Report: Russell Westbrook Wanted to Be Traded Before Paul George, Clippers Move

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorJuly 10, 2019

PORTLAND, OR - APRIL 23:  Russell Westbrook #0 of the Oklahoma City Thunder handles the ball against CJ McCollum #3 of the Portland Trail Blazers during Game Five Round One of the 2019 NBA Playoffs on April 23, 2019 at the Moda Center in Portland, Oregon. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by Sam Forencich/NBAE via Getty Images)
Sam Forencich/Getty Images

The Oklahoma City Thunder appear to be in full rebuilding mode after dealing All-Star forward Paul Georgewho requested a tradeto the Los Angeles Clippers

ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported on Monday that Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook "is welcoming" the idea of a trade elsewhere, and Marc J. Spears of the Undefeated added more context when he mentioned on The Jump on Tuesday that the eight-time All-Star was looking to head out before the George deal.

"I heard that [Westbrook] wanted out and that PG just beat him to the punch and neither one of them knew that the other one was thinking that way," Spears said (2:10 mark).

Westbrook has played his entire 11-year career in Oklahoma City, winning the NBA MVP award in 2016-17. The former UCLA Bruin has averaged a triple-double in each of his past three seasons.

Naturally, the market for Westbrook is vibrant, with Sam Amick and Brett Dawson of The Athletic reporting that the Detroit Pistons, Houston Rockets and Miami Heat are in the mix.

As Frank Urbina of HoopsHype wrote, speculation has also connected the Minnesota Timberwolves and New York Knicks to Westbrook, although Ian Begley of SNY reported that New York cannot complete a deal for the point guard until Dec. 15.

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Regardless, Westbrook's Thunder tenure appears to be nearing its end. The team is already down two starters in George and power forward Jerami Grant, who was dealt to the Denver Nuggets. Making the playoffs will be a difficult task alone, and winning a championship is far bleaker.

At this point, a full rebuild featuring Westbrook, Steven Adams and perhaps others seems inevitable. If that's the case, then Westbrook will close out a sensational career in Oklahoma City.

OKC reached the NBA Finals once with him running the point, losing to the Miami Heat in 2012, and the team has made the playoffs in nine of its 10 previous seasons, with three Western Conference Finals berths. Westbrook and Kevin Durant only played a combined 94 games due to injury in the one season sans playoffs, and the team still finished 45-37.

Westbrook has also averaged 23.0 points, 8.4 assists and 7.0 rebounds in 11 years, making eight All-NBA teams and leading the league in scoring and assists twice.

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