The Oklahoma City Thunder have just been knocked out of the playoffs in the first round for the third straight time now, with Russell Westbrook getting really exposed in both ends of the hardwood once again.
It just feels as the Thunder will never win a Championship with Westbrook on the team, and while he managed to recruit Paul George and is a hell of a player, they may be wise to try and move on from him.
Westbrook deserves a fresh start elsewhere. He’s great, but he hasn’t even been able to win a road game in the playoffs since Kevin Durant left three seasons ago, and that says a lot about the team’s need to move him.
Sam Presti is a great General Manager and he has made quite some bold moves in the past, like the James Harden trade, so perhaps, he could use Westbrook to turn around the team again. But how? Let’s take a look at the top 5 trade packages the Thunder could get for him.
5. Los Angeles Clippers – Lou Williams, Montrezl Harrell, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Ivica Zubac, Future Picks
And finally, we find the Los Angeles Clippers, a team with great flexibility, a strong core, a brilliant coach and a bunch load of money. Yet, given their history, perhaps they won’t be the most appealing destination for several players.
But, if they trade for Russell Westbrook, perhaps that could be enough to convince guys like Jimmy Butler or Kawhi Leonard to also join on board. The Thunder, on the other hand, would have their point guard of the future, the best sixth man ever, and a solid backup big man to try and make another run at the Championship.
4. New York Knicks – Top 3 Pick
The New York Knicks could actually pursue Russell Westbrook in the summer, but a lot needs to happen first. If they don’t get the first overall pick in the Draft, and they also strike out on Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant, Sam Presti could try and make them an offer.
The Knicks are determined to go back to relevance and Westbrook would thrive on such a huge market (plus, there’s all the fashion). The Thunder would have George, cap space, and could use the pick to get Ja Morant or RJ Barrett.
3. Miami Heat – Bam Adebayo, Justise Winslow, Josh Richardson, Future Picks
The Miami Heat have been stuck on a mediocrity spiral for quite some time, and the team needs another All-Star caliber player if they want to make a run in the Eastern Conference, and if someone’s able to tame Russell Westbrook, that’s Pat Riley.
The Heat would be getting a great defender and playmaker to pair with Goran Dragic and Hassan Whiteside, while the Thunder would get three solid defenders, and an outstanding two-way player on Josh Richardson.
2. Minnesota Timberwolves – Andrew Wiggins, Dario Saric, Robert Covington, Future Picks
The Minnesota Timberwolves have one of the best players in the game in Karl Anthony-Towns, as well as one of the best coaches in the league in Tom Thibodeau, but they just lack a true competitor that’s eager to push them forward.
The Thunder are stuck with Westbrook’s contract so they can’t really add more talent next to Paul George, but this trade could really pay out for everybody involved, as the Thunder would be getting two great 3-and-D players in Saric and Covington, and a high upside player in Wiggins.
1. Los Angeles Lakers – Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma, Brandon Ingram
The Los Angeles Lakers are a huge question mark nowadays. They don’t have a coach or a president of basketball operations, yet they’re bound to make a run at several All-Stars, but with most of the top-tier free agents advised not to join the team, their hands may be kind of tied in the summer.
So, if they strike out on Anthony Davis once again and Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard or Kyrie Irving don’t want to join the team, they could pursue him. He’s a California native and played for UCLA, and LeBron James loves him.