Sam Presti, the general manager of the Oklahoma City Thunder, was resigned to losing his star point guard Russell Westbrook as soon as Kevin Durant made the decision to head to the Bay area. The idea of losing two players of such value and receiving nothing in return is simply unthinkable, and Presti is well aware of this. Arguably the best-drafted team in NBA history has been shattered to pieces after the exits of James Harden and most recently Serge Ibaka and Durant. Westbrook remains as the lone ranger on a team that was once dubbed as having surefire championship potential. But his expected departure next summer has Presti rightly planning for the Thunder’s future by entertaining trade offers.
The Boston Celtics are strongly rumoured to be Westbrook’s next destination due to the sheer abundance of picks that they possess. OKC will certainly see value in the picks in order for a rebuild to take place, in hope that they can achieve a similar quality to what they’ve managed to draft in the last decade.
Howard Beck recently told Bleacher Report:
“What I’m hearing here in Las Vegas from some GMs: not only do they think Westbrook will get traded, but that it’ll be sooner rather than later, probably before the season starts, and that the most likely destination right now would be the Boston Celtics. That’s not surprising.
“Anybody following the NBA the last couple of years, we know Boston has been loading up on assets. They have a ton of picks, including great picks from Brooklyn Nets, and a bunch of young players. They have the ability to create a package that could get Westbrook there without giving up key pieces.
“They could still have Isaiah Thomas, Al Horford who they just signed, they could hold on to Jae Crowder presumably, and add Westbrook to that. That’s the concern or the challenge for any team trying to trade for Westbrook: not only do you have to be concerned about his free agency next summer, and you’re going to want some assurance that he’ll want to stay, but you have to be able to trade for him and still have enough players for him to play with when he arrives.”
This isn’t news considering the league’s knowledge of Boston’s healthy position in potential trade negotiations. However, after the Celtics recently bolstered their frontcourt with the acquisition of Al Horford, the franchise is only one All-Star away from competing in the Eastern Conference, having not made it past the first round of the playoffs since 2012. Russ would take the franchise to another level, particularly when considering that the East is still weaker than its Western sister.
The move may be closer than first anticipated after Kevin Nesgoda of Sonics Rising tweeted:
Nesgoda may have connections in the league but he is no Adrian Wojnarowski, which means there has to be more noise surrounding this possible trade for Celtics fans to start dreaming of a title. This is especially true when taking into account that there is no guarantee that Westbrook will re-sign with the Celtics at the end of the year, meaning that the Celtics may lose many valuable assets with nothing in return.
Can the move happen? Absolutely. What are the chances? Well Boston has naturally been linked with at least a few top players in every recent offseason, so at this point, your guess is as good as mine…