Report: Russell Westbrook trade could happen before 2016-17 season

By Jesse Reed

In the wake of Kevin Durant’s decision to abandon the Oklahoma City Thunder for the Golden State Warriors, a Russell Westbrook trade could be in order. According to Howard Beck of Bleacher Report, the Thunder could trade Westbrook before the season begins.

Beck, speaking with general managers in Las Vegas as Summer League games are in session, discovered the general sentiment among them is that Westbrook won’t stick around in OKC next summer. As such, they believe Thunder general manager Sam Presti will not wait for that to happen. Instead, they believe the dynamic point guard will be traded “sooner, rather than later,” as early as before the 2016-17 season.

The Boston Celtics were mentioned by Beck as the most logical trade destination for Westbrook, based on his conversations with those GMs.

“That’s not surprising,” Beck said, ” Anybody who’s been following the NBA the past couple of years, we know Boston have been loading up on assets — a ton of picks, including all those great picks from the Brooklyn Nets. They’ve got a bunch of young players. They have the ability to create a package that could get Westbrook there without giving up key pieces.”

After Durant bolted for Northern California, it was rumored that the Thunder might look to trade Westbrook (list of top potential trade destinations here).

The Thunder would obviously like to sign him to a long-term deal, rather than trade him. However, given the fact that Westbrook has no desire to sign a long-term deal right now, a trade seems more and more likely.

Beck’s report throws more weight behind the idea that the Thunder will trade Westbrook, rather than lose him to free agency without getting anything in return.

NBA teams will have even more money to spend next year in free agency than they did this summer, and Westbrook will likely have his pick of teams if he lasts that long without a long-term deal.

Landing assets in return for him before this happens is just smart.