NBA Trade Rumors: Russell Westbrook’s Contract Is Potential Issue For Celtics

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Celtics guard Marcus Smart

Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart (36) drives to the basket after colliding with Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook (0) during the fourth quarter at Chesapeake Energy Arena.

Any time there’s a chance to acquire a top-five NBA player such as Oklahoma City Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook via trade, it should be pursued.

The Celtics, according to Bleacher Report’s Howard Beck, are the “most likely destination” for Westbrook if the Thunder actually decide to move him, but these kinds of deals aren’t easy.

“For the Celts to give up the kind of assets it would take to get one of the most talented players in the league,” the Boston Herald’s Steve Bulpett wrote Thursday, “they would have to be convinced he would stay beyond the 2016-17 season — the last on his contract.”

“It’s similar to the Kevin Garnett situation in 2007 when he had to agree not to exercise his opt-out in 2008 and additionally agree to a three-year extension.”

Another similar situation was the Carmelo Anthony trade in 2011 when the superstar forward was dealt from the Denver Nuggets to the New York Knicks. He agreed to a three-year, $65 million extension as part of the trade. The then-New Jersey Nets also pursued Anthony before the Knicks trade went through, and they reportedly also wanted an extension in any deal.

But as Bulpett also points out, the Celtics also would have to maneuver the cap for an extension after picking up the options for Jonas Jerebko and Amir Johnson.

The Celtics, however, are right to want assurances Westbrook would remain in Boston past the 2016-17 campaign.

Giving up potential top-five draft picks and talented young players to acquire Westbrook, only to see him leave next summer as an unrestricted free agent with the Celtics receiving nothing in return for him, would be a major blow to the franchise. It also would undo much of the great work president of basketball operations Danny Ainge has done in the current rebuild/retool.

Why Celtics would give Thunder best chance for rebuild >>

Thumbnail photo via Mark D. Smith/USA TODAY Sports Images

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