After Kevin Durant signed with the Golden State Warriors, the Oklahoma City Thunder are going to listen to offers for Russell Westbrook. According to the latest NBA rumors, the Los Angeles Lakers are a strong candidate to acquire Westbrook. However, should they trade for him now or just wait for the 2017 free agency?
The Thunder wants to re-sign Westbrook to a long-term contract but the 27-year-old superstar is not planning to sign or even negotiate a new deal, per KOCO.com. He is set to become a free agent after the 2016-17 season and the Lakers are the favorites to sign him.
Westbrook was born and raised in Long Beach, California and he went to play college basketball at UCLA. It will be like a homecoming and Los Angeles would welcome him with open arms. But should they try and trade him for now?
According to Forbes, the Thunder will likely ask for D’Angelo Russell and Brandon Ingram for Westbrook. It is a fair trade on paper but the Lakers probably don’t like to part ways with Ingram, the second overall pick of this year’s draft and a future superstar in the NBA.
They could wait for Westbrook to become a free agent and sign him, but that’s not even a guarantee. Just ask Oklahoma City. Teams such as the Boston Celtics and New York Knicks will try to lure the five-time All-Star.
LA should only pull the trigger to send Russell and Ingram to the Thunder if they can be assured that Westbrook will sign a contract extension. The Lakers would be in a good position to become contenders, as well as a potential destination for free agents again if they have a top five player like Westbrook.
Sam Presti and the Thunder will listen to offers this offseason but they will try their best to convince their lone superstar to stay until the start of the 2016-17 season. They probably won’t so expect the Thunder to deal him before the deadline or risk losing another superstar for nothing.
As for the Lakers, they can take the risk of signing Westbrook in free agency. Their future is already set even without him with players such as Russell, Ingram, Jordan Clarkson, Julius Randle and possibly, another top draft selection next year.