Russell Westbrook has already made it known he intends to play out the 2016-17 NBA season with the Oklahoma City Thunder and ponder on his future next summer. This means that any trade rumors linking the scoring guard will be shelved for now.
But that hardly prevents critics from making their own theories, which may not happen now but somewhere in the season. And the consensus is that the Boston Celtics are the looming team that will still prevail over the rest.
What Is Sam Presti Thinking Right Now?
The Thunder found themselves on the losing end this Summer with Kevin Durant departing and getting nothing in exchange. The same scenario is expected for next season with Westbrook.
The 27-year-old guard does not plan to sign any extension with the Thunder this season as he plans to test NBA free agency in 2017. It is this reason why critics believe that general manager Sam Presti will eventually pull a surprise trade.
Presti is no stranger to doing this kind of deal. He did it with James Harden, Reggie Jackson and most recently Serge Ibaka. The general manager may have one in mind and it will likely involve Westbrook.
Will Boston Pay Ransom For Westbrook?
Dan Favale of the Bleacher Report speculates some post-NBA free agency scenarios. The scenario would see Westbrook dealt to the Boston Celtics in exchange for Jaylen Brown, Avery Bradley, R.J. Hunter, a 2017 first-round pick (right to swap with Brooklyn Nets), and a 2019 lottery-protected first-round pick (from Los Angeles Clippers, via Boston)
That looms as quite a haul, but it may depend on Danny Ainge willingness to take a gamble. The addition of Westbrook is undoubted but the thing is that it may end up short-term. With that in mind, a crazy deal like this may be too much for Ainge to consider.
A deal for Westbrook may come down near the end of the regular season. The team that would pull the trigger may consider him if they are in a position to do good in the playoffs and make a serious run for the NBA title. Should that be the case, a short-term investment could be beneficial and seeing Westbrook stay or walk may no longer matter.