Russell Westbrook had one of the most unbelievable MVP seasons ever last year, averaging a triple-double per game for the entire season, but he was far away from winning the NBA championship.
Next season, he has a player option and he will be probably the most attractive free agent over the next summer. Recently, Fred Katz from the Norman Transcript said that Russell Westbrook has had this extension offer on the table for about a month, but he actually has delayed to sign in.
After the big trade, which sent Paul George to the Oklahoma City Thunder, Westbrook finally has help after last season, when he played almost completely alone. But, to be honest, Paul George and Russell Westbrook can’t beat the Golden State Warriors, and they are not stronger than the San Antonio Spurs or even the Houston Rockets (even if they don’t get Carmelo Anthony).
Westbrook is 28 years old, and he has played 9 seasons in the NBA and only once in the NBA Finals. Next year, he will decide on his future and if he wants to win an NBA championship, and that may be a very tough decision. Sam Presti knows that, and even if he had one of the best draft selections in the last 10 years with Kevin Durant, James Harden, and Russell Westbrook, he has also lost Kevin Durant and James Harden, so maybe the biggest fear for the Oklahoma City Thunder fans could be – can he lose Westbrook too?
Oklahoma is a small market, and even when loyalty is over the money, the big markets like Los Angeles and New York will waiting for one of the best players in the league and it will be very tough to reject those offers.
The only way Presti can keep the MVP on his team is to add more superstars, so the Oklahoma City Thunder can finally win an NBA championship. But who can help Russell Westbrook and Paul George? Maybe they will find the light at the end of the tunnel next season.
Recently, a source close to the San Antonio Spurs organization said that LaMarcus Aldridge is extremely unhappy in San Antonio because he can’t adjust in the Spurs and Gregg Popovich’s system. The five-time All-Star wants to have more freedom on the court and he feels that he can contribute more if he played like he did in the Portland than with San Antonio.
Gregg Popovich needs players who can share the ball and who can adjust in his system. He always uses big men in a special role, like Rasa Nesterovic or Tiago Splitter, or Pau Gasol right now. At the moment, the face of the franchise is Kawhi Leonard, and he is good enough to lead the Spurs into the future. Maybe the best option will be to gather more role players to help Kawhi than to use LaMarcus Aldridge who wants to be somewhere else.
This could be an ideal situation for both sides. Oklahoma City can offer Enes Kanter, Doug McDermott, Jeremi Grant and a future first round pick for one of the best power forwards in the NBA.
Gregg Popovich likes to have good shooters, and Doug McDermott could help a lot in that department because Gregg knows how to use players to create extra space for shooters.
Enes Kanter will be a great option for the Spurs, as he already plays with Westbrook and knows that he is there to rebound and contribute to his team more than just with his individual stats. Jeremi Grant could be a good addition to the SF position, so Gregg can move Rudy Gay to play Power Forward.
On the other side, LaMarcus Aldridge will join Westbrook and George, and if they can reach the Western Conference Finals or if they can beat the Warriors, both Paul George and Westbrook will resign with the Oklahoma City Thunder next season. That will be a great move for Sam Presti, because he will lock two superstars up for the next 3-4 years.
It will be very interesting to see how Sam Presti will save Westbrook and George, because they need help and the Los Angeles Lakers and New York Knicks will be very happy to see that duo in their jerseys.
Sam Presti will be under some big pressure next season, and if Oklahoma City somehow loses again in the first round, it will be very tough to keep Paul George and Westbrook, espcially if he doesn’t sign an extension, as they will both become free agents next season.