Russell Westbrook is likely to stick it out with the Oklahoma City Thunder unless general manager Sam Presti has an ingenious plan to make sure they don’t end up empty.
Westbrook’s name has been in the trade rumor mill as of late, tied up to teams like the Boston Celtics and the Los Angeles Lakers. Such resulted from the departure of Kevin Durant, who Westbrook claims told him who would not leave.
Durant denied he ever said anything to his former court partner, saying it was false and that he never made any promises, Yahoo Sports reported.
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Regardless, Durant’s move is something that could happen again to the Thunder if they are not careful. They didn’t get anything in return for Durant and the same scenario looms in 2017.
Westbrook does not have plans to sign an extension with the Thunder, a move that doesn’t come as a surprise. He is expected to test the waters and listen to offers, which place his foot ‘technically’ out the door.
A lot of teams are bound to come in rushing, even the heavyweights like the Cleveland Cavaliers or the Miami Heat. With another round of salary spikes, most teams can offer ridiculous contracts in 2017.
Chicago Bulls A Possibility
One team that is likely to pitch to Westbrook are the Chicago Bulls. The team has unloaded some high-priced players in Derrick Rose, Pau Gasol and Joakim Noah and stand to have ample salary space by next season.
Despite being a poor shooter, he is still a valuable asset to any team. He can create situations and contribute in any department of the game. That talent makes Westbrook a prime talent, which could make him a valuable addition to the Bulls.
However, one has to consider the current lineup of the Bulls. They have Jimmy Butler and recently acquired Dwyane Wade and Rajon Rondo. A Westbrook coming crowds up the backcourt unless someone from the mix opts out or is sacrificed.
Butler has long been in trade talks though nothing has materialized. The story could, however, be different headed into the season and by 2017 NBA Free Agency.