May 24th, 2016. 12AM ET. On the scoreboard is the result: Oklahoma City Thunder 118, Golden State Warriors 94!
Kevin Durant finishes the game with 26 points and 11 rebounds, while Russell Westbrook scores 36 and adds 11 rebounds and assists.
Fans are screaming and celebrating in Chesapeake Energy Arena, preparing for NBA Finals with Cleveland Cavaliers.
That was beautiful times for Oklahoma! And day by day everything went down. Everything that was built for years is now destroyed! And it's getting worse. One man started an avalanche and there is no salvation for the OKC in a recent time.
"No matter what you're going through, there's a light at the end of the tunnel and it may seem hard to get to it, but you can do it and just keep working towards it and you'll find the positive side of things."
You can be a championship contender franchise once again, but you will need to make great moves and be patient. And also, Presti gets used to losing, because OKC is going to lose many games and going to lose it hard in next few years. You can try to save the rest.
What do they need to preserve the remaining?
Firstly, to realize they are not playoff contenders anymore and to trade Russell Westbrook and to get some picks or some players for him, because he will become a free agent next year and will definitely leave. What are the best destinations where they can trade him?
In my opinion, this is the most realistic destination for the "Beastbrook"! Celtics have a weapon and ammo to carry out this trade.
Boston has a plenty of young players just drafted from the college and abroad. They can give Bradley or Smart, plus Jae Crowder to fill missing SF spot in OKC or maybe Jonas Jerebko instead.
Also, they have a big amount of picks and the number of combinations is infinite. It's up to Danny Ainge to pick up the right one and connect Russell Westbrook and Isiah Thomas on point guard!
Los Angeles Lakers
There were rumors connecting Lakers and Westbrook since the beginning of time and after Durant's departure they are going to get more often.
Is there a possibility for this to happen? Yeah, of course! Lakers have some quality young players and also space in the salary cap to take Westbrook's contract!
They can offer Russell and Randle plus Zubac. Seems legit for OKC, because they should seek for instant quality, they need to chase potential and they can get in young Lakers players.
But is this a good environment for Russell and his "strive the greatness" mentality? At the moment, no, but if they acquire some good players like Butler they can become a nice roster, that can compete for a playoff.
In a couple of years when these young players grow up and become elite players they can think about some championship. They have potential, but they have no instant team and that can be a problem for Russ, who doesn't want to build another franchise from the bottom!
San Antonio Spurs
Spurs are like Miami, included in every possible trade. Why? Never underestimate the magic of Pat Riley and Gregg Popovich!
I haven't included Miami in this trade, because Miami's future is very blurry and I think that we are going to watch Miami in the lower part of the league for a couple of years, which wasn't an often situation in the past decade, except 2008 and 2015.
So, let's get back to the Spurs! Spurs finished last season with record 67-15 and lost in Western Conference Semifinals against OKC. Everything except the title is a surprise in San Antonio, so this was too. They brought Gasol to replace "The Fundamental" who is going to a deserved retirement! They get rid of some older players, David West and Boris Diaw and they are going to try to go through rebuilding phase as painless as possible. What can they give for Russ?
Looking at their roster and their pick rights, nothing worth Westbrook. So, I consider Spurs as Russell's destination in 2017 NBA Free Agency, but that's is far away and the whole world can change in a minute.
But, if they want to remain strong as they used all of us, they need to chase Westbrook and if RW wants to play in a great franchise, already built with a great system, then he must choose Spurs.
Bright future is around a corner for the Wolves. Great coach, defensively oriented, Tom Thibodeau and the roster full of great young players are the ingredients for the success in the NBA.
They have also Kevin Garnett, who is there more to be a mentor for the youngers than to play games. What can they give in change for Russ? I would say, Ricky Rubio, who they are trying to get rid off last two weeks, plus Zach Lavine or Kris Dunn and pick from 2017!
Enough for Westbrook? In past times and proper conditions not, but Thunder will try to get max possible for Russ, so accepting this offer would be a good deal for Sam Presti! Desperate times take desperate measures!
Westbrook in Rockets? Fit perfectly. Rockets are a wild team last years, so explosive and impulsive Russ is like created specially for them. Can this happen this summer?
Let's take a look what Houston can offer Oklahoma. Corey Brewer, Trevor Ariza and Andrew Goudelock or Zhou Qi. I, as Houston fan, will never trade Ariza, because I like him and think that he is a very contributive player for the team, but if you can get Russ, it's better to give Ariza than to lose a chance to bring Westbrook to your roster.
First team Westbrook, Harden, Beasley, Anderson and Nene/Capela will be no defense first team, but offensive potential is very high, so why not?
Russell Westbrook will definitely leave and Thunder needs to get most of the present situation and to trade him. What is the best destination for Russell Westbrook?
I think Spurs, who are going to teach him to share a ball sometimes, to improve his teamwork and to learn him to patient sometimes, because one player doesn't win a title, the team does!