NBA Trade Speculation: 7 Possible Destinations for Russell Westbrook
Although the Thunder might be sitting on the top of the Western Conference early on in the season, a lot of speculation have been drawn up on whether Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook can play alongside one another.
The two time NBA All-Star Kevin Durant openly stated his admiration for guard Russell Westbrook and his importance to the Thunder's success; however, it is evident that the two have contradicting styles of play that may lead to more problems than solutions. Westbrook's inconsistency and poor decision making continues to be a concern, and as the Thunder continue to grow stronger, there is no doubt that when the game is on the line, Kevin Durant must be the Thunder's "go-to guy," as opposed to point guard Russell Westbrook.
With that in mind, here are seven teams across the league that will be a perfect fit for point guard Westbrook and the possible trade scenarios.
To Boston: Russell Westbrook, Nazr Mohammed
To Oklahoma City: Rajon Rondo
Let's start off in Boston, where the Big Three are heading into the final years of their career. Ray Allen at age 36, Kevin Garnett at 40 and Paul Pierce at 34 may all become a concern for the Celtics in the long run. By acquiring Russell Westbrook at this point, it will give the Celtics a head start in the rebuilding process and allow this team to be a playoff contender during the post Big Three Era. Westbrook's ability to score the basketball and his defensive abilities are a terrific piece for the Celtics to build around for many years to come.
For the Thunder, Rondo gives them a playmaking point guard who understands how to distribute the basketball and run a team. Championship experience and court intelligence alone is a huge upgrade compared to Westbrook.
Looking at this season, Rondo is averaging almost five more assists per game compared to Westbrook, and although he might not be able to score the ball at will like Westbrook, this trade will allow Kevin Durant and James Harden to emerge and maximize their All-Star potential.
Golden State Warriors
To Golden State: Russell Westbrook
To Oklahoma City: Stephen Curry
The Warriors have became a team that focuses a lot on the defensive end with new head coach Mark Jackson. Although the players will need some time adjusting to playing on both ends of the court, Stephen Curry is looking like a liability for the Warriors. At this point of his young career, he is nowhere near being a solid defender, and his ankle continues to be a great concern.
Trading for Westbrook looks like the right move to make, upgrading the defense as well as the overall back court. Nonetheless, in Golden State, it will allow Westbrook to develop into a scorer that he has yet to become.
Stephen Curry is a terrific shooter and can very well start at the two-spot for the Thunder. When in close game situations and the fourth quarter, Curry can definitely handle the point and will allow Durant to have the basketball in his hands. Despite Curry's bad ankle, this trade makes the most sense for the Thunder in terms of contracts and staying under the luxury tax for the next few seasons.
New Jersey Nets
To Oklahoma City: Deron Williams and Anthony Morrow
At the beginning of the season, Deron Williams stated that he is reluctant to sign a contract extension with the Nets once the season is over. Instead of letting a talent like Williams walk, the right move for the Nets to make is to acquire the young and explosive Russell Westbrook. He is sure to give this team a new identity, and with the Nets moving to Brooklyn, Westbrook will certainly attract a lot of big name free agents to join him.
Deron Williams is a playmaking point guard who will provide a lot of size and leadership on the court for the Thunder. He is arguably one of the best point guards in the league and his ability to score the basketball is much more consistent than that of Westbrook. If the Thunder can get deep into the playoffs, you can predict Williams is going to be willing to sign an contract extension.
Furthermore, Anthony Morrow is a solid three-point threat and an upgrade over Daequan Cook. The only concern with this deal is the fact that Williams' contract may be too much for the Thunder to handle.
To Minnesota: Russell Westbrook and Nazr Mohammed
To Oklahoma City: Ricky Rubio, Anthony Randolph and Wesley Johnson
The Wolves currently have a team with three great point guards, and what they decide to do down the road is totally up to David Kahn. With Ricky Rubio finally making his NBA debut and showing the league what he is capable of doing, he becomes a terrific trade chip and can be part of a larger deal for the Wolves in the future.
By making a move for Westbrook, the Wolves will pick up an All-Star point guard to play along with Kevin Love. Considering the chemistry Westbrook and Love developed at UCLA, this is a positive deal for the franchise. The terrific part about this deal is that the Wolves will still have Michael Beasley and Derrick Williams, pieces they can keep or part ways with later in the season.
Ricky Rubio is a special player with a terrific sense of the game. He knows when to make the right pass, and with him working the point, he can help Durant and Harden find some easy shots. The fact that he is a pass-first type of guard compared to a scoring Westbrook will be a huge advantage for the Thunder. Wesley Johnson and Anthony Randolph are some great players with potential to become something better.
To Atlanta: Russell Westbrook, Nazr Mohammed and Cole Aldrich
To Oklahoma City: Josh Smith, Jeff Teague, Ivan Johnson and draft picks
With Al Horford out for at least three months, bringing in Westbrook will provide a ton of offense at the point guard position and form an ideal back court along with Joe Johnson. This trade allows the Hawks to pick up a few solid bigs and possibly keep the Hawks competitive in the East this season.
For the Thunder, Josh Smith will give them a scorer, shot blocker and rebounder at the power forward position. This season, Smith is averaging close to nine rebounds per game in comparison to Serge Ibaka with only 5.8 rebounds. This move will upgrade the power forward position, and Jeff Teague will be a solid player running the point. Lastly, Ivan Johnson and draft picks are solid assets that the Thunder would love to have as well.
Los Angeles Lakers
To Los Angeles: Russell Westbrook, Nazr Mohammed
To Houston: Pau Gasol
To Oklahoma City: Goran Dragic, Jonny Flynn, Terrence Williams and Luis Scola
Unable to bring in All-Star Chris Paul, Russell Westbrook is certainly a point guard that the Lakers can easily go after. In a three-team trade featuring the Rockets, the Lakers could give up center Pau Gasol and build a back court that will be exciting to watch for a few seasons.
Following the retirement of Yao Ming, the Rockets need a big that can do the work down low. Pau Gasol is a piece that the Rockets can build around, and it gives them an identity in the West.
Dragic and Flynn are both young point guards that will give the Thunder some options in a season without Maynor. Terrence Williams is a young prospect, and Luis Scola can help make the mid-range jump shots and attack the basket at will.
To Philadelphia: Russell Westbrook
To Oklahoma City: Jrue Holiday, Jodie Meeks and Louis Williams
This move will give the Sixers an All-Star point guard to work with and build around for the next few years. Head coach Doug Collins is going to be able to get on Westbrook and teach him to become the player that he needs to be in terms of play making and decision making. In addition, Westbrook's ability to run the point guard position and score the basketball combines both the presence of Holiday and Williams.
For the Thunder, although Holiday is nowhere close of becoming the next Russell Westbrook, his passing ability is a huge plus compared to Westbrook. Louis Williams is a solid player who is averaging 16.1 points per game in just 25 minutes, while Westbrook is averaging 18.9 points in over 32 minutes per game. This trade will allow the Thunder to get enough scoring while allowing All-Star Kevin Durant to have enough touches.