Russell Westbrook signing a contract extension earlier this month didn’t guarantee he’ll be with the Oklahoma City Thunder long term.
What it really did was buy the Thunder more time to see if Westbrook wants to stay that long, and to determine if it’s even the right move for the franchise.
“Sources close to the situation say the Thunder’s view on Westbrook is to see what he can do as the single focal point of the team and plan to keep the noise out of the equation until next summer,” Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders wrote Tuesday.
Kyler also added that “sources close to the situation have said there is almost no scenario in which the Thunder look at trades with Westbrook this year.”
The Thunder certainly are capable of being competitive in the Western Conference playoff race with Westbrook as the focal point and Kevin Durant gone. The Serge Ibaka trade that netted OKC talented guard Victor Oladipo and other quality assets should help it accomplish that postseason goal.
If the Thunder prove they can be a quality team with Westbrook as the primary option, it makes them a more attractive option for free agents next summer. Adding another superstar with Westbrook would be preferable over a full rebuild, which is what likely would happen if the All-Star guard was traded over the next year.
Thumbnail photo via Gary A. Vasquez/USA TODAY Sports Images
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