Rumors and speculations are now swirling around the Phoenix Suns, who are reportedly trading Eric Bledsoe and Devin Booker for Russell Westbrook of the Oklahoma City Thunder. However, the trade will only proceed once the Suns get an assurance from the Thunder superstar that he will re-sign with them in 2017 NBA free agency.
Kevin Durant’s decision to leave has dealt a huge damage to the Oklahoma City Thunder. They have not only lost their franchise player but also threatened to lose one of their superstars, Russell Westbrook. The 27-year-old point guard was reportedly not signing an extension with the Thunder, giving him the chance to become a free agent next year.
Told emphatically by league source there's no chance Russell Westbrook will do a renegotiation/extension of his contract (one yr remaining).
— David Aldridge (@daldridgetnt) July 4, 2016
Jason McIntyre of The Big Deal suggested that the Thunder should trade him before the 2016-17 NBA season starts. It will be a better move than freeing Russell Westbrook in 2017 NBA free agency without getting anything in return.
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,” Kurtenbach said.
“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.”
One of the NBA teams that are reportedly interested in trading for Russell Westbrook is the Phoenix Suns. The Suns have plenty of young talents that will surely attract the Thunder. Though they have promising and skilled players, their roster is obviously in need of a superstar to reach a higher level next season.
According to Kyle Fleeger of Valley of the Suns, the Suns could trade Devin Booker and Eric Bledsoe for Russell Westbrook. Eric Bledsoe may not be as good as Westbrook, but he is also a starting caliber and has proven himself in the league. Devin Booker, who is one of the promising players in the league, can help a lot if the Thunder will start rebuilding their team next season.
If the Phoenix Suns are serious in trading for Russell Westbrook, they should assure that he will re-sign with them in 2017 NBA free agency. If he disagrees, it will be best for the Suns not to pursue the deal and continue their journey with the assets they have.
Photo courtesy: Keith Allison/Wikimedia Commons