Russell Westbrook is the hottest name in the trade market with NBA rumors linking him to teams like the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers recently. New reports this week state the even some of the NBA general managers (GMs) believe that the Oklahoma City Thunder have no choice but to let him go via a trade this summer.
In a Bleacher Report video, NBA analyst Howard Beck claimed that there is “strong suspicion” among NBA GMs that Westbrook is good as gone from the Thunder when he hits free agency in 2017.
The big factor in Westbrook’s decision is Kevin Durant’s choice to join the Golden State Warriors earlier this summer.
“I don’t think anybody knows for certain what Russell Westbrook wants to do or intends to next summer. 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,” Beck said.
“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.”
Presti, the Thunder’s general manager may be feeling the pressure of another Kevin Durant situation next summer and OKC can potentially lose Westbrook again for nothing in free agency.
However, the Thunder can get nice assets like young players and future draft picks for Westbrook, if they decide to trade him this 2016 offseason. NBA rumors have linked Westbrook mainly to the Celtics, because they have the young prospects and valued picks to offer to OKC.
“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 added.
Earlier in the week, NBA rumors out of Boston claimed that Danny Ainge is nearing a deal for a superstar although it’s not mentioned which NBA star will be coming to Boston. Aside from Westbrook, Sacramento Kings big man DeMarcus Cousins is also being linked to the Celtics.