The Oklahoma City Thunder have gone through a tough ride as a franchise as they lost a star player in Kevin Durant to free agency last summer. It looks like the Thunder might be gearing up for another huge loss in their potential MVP Russell Westbrook.
Westbrook is currently under contract through next 2019, but will have the option to opt out of his contract next summer and could leave the Thunder in an even worse lurch than when Durant left. They won’t have a bonafide star leftover this time and could be looking to deal him if he doesn’t sign that extension.
On Monday, ESPN’s Royce Young noted that it would be a distinct possibility that the Thunder would look to deal Westbrook if he doesn’t agree to that impending extension offer. Via ESPN:
“What we could be looking at is the reigning MVP suddenly being on the trading block, because if he turns down this contract extension, the Thunder are then facing the reality they went through last summer, which is an MVP player, their franchise player, turning them down, and they cannot risk going into free agency and losing him for nothing.”
Should the Thunder decide to deal Westbrook it’s likely that the team would get next to nothing in return much like the Jimmy Butler and Minnesota Timberwolves deal. If no extension or deal can be reached, then it’s likely deals will low ball them knowing they could take a shot at Westbrook in free agency.
Westbrook averaged a triple-double this season and was a finalist for the MVP Award. His team got to the playoffs pretty much on his shoulders and lost 4-1 to the Houston Rockets in the first round.