The Oklahoma City Thunder are confident they can retain Russell Westbrook in free agency next season or re-sign him to an extension this summer, according to NBA rumors.
After Kevin Durant left this offseason, the Thunder are also hopeful to find Westbrook a superstar partner by going after Blake Griffin of the Los Angeles Clippers when the forward becomes a free agent in 2017.
Reports earlier this week stated that Westbrook was angered by Durant’s decision to join the Golden State Warriors.
The superstar PG is motivated to prove that the Thunder can be a good team without KD next season and this could play a factor in his decision of either to renegotiate a contract extension with the Thunder this summer or explore free agency in 2017.
Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports confirmed that the likely scenario is that the Thunder and Westbrook agree to a contract extension even before the new NBA season starts. Wojnarowski also added, stating unnamed NBA sources, that Griffin from the Clippers is a likely target in free agency next year.
“For Westbrook, the most likely scenario for a renegotiation would be to use the Thunder’s cap space to guarantee he will stay under contract with the Thunder through the 2017-18 season,” Wojnarowski wrote.
“This would give Oklahoma City the chance to recruit one of its top targets – 2017 free agent and Oklahoma native Blake Griffin of the Los Angeles Clippers – to partner with Westbrook, league sources said.”
The 27-year-old Griffin, who averaged 21.4 points, 8.4 rebounds and 4.9 assists in the last season for the Clippers, was born in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma and attended high school and college in OKC.
Griffin is also mentioned in NBA rumors linking him to the Boston Celtics and Sacramento Kings in the 2016 offseason. Westbrook is also being linked to Boston although there are no concrete reports that there are actual trade talks between the Thunder and the Celtics.
A Blake Griffin and Russell Westbrook pairing could be big for the Thunder and with the Clippers high flyer as a good replacement for Durant. However, the duo can only play together starting next year if Griffin leaves Los Angeles in free agency or if either is traded this year.
For now, all are just NBA rumors, but if OKC can lock down Russell Westbrook to a contract extension this summer, OKC will be an attractive destination for free agents like Blake Griffin in 2017.
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