The big names for this year’s NBA free agency are now off the market, which means trades will be the next agenda for most ball clubs. The Boston Celtics are no stranger to that, often mentioned in NBA trade rumors in recent weeks.
Right now, the Celtics are looking good. After failing to sign Kevin Durant, Danny Ainge set his sights on the next best thing – Al Horford. While most teams were busy trying to lure Durant, the Celtics managed to hook in a proven and talented big man from the mix.
But is Al Horford that last piece of Boston’s rebuilding puzzle? Trades are still expected and Ainge may be looking for more players to add. In exchange, it could mean dealing some of his key men like Jae Crowder, Marcus Smart or even Isaiah Thomas.
The Celtics have been christened as Isaiah Thomas’ team particularly because he is standing out among the rest. Talented as he may be, swapping him for someone like Russell Westbrook could happen. But the question is does the Thunder have any plans to actually trade their remaining star?
Russell Westbrook is expected to follow the same circus that former teammate Durant had this year. He will be courted by several teams, including the Thunder who wants a long-term deal for the mercurial All-Star guard.
But the kicker here is that there is now word that Westbook will not sign an extension according to NBA insider David Aldridge. If so, this means that Thunder do not have any hold on the scoring guard and could end up with nothing by the Summer of 2017.
Told emphatically by league source there’s no chance Russell Westbrook will do a renegotiation/extension of his contract (one yr remaining).
— David Aldridge (@daldridgetnt) July 4, 2016
Sam Presti would be wise to monitor the situation. He cannot afford to let the season pass and hope for the best in the same way that Durant did. If the Oklahoma City Thunder are to remain competitive, they need to start undertaking measures. That includes trading early and making sure they don’t end up empty-handed.
Boston could be a destination for Westbrook. But to make that happen, multiple players may be traded off. This is where Thomas, Crowder and Smart could end up as the baits. Ainge is likely aware of the Westbrook situation, holding out knowing that he stands to earn a record salary in 2017 thanks to the spiking salary cap.