Earlier than the Woj Bomb of the century dropped within the early Saturday morning hours, a special sort of Woj Bomb was apparently ticking behind the scenes.
If you do not know by now, the Clippers had been capable of signal Kawhi Leonard in free company and instantly after made a blockbuster deal for Paul George. However an analogous deal was virtually despatched to the Raptors, in accordance with ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
In Woj’s story recapping the deal, he stories the Thunder had been prepared to commerce Russell Westbrook and George to the Raptors, assuming Leonard stayed in Toronto. The deal was centered round Toronto’s Pascal Siakam.
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Had Presti been capable of strike a deal for George with Toronto — and Leonard was prepared to remain — George was believed to be prepared to hitch the Raptors, sources mentioned. Presti pursued a bundle of Russell Westbrook and George to the Raptors — with the NBA’s Most Improved Participant, ahead Pascal Siakam, because the centerpiece of a broader, asset-crippling deal — however Ujiri could not sustain with the Clippers’ willingness to unload unprotected first-round picks into the center of the subsequent decade, league sources mentioned. Merely, Toronto did not have the depth of picks it wanted to get a deal performed — nor the knowledge that getting George would make Leonard stick with the Raptors, sources mentioned.
The Raptors might have been including Westbrook, with 4 years, $171 million left on his deal, and George to a roster that Leonard nonetheless may need fled. Toronto prolonged itself so far as it might for Leonard, however Ujiri might by no means ensure that the Thunder even needed to do a cope with them — and maybe had been simply utilizing the Raptors to squeeze extra out of the Clippers.
Woj hints on the finish there that Oklahoma Metropolis might have simply been bluffing. However different stories point out the Thunder are nonetheless trying to deal Westbrook, particularly after shedding George. With the West gaining two sturdy groups in Los Angeles, it appears unlikely the Thunder will be capable of compete like they’ve in years previous.
So an entire rebuild may very well be on the best way as ESPN’s Royce Younger signifies.
Now, like after Kevin Durant’s departure in 2016, all eyes are on Russell Westbrook, although this time, circumstances are totally different. The Thunder are comfy embarking on a rebuild quite than attempting to retool. However they may consider their choices going ahead, which embrace seeing what this group appears like with Westbrook main the cost alongside Gallinari and Steven Adams, buying and selling present items to attempt to add to the roster, or hitting reboot on the roster utterly and buying and selling Westbrook. The final choice seems to be the almost certainly situation.
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There’s additionally this report from Alex Kennedy.
Do not be stunned if the Thunder commerce Russell Westbrook. A variety of NBA executives consider it is a risk. Oklahoma Metropolis might determine to explode their roster and utterly rebuild.
– Alex Kennedy (@AlexKennedyNBA) July 6, 2019
Westbrook turns 31 in November and has two years remaining on his contract. He’ll earn $38,150,000 in 2019-20 and $40,600,000 in 2020-21. Whereas he is little question a star participant, that wage will make it tough for many groups to try to make some cap house obtainable for a deal to occur.
A few groups that make sense from a wage cap place and property place embrace the Timberwolves, Warmth and Pistons. Miami looks as if a powerful contender contemplating Jimmy Butler simply joined. Plus, the Warmth have an expiring cope with Goran Dragic, and reportedly had a deal that involved him fall apart.
There have not been any official stories as to what groups are inquisitive about Westbrook. These will seemingly come later because the Thunder determine what they wish to do with their roster. As Younger talked about above, OKC might simply play out this season and see how Westbrook works with Danilo Gallinari and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander.
Nevertheless it simply is smart to go forward and “tank” by rebuilding by way of lottery picks and all the first spherical picks the Thunder simply acquired from the Clippers.