The Oklahoma City Thunder has made up its mind as rumors are swirling that they would be trading Russell Westbrook before the start of the new season in the NBA and a deal with the Los Angeles Lakers would seem fit for their rebuilding.
Many analysts believe that Thunder manager Sam Presti will hand down a decision that will bring another shocker to the league. The Thunder has always been proactive with their decisions in moving players such as the case of James Harden, Serge Ibaka, and Reggie Jackson. Many have speculated that the Thunder will either trade Westbrook before the start of the season and rumors are quite compelling that they may trade him with the Lakers.
The Thunder sees a future in the assets that the Lakers possess. However, if the Lakers want to make a move on the veteran point guard, now is the right time.
Howard Beck of Bleacher Report believes that the Celtics also have assets that would compel the Thunder to strike that deal offer. The Lakers should try to make decisions that would further strengthen their rebuilding process.
“What I’m hearing here in Las Vegas from some GMs is that not only do they think Westbrook will be traded but it will be sooner rather than later. Probably before the season starts and the most likely destination right now is the Boston Celtics,” Beck said.
Many would agree that the Lakers’ rebuilding process in the post-Kobe Bryant era is taking shape and they would want to preserve their intentions on pursuing Westbrook, not until next summer. But if the Celtics make a move now and are able to sign him, then it would be a big blow to the Lakers as well.
Westbrook has already stated that he will not re-negotiate any extension offers from the Thunder and has a strong stand in going into free agency next year. With that said, the Thunder is looking for a way to get something out of the notion of losing Westbrook and not gaining anything in return by next year.
Beck added that the Thunder is looking to trade Westbrook before the start of the season and the Celtics are getting an upper hand as of now. For the Thunder, it is the best logical step to do as they believe that they could recover from it since Kevin Durant deserted them and signed with the Golden State Warriors.
“I don’t think anybody knows for certain what Russell Westbrook wants to do or intends to next summer,” said Beck. “But that said, let’s just say there’s a very strong suspicion, a strong belief among rival GMs that Russell Westbrook is not intending to stay and that he would leave next summer when he hits free agency. Because of that, the logical next step for Sam Presti, who is always ahead of the curve on these things, will look to trade him. I don’t know that this is happening at this point.”
Things are shaping up leading to the start of the new season and now the Thunder is in for a chess match. They have Westbrook as their ticket in rebuilding their roster and both the Lakers and Celtics have assets that would give them the leverage in signing him up. Both teams are looking at how the other would address such situation, but seeing their rivalry in the past it will be an exciting summer to remember.
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