Ever since the departure of Kevin Durant from Oklahoma City, tension have been on the rise for the Thunder. Rumors going around that Durant stabbed Westbrook in the back by lying to him by telling Westbrook he was coming back another year and that they would give it one more shot before entering free agency together. Even rumors around the league say people in Durant’s camp have talked ill of the Thunder superstar in Westbrook. What we know now is that The Thunder have an entire new roster to work with and that they still have a top five player in the league leading the team. No doubt the decision on what to do with Russell Westbrook will be the toughest decision Sam Presti will do in his time as general manager of the Thunder.
The fact of the matter is that Presti cannot trade Westbrook at the beginning or at the trade deadline. Arguments have been made on why we should trade him because if Westbrook does not commit to this team long term we might as well get something for him.
No one is going to be acquired of equal value if the Thunder decide to ship off Westbrook. Westbrook is a breed of his own and there is no one like him so acquiring lesser quality players will not help this team. Thunder nation should not worry too much about him leaving as much as everyone was worried about whether or not KD was leaving. Russell is reported to be the type of guy that stays to himself, doesn’t care about the glamour life, and isn’t shown publicly many times with other players throughout the league. It seems as if Russ is quite content with where he is at the moment and is looking forward to the challenge that is being presented to him.
Earlier this month Westbrook held a kids camp where a young swingman asked the Thunder star whether if he was going to leave too and Westbrook replied saying he was going to be around for a long time. Not saying that we should take Westbrook’s response to a child is the end all be all, but it seems he likes where he is at. That could all change as we have seen before with Durant.
With newly acquired players in 2016 draft pick Sabonis, Oladipo, and Ilyasova the Thunder are in good shape to have at least the fifth best team in the conference. The Thunder may even surprise us and remain a top three team in the conference as well. As long as the Thunder can remain a contender with Russell Westbrook and make a deep run into the playoffs the odds of him staying will be high.
Russell Westbrook knows he is top dog in Oklahoma City and has bought in to the fact Oklahomans want him to lead this team. We have seen Russ pretty much run this team two seasons ago when Durant basically missed the entire season due to the Jones fracture. Although they missed the playoffs they still had a good record and can be argued that the roster that they have now is better than the roster they had a couple seasons ago not including Durant.