Russell Westbrook had a pretty successful career with the Thunder. Over 11 seasons, he made 9 All-Star appearances, won two scoring titles, and earned his first-ever MVP in 2017.
But for all the personal success Russ was able to acquire, his team was unable to get very far with him at the helm, and that reality is what eventually ended his time with the franchise.
They traded him to Houston and we're still waiting to see how things play out. But did you know that OKC almost sent him to other teams before finally settling on a deal with Houston?
According to Woj, the Raptors wanted Westbrook back when the Clippers were trading for Paul George, but they failed to gain much traction.
The Raptors could have been looking at adding Westbrook, with four years and $171 million left on his deal, and George to a team that Leonard still might have parted ways with. Toronto extended itself as far as it could for Leonard, but Ujiri could never be sure that the Thunder even wanted to do a deal with them -- and perhaps were just using the Raptors to squeeze more out of the Clippers.
Miami was also in the conversation but it seems as if they weren't willing to part with enough assets to pull off a deal.
With Oklahoma City reportedly receptive to trade inquiries on eight-time All-Star Russell Westbrook, Miami has conveyed interest, according to multiple league sources.
His elite skills and relentless competitiveness fit what the Heat wants in a player, as one person who has spoken to the Heat said.
And a Westbrook-Heat pairing has elicited considerable reaction from NBA analysts in the past two days, with two former All-Stars viewing the Heat as a legitimate Eastern Conference contender if Miami can land Westbrook and pair him with Jimmy Butler without giving up too much in return.
The Pistons are another team that gave their shot at acquiring Westbrook.
Russell Westbrook, the 30-year-old walking triple-double, likely will be moved before training camp, probably the last domino to fall in what has been an eventful offseason in the NBA.
The Detroit Pistons were mentioned as a possible landing spot, according to a report from The Athletic, which led me to write that such an acquisition is unlikely.
Long story short, Russ was pretty close to going somewhere else before Houston pulled off the move. They sacrificed a lot to make a risky move. And while it's too early to say whether or not it's been a success, the Rockets have shown that they aren't afraid to shake things up and make changes when they need to.
We'll see how it works out for them.