Wow…….. What else can you say after last night’s madness? Some crazy people (like myself) saw Kawhi signing with the Clippers, but nobody and I mean literally nobody saw all of this coming. Born and raised in Oklahoma, not too far from OKC, and I never even imagined. Hell, nor did anybody else I know, and we constantly talk Thunder hoops.
It is no secret that OKC has no interest in paying the luxury tax next year, especially now that they are a bottom five roster in the West. This leads me to believe that Westbrook, Adams, Roberson, and Dennis the menace are all next to go. There is no point in paying hundreds of millions in tax dollars for another disappointing season. Time to blow it up, stock up on massive amounts of assets, and hope for a rebuild similar to a decade ago.
Keep in mind, the main point of the Thunder doing this is to get under the luxury tax. Therefore they need to find a trade partner with some cap space, or work a miraculous three team trade and dump off Roberson, Schroeder, or Adams to the third team. That is where it gets a little bit tricky, since teams are spending like crazy and don’t have much cap space left. If anyone can work something out though it is Presti. Without further ado, here are all of the potential trades I see for Russell Westbrook.
New York Knicks
Thunder trade: Russell Westbrook, Terrance Ferguson, Steven Adams
Knicks trade: Kevin Knox, Julius Randle, Mitchell Robinson, Frankie Smokes, Allonzo Trier, two or three future first round picks
- Since Randle just signed, the Knicks would have to wait to officially agree to this trade. It could very easily be agreed to in principle just like the AD deal that is still pending though.
Thunder Trade: Russell Westbrook, Andre Roberson, and Patrick Patterson
Magic trade: Mo Bamba, Jonathan Isaac, DJ Augustin, Timofey Mozgov, massive haul of future first round picks
Thunder trade: Russell Westbrook, Terrance Ferguson, Patrick Patterson
Thunder receive: Sekou Doumbouya, Luke Kennard, Thon Maker, Jon Leuer, Langston Galloway, 2 future first round draft picks (Pistons)
Pistons trade: Reggie Jackson, Sekou Doumbouya, Luke Kennard, Thon Maker, Tony Snell, Langston Galloway, 2 future first round picks, package of second round picks
Pistons receive: Russell Westbrook, Terrance Ferguson, Patrick Patterson
Third team (probably Knicks) receive: Reggie Jackson, package of second round picks (Pistons)
San Antonio Spurs
Thunder trade: Russell Westbrook, Terrance Ferguson, Steven Adams, future first
Thunder receive: Keldon Johnson, Dejounte Murray, Lonnie Walker, Davis Bertans, Patty Mills, two future first round picks (Spurs)
Spurs trade: Keldon Johnson, Dejounte Murray, Lonnie Walker, Davis Bertans, Patty Mills, two future first round picks
Spurs Receive: Russell Westbrook, Terrance Ferguson
Third team receives: Steven Adams, future first round pick (Thunder)
Thunder trade: Russell Westbrook, Steven Adams, Dennis Schroeder, Terrane Ferguson
Thunder receive: Justice Winslow, Tyler Herro, Bam Adebayo, Dion Waiters, Goran Dragic, future first round pick
Heat trade: Justice Winslow, Tyler Herro, Bam Adebayo, Dion Waiters, Goran Dragic, James Johnson, future first round pick
Heat receive: Russell Westbrook, Steven Adams, Terrance Ferguson
Third team receives: James Johnson, Dennis Schroeder
Thunder trade: Russell Westbrook, Steven Adams, Dennis Schroeder, Terrance Ferguson, Andre Roberson
Thunder receive: Andrew Wiggins, Jeff Teague, Josh Okogie, Keita Bates-Diop, Gorgui Dieng, two future first round picks (Minnesota)
Timberwolves trade: Andrew Wiggins, Jeff Teague, Josh Okogie, Keita Bates-Diop, Gorgui Dieng, three future first round picks
Timberwolves receive: Russell Westbrook, Terrance Ferguson, Dennis Schroeder, Andre Roberson
Third team receives: Steven Adams, future first round pick (Minnesota)
Now, some of these trades seem incredibly far fetched and unrealistic I know, but that is the NBA right now. Last night still feels like a dream, and I can hardly even wrap my head around what all is coming next. I do know this though, OKC may as well be a lock to make at least one more trade. Another thing I can confidently tell you, a trade involving a contract as big as Westbrook’s will not be easy to complete. That is why many of the potential trades above are so massive.
I cannot adequately reiterate how important it is for OKC to get out of the luxury tax. The point of this is not just to blow up the team and start over, it is to save hundreds of millions of dollars by avoiding the tax. It is going to take an absolute blockbuster trade to move Westbrook, but I am expecting, and hoping for nothing less.
Most teams don’t have the remaining cap room to take on all of the salaries the Thunder need to dump in order to avoid the tax. Combine that with the fact that Westbrook has four years left on a monstrosity of a contract, it makes for a bit of a messy recipe for a three team trade. Certainly nothing that hasn’t been done before though.
A few of the three team trades will definitely take a little bit more than what I have for the salaries to balance out and be able to be completed. Whoever the third team would be in these trades likely needs to stretch a contract, stash an international player overseas, send a player (probably an expiring contract) somewhere, or manage some combination of thus. That can easily be done though, and should not be a major of a roadblock.
I think the Knicks have to be the front-runner to land Westbrook right now. Simply because they are a team desperate for a star and still have some cap flexibility. Dolan is a great candidate to massively overpay as well and this just makes too much sense. They wouldn’t necessarily need a third team to complete the trade like most would also, Westbrook’s clothing and fashion is a match made in heaven for New York, AND his rival in Brooklyn would be KD… You literally cannot script it any better than that. The big market teams continue to win, and the Thunder get another shot at building a legit title contender like they did once upon a time.
Pairing Russ with Jimmy in Miami also makes a lot of sense if Presti and Riley can find a third team to help complete the trade. Russ would more than likely love Miami and that duo is playoff worthy for sure. The Timberwolves could also make a lot of sense if Presti is willing to take on the Wiggins contract and able to find a third team to make this work. All of the other teams mentioned above have very realistic shots of landing Russ also, but I would put my money on the Knicks.