Former Thunder star Kevin Durant’s brand ambassador says ‘no one wants to play with’ Russell Westbrook
Paul John | CLUTCH POINTS
Russell Westbrook is in a familiar situation after another superstar left the Oklahoma City Thunder. Paul George requested for a trade and got his wish, leaving Westbrook as the lone superstar in Oklahoma City. Reacting to George’s departure, Kevin Durant’s brand ambassador, Randy Williams, said that no one wants to play with Westbrook. It can be remembered that Durant also left the Thunder back in 2016 to join the star-studded Golden State Warriors, where he eventually won two championships.
Williams also said that team owners and general managers know that Westbrook does not care about his team and his teammates, insisting that the explosive guard is all about his stats. He added that if the Thunder wants to have a good future ahead of them, they should trade the former NBA Most Valuable Player.
Westbrook’s future in Oklahoma City is in doubt after the team traded George to the Los Angeles Clippers. George requested a trade out of the Thunder, as he wanted to team up with Kawhi Leonard, who eventually joined the Clippers after the team agreed to a blockbuster trade with Oklahoma City.
The Thunder are reportedly fielding calls for Westbrook. According to Tim MacMahon of ESPN, the Houston Rockets are interested in trading for Westbrook, but it remains to be seen if they will find a way to offer a strong trade package to OKC. The Miami Heat and Detroit Pistons are also being linked to the eight-time All-Star, per Sam Amick and Brett Dawson of The Athletic.
Report: Russell Westbrook has been ‘quietly grumbling’ since OKC’s playoff exit
Nick Friar | THUNDER WIRE
Once the shock of the trade sending Paul George from Oklahoma City to the Los Angeles Clippers wears off, it’s easy to wonder “Why did he want out?” Especially considering George inked a four-year deal with the Thunder just last summer.
While there are some things that seem more obvious on the surface — George is from California, he’s expressed interest in playing there previously and he and Kawhi Leonard are supposedly good friends — there may have been another factor that led to George wanting out of Oklahoma City.
While all of the focus has been on the 2019 MVP and Defensive Player of the Year candidate wanting to go to LA, a report from The Undefeated‘s Marc J. Spears indicated the Thunder’s other superstar, Russell Westbrook, may have been unhappy with the team’s current situation:
According to sources, since George, Westbrook and the Thunder suffered a disappointing first-round exit in the playoffs in April, Westbrook has been quietly grumbling about the team’s struggles and may want out.
RELATED: Did Damian Lillard’s dagger-3, wave goodbye end OKC as we know it?
When George bid the Oklahoma City fan base adieu, he did thank Thunder general manager Sam Presti, though he didn’t mention coach Billy Donovan. Also, he mentioned Russell Westbrook in the Instagram post, having previously shut down rumors of there being “disconnect” between the two.
Rockets pinpointed as potential Russell Westbrook trade partner
With the Kawhi Leonard domino having fallen, the NBA arms race is all but over for the summer, right?
With Leonard orchestrating a deal that landed both he and Paul George on the Los Angeles Clippers, the Oklahoma City Thunder now find themselves with a Russell Westbrook quandary. One the Houston Rockets reportedly might be willing to help them with.
After trading George, the Thunder face a rebuilding period and now reportedly are talking to Westbrook and his agent about what’s the best next steps for the star point guard, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported Saturday.
It seems likely that Westbrook, who still is owed $170 million over the next four years, could be moved prior to the start of the regular season.
With the Western Conference bulking up this offseason in the wake of the changes to the Warriors’ roster, a number of teams are looking for that next move to vault them into the conversation with Leonard’s Clippers, LeBron James’ Lakers and the like.
The Houston Rockets reportedly could be interested in Westbrook being their next move, rival executives told The Athletic’s Sam Amick and Brett Dawson.
“Rival executives have also pinpointed the Houston Rockets as a likely suitor, which would come as no surprise considering the way general manager Daryl Morey has prioritized the pursuit of stars during his entire career (not to mention the possible reunion between Westbrook and his old Thunder teammate James Harden),” Amick and Dawson write.
That would be quite the Morey move.
With Kevin Durant now in Brooklyn and Klay Thompson set to be out until at least February with a torn ACL, the Rockets — like the rest of the West — see an opening and are looking to knock the Warriors off their Western Conference perch.
Now, would a trio of Westbrook, James Harden and Chris Paul work? It seems unlikely that having three ball-dominant guards on the same team would mesh well together, let alone vault the Rockets atop the Western Conference. But Morey always has believed star power is the quickest way to a title. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see the Rockets try and get involved in a trade for Westbrook.
The Orlando Magic, Miami Heat, Detroit Pistons and New York Knicks also have been mentioned as possible trade destinations for Westbrook.
OKC has a tough decision on its hands, but George’s trade demand has forced the Thunder to reevaluate their current course, and Westbrook could be headed out as a result.