The trade rumors surrounding Russell Westbrook have been flying fast of late, but if the All-Star point guard decides to stay with the Oklahoma City Thunder, he’ll have a pretty good reason.
While Westbrook, whose contract expires after the 2016-17 season, has been tied to a few potential suitors (most notably the Boston Celtics) he has yet to give the Thunder any indication he wants to leave, according to The Oklahoman’s Anthony Slater. What’s more, Kevin Durant’s decision to spurn OKC and sign with the Golden State Warriors apparently has lit a fire under his former teammate.
“To the contrary,” Slater wrote, “one source described (Westbrook) as ticked off about the Kevin Durant departure, determined for this new challenge and eager for the season to start: ‘He’s ready.’ ”
This isn’t hard to believe, as Durant and Westbrook spent eight seasons together as the Thunder’s 1-2 punch before KD shockingly chose Golden State over the team that drafted him. It also doesn’t bode well for Westbrook’s suitors — at least for this offseason — as the 27-year-old now has motivation to stick around one more year and see how far he can carry OKC on his shoulders.
The 2017 offseason could be a different story, but it appears the Thunder are doing their best to try to re-sign Westbrook. The team rescinded its qualifying offer to Dion Waiters on Tuesday, according to The Vertical’s Adrian Wojnarowski, and Wojnarowski reported the move is a ploy by OKC to free up salary cap space so it can renegotiate a long-term contract with Westbrook.
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