3 Possible Trades For Russell Westbrook

3 Possible Trades For Russell Westbrook
Russell Westbrook Wikipedia Commons CC BY 2.0
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Russell Westbrook, a free agent next summer, is very likely to bolt from Oklahoma City. Thunder GM Sam Presti will reportedly consider trade offers for the superstar point guard as his team presses the reset button in the aftermath of the Kevin Durant-Russell Westbrook-Serge Ibaka Era.


Here, we explore three possible trades for the perennial MVP candidate:

Sending him home to L.A.

Lakers get: Russell Westbrook, Steven Adams and 2020 first-round draft pick
Thunder get: D’Angelo Russell, Brandon Ingram, Julius Randle, Lou Williams and Nick Young
ESPN Trade Machine: Approves

Why the Lakers would do it: They’d get the superstar that will likely help them regain elite status. While Russell, Ingram and Randle have solid potential, it could take them quite a few years to reach their ceiling. Westbrook and Adams are coming off good postseason performances.

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“This trade would give the Lakers two fantastic building blocks and set them up for next year’s free agency. And the pick ensures a young talent to help them stay afloat down the line,” writes ESPN insider David Thorpe.

Why the Thunder would it: Westbrook grew up in Long Beach, California, and played collegiate basketball for UCA. He also grew up a fan of the Lakers. Why not send him home?

In Russell, Ingram and Randle, Thunder would get a nice trio of youngsters to add to the core that already includes Domantas Sabonis, Victor Oladipo, Enes Kanter and Cameron Payne.

Thorpe explains: “OKC would have three talented young guys to start over, as they did when they drafted Kevin Durant, Westbrook and James Harden in succession from 2007 to 2009. While these players probably won’t hit the same heights, the Thunder are following a model similar to the one that allowed general manager Sam Presti to build a great team in the first place.”

Send him out East…

Thunder get: Marcus Smart, Jae Crowder, Amir Johnson and rights to the Celtics’ first-round pick swap with the Nets in 2017
Celtics get: Russell Westbrook
ESPN Trade Machine: Approves

Why the Celtics would do it: This trade could benefit both teams immensely. Celtics aren’t that high on Smart. Crowder can easily be replaced by rookie Jaylen Brown. Many experts feel that Boston is one superstar piece away from challenging Cleveland Cavaliers for the Eastern Conference crown.

ESPN insider Bradford Doolittle feels Westbrook and new acquisition Al Horford would make Celtics legitimate title contenders. “That knee-jerk reaction — that the Celtics are the obvious fit — remains true for me. Westbrook would boost Boston into the elite, teaming with Al Horford to make the Celtics a challenging opponent for Cleveland in a possible Eastern Conference finals.”

Why the Thunder would do it: In Smart and Payne, Thunder would have two young point guards to try and fill Westbrook’s giant shoes. In Crowder, OKC would get Durant’s temporary replacement at small forward. And most importantly, with the Nets’ 2017 draft pick, Thunder would get the opportunity to add a potential superstar at next year’s draft – which is loaded with great talent.

ESPN insider Steve Ilardi explains why the trade makes sense. “The Thunder would nab a coveted lottery pick, bring home native son Marcus Smart and yield an emerging two-way threat in Jae Crowder. Smart and Crowder would fit nicely with Victor Oladipo, Andre Roberson and Steven Adams to give the Thunder a stable of young defensive studs, a few complementary scorers (Anthony Morrow, Enes Kanter and Ersan Ilyasova) and a couple of talented youngsters (Payne and Domantas Sabonis).

Russell Westbrook: King of California?

Kings get: Russell Westbrook and Kyle Singler
Thunder get: DeMarcus Cousins and Willie Cauley-Stein
ESPN Trade Machine: Approves

Why the Kings would do it: Sacramento is willing to work through another year of DeMarcus Cousins’ tantrums unless a team is ready to send a superstar their way. With Rajon Rondo bolting in free agency, Sacramento is desperate for a quality point guard. Cauley-Stein is dispensable since they added Georgios Papagiannis and Skal Labissière on draft night.

ESPN insider Tom Haberstroh justifies the possible trade: “The Kings change the face of the franchise from Cousins to Westbrook, and Westbrook gets to head closer to home in California. I’m not sure Sacramento signs off on the deal without an assurance from Westbrook on a long-term deal, but it has to be better than the rotten situation with Cousins.”

Why the Thunder would do it: With the loss of Serge Ibaka, Oklahoma have lost a significant front court piece. Cousins and Cauley-Stein along with Adams and Kanter would give the best front court rotation in the league. That would also make Kanter a trade piece ahead of the next deadline.

Also, Cousins has two full years left on his contract. That would give Billy Donovan enough time to convince ‘Boogie’ that Oklahoma City Thunder gives him the chance to make deep playoff runs.

Where will Russell Westbrook be playing at the start of the next season? Would he commit to Thunder or request for a trade? Or would Sam Presti roll the dice for another season and hope that the superstar guard stays in town following next July?