The Oklahoma City Thunder are being set up in losing another one of their superstars. After Kevin Durant left for the Golden State Warriors this free agency, there are now rumors and speculations that Russell Westbrook won’t be signing a contract extension this summer and it could mean that OKC will be forced to trade their star point guard.
Like Durant this year, Westbrook is set to become an unrestricted free agent (UFA) next year. The Thunder are scared that they will lose another superstar in free agency and it would be better for the team to trade Westbrook this summer or during the 2016-2017 NBA Season.
As a UFA, Westbrook is free to choose to sign with any team after the new NBA season and the Thunder could lose him for nothing like they did with Durant this summer. Westbrook has been linked to many teams in NBA rumors including the Boston Celtics, Los Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles Clippers and even the New York Knicks.
However, new rumors that Westbrook is currently not demanding a trade from OKC and wants to play for another year for the team.
According to Royce Young of ESPN, the star PG does not want OKC to trade him this offseason from sources with “knowledge of the situation” but this would put the Thunder in a difficult spot of having Westbrook in the new season and then could lose him in 2017 free agency.
The article also pointed out that with the Thunder officially losing Dion Waiters to the Miami Heat this offseason, OKC now has a chance to renegotiate Westbrook’s current deal and give him a contract extension.
Westbrook’s decision will be affected by a lot of factors including his desire to be the franchise player for a team. Without Durant, Westbrook will now become the No. 1 option in OKC and the face of the Thunder franchise.
However, the Thunder’s roster is not that good compared to the other powerhouse teams in the West. The conference contenders are the Warriors, Clippers and San Antonio Spurs. The playoff teams look to be the Houston Rockets, Portland Trail Blazers, Memphis Grizzlies and Utah Jazz.
There is a real possibility that the Thunder miss the playoffs next season even with Westbrook as their primary option on offense.
Westbrook, who averaged 23.5 points, 7.8 rebounds, 10.4 assists and 2.0 steals for the Thunder last season will continue to be mentioned in NBA rumors this offseason. If the Thunder decides not to trade him yet, the same speculations will harass Westbrook and the team during the 2016-2017 NBA Season.
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