In a surprise move, the Oklahoma City Thunders shipped out Paul George to the Los Angeles Clippers and was initially thought to rebuild around Russell Westbrook, the team's last remaining All-Star. However, one scenario is now shaping up in which Westbrook will also exit from the OKC and the team is left with younger talents in pursuit of long-term build up.
According to Yahoo Sports, OKC GM Sam Presti is now focused on overhauling the Thunders and part of the plan is put the 30-year-old Westbrook on the trading block. It seemed Presti is envisioning a more youthful Thunders lineup, which he can achieve with speed by sending Westbrook to interested teams.
In doing so, Presti will free the OKC of Westbrook's salary that could run $171 million over the next four years. Then he would have a bigger purse to hunt for new talents. But the question is where to shop Westbrook around?
Easily, the Houston Rockets come to mind since the team already has James Harden, a former Thunder, on its roster. To be sure, a deal with the Rockets will generate excitement as Westbrook playing again with Harden is a surefire huge NBA narrative. Houston can make this happen as Yahoo indicated on its report that the team is in search of another All-Star to pair with Harden, so the latter's ex-buddy has to be on top of the shopping list.
But in contention too are the Detroit Pistons. The team now counts two All-Stars and adding Westbrook, who also has an MVP badge, is not a bad proposition at all. It might be thought that having another superstar could prove awkward for the Pistons, according to CBS Sports.
The Pistons with Westbrook, Blake Griffin and Andre Drummond playing together seem "ill-fitting and very risky play," when it boils down to business sense, the report added.
Then there's the Miami Heat, which now boasts of a Jimmy Butler. Westbrook coming in might just be the boost that the team requires to relive the old glory of the LeBron James era that won championships. It's not far off that there might be a repeat of that glorious period.
Per CBS: "Westbrook ... and Butler together would seem to fit Pat Riley's star-player desires and Miami's hard-nosed culture."
Westbrook is likewise an attraction for the Minnesota Timberwolves and the Orlando Magic but the prospect of the OKC getting a good deal from these two teams, in fact, any other teams that might be interested in the former MVP, will significantly depend on Westbrook's salary package.
For the next three years, Westbrook is entitled to a total pay of $124 million with a player option worth $47 million for a fourth year. These figures serve as the stumbling block for the OKC to get a good exchange for trading its lone superstar.