The 27-year-old small forward Russell Westbrook is reportedly not extending or renegotiating his contract with the Oklahoma City Thunder. His decision is mainly affected by Kevin Durant, who chose to sign with the Golden State Warriors in free agency.
Russell Westbrook is the remaining piece that revived the legacy of Oklahoma City Thunder (former Seattle Supersonics). Recalling in 2012, James Harden was traded to the Houston Rockets. In the recent NBA draft night, the Thunder gave their power forward Serge Ibaka to the Orlando Magic and received Victor Oladipo, Ersan Ilyasova, and Domantas Sabonis in return.
Meanwhile, the Oklahoma City Thunder star player, Kevin Durant, decided not to re-sign with the team and joined the 73-9 win Golden State Warriors. Russell Westbrook will become a free agent next year and there are speculations that he will also choose to leave.
With this, Jason McIntyre of The Big Deal suggested that the Thunder should trade him before the 2016-17 NBA season starts. It will be the best move rather than freeing Russell Westbrook in 2017 NBA free agency without getting anything in return.
“One option the team is considering is attempting to renegotiate and extend the contract of Westbrook before he can become a free agent after next season, sources told ESPN.”
“If Westbrook chooses not to extend his contract this summer, multiple league executives told ESPN they believe the Thunder will consider fielding trade offers for Westbrook.” Brian Windhorst of ESPN wrote.
Several NBA teams are reportedly interested in trading for Russell Westbrook. These includes the Los Angeles Lakers, Boston Celtics, Chicago Bulls, New York Knicks, Los Angeles Clippers and Orlando Magic.
Dieter Kurtenbach of Fox Sports gave some reasons on why trading for Russell Westbrook makes sense for any NBA teams:
“If the Thunder trade Westbrook today, they would also be trading away the right to sign him to a contract that puts them over the salary cap and the right to sign him to a five-year deal with 7.5 percent raise increases per year.”
“If you trade for Westbrook now, you also trade for the ability to give him a contract no one else can match this time next year. That’s worth an awful lot.”
However, the situation still depends on how will the Oklahoma City Thunder convince Russell Westbrook to stay and renegotiate his contract. They have enough time his summer to rebuild their roster and become a more attractive destination for other NBA superstars. However, if things don’t go on their way, there is a higher possibility that it will also be a farewell with Westbrook.
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