
After losing his lone superstar teammate, rumors have started to swirl around Russell Westbrook and his future with the Thunder. Without a clear path to title contention, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN revealed in his recent article that the Thunder are now exploring the possibility of trading Westbrook and undergoing a full-scale rebuild.
“Oklahoma City All-Star guard Russell Westbrook and his agent, Thad Foucher, are engaged with Thunder general manager Sam Presti about the next steps of Westbrook’s career, including the possibility of a trade before the start of next season, league sources told ESPN.”
Michael Shapiro of Sports Illustrated created several trade scenarios involving Russell Westbrook. Among the potential trade partners for the Thunder on his list, Shapiro believes that the Boston Celtics are the “most intriguing landing spot” for Westbrook.
“Boston may be the most intriguing landing spot if Danny Ainge continues to reshape the Celtics roster. The Celtics could offer a potential deal around Gordon Hayward and Jaylen Brown, choosing to pair Westbrook with the recently acquired Kemba Walker.”
If he is traded, Miami reportedly appeals to Russell Westbrook. https://t.co/vrlq2szNkx
— USA TODAY NBA (@usatodaynba) July 9, 2019
In the proposed trade deal by Sports Illustrated, the Celtics will be sending Gordon Hayward and Jaylen Brown to the Thunder in exchange for Russell Westbrook. The deal works on ESPN‘s NBA Trade Machine. If the trade becomes a reality, it will help the Celtics and the Thunder in filling up the needs to improve on their roster.
Russell Westbrook may be playing the same position as Kemba Walker, but if they manage to build good chemistry in Boston, the Celtics could have one of the most explosive backcourt duos in the league. Westbrook will give the Celtics an MVP-caliber point guard and triple-double machine. Last season, Westbrook 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, the potential acquisition of Jaylen Brown would give the Thunder the centerpiece of the title-contending team that they will try to build in the post-Russell Westbrook era. Brown has shown lots of superstar potentials since being selected as the No. 3 overall pick in the 2016 NBA Draft. Playing for a team where he can be the main option on the offensive end of the floor could help him speed up his development into a legitimate NBA superstar in the league.