A crazy week for the Oklahoma City Thunder just got crazier. After stunning the world and trading Paul George to the Los Angeles Clippers, rumors were aplenty that Russell Westbrook was next. What was once supposed to be a long-lasting partnership only lasted two seasons before George decided to force his way out of Oklahoma City. Westbrook and George’s relationship seems to be amicable, but it’s hard to imagine that they would’ve given up on each other without some sort of falling out. Following the trade of George, there was speculation that the Westbrook could be off to Miami to play for the Heat. However, that’s not the case according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
Russell Westbrook was traded to the Houston Rockets for Chris Paul and a bevy of first-round picks. Woj also reported that Westbrook wanted to reunite with his old teammate James Harden and he ended up getting what he wanted.
Trading Paul for Westbrook makes sense for both parties because rumors were that James Harden and Chris Paul didn’t have a good relationship. The Rockets will be more interesting with the addition of Westbrook and he’ll have a better chance to make it to the finals than he would’ve in New York or Miami. In Paul’s case, he’s probably not super excited to go to a team that just traded away it’s best two players. So who’s left on the roster for Paul to play with?
Thunder Roster & Starting Lineup After Trades
*Notes expected starter.
C: Steven Adams*
PF: Jerami Grant*
SF: Danilo Gallinari*
SG: Andre Roberson*
PG: Chris Paul*
Bench: Nerlens Noel, Mike Muscala, Patrick Patterson, Darius Bazley, Abdel Nader, Deonte Burton, Dennis Schroeder, Terrance Ferguson, Hamidou Diallo, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Jawun Evans
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Thunder Roster Outlook & Planning for the Future
With the trades of Paul George and Russell Westbrook, it’s going to be very difficult for the Thunder to sneak into the playoffs. The west is loaded with talent and Lakers and Clippers are going much better this upcoming season. The Thunder’s roster isn’t terrible. Steven Adams and Andre Roberson are solid players. Chris Paul is obviously on the downside of his career, but he can probably still put some good games together. However, there just doesn’t seem to be any way this squad has enough talent to get to the playoffs. That being said, the moves the Thunder have made aren’t about winning now, they’re setting themselves up for the future. Adrian Wojnarowski noted how the Thunder has set itself up for the future.
The Thunder will have eight additional first-round picks over the next several years. Being that the Thunder don’t stand to be very good over the next few years, they probably will have a few high draft picks of their own. Couple that with all the additional picks they have and the Thunder could put together a really good young team in the future. Whether or not general manager Sam Presti decides to use these picks or trade them away for players remains to be seen. Regardless, the Thunder have made the best of a bad situation and stand to headed towards a bright future.