Where Do the Oklahoma City Thunder Go From Here?

The Oklahoma City Thunder must have been shocked when they were approached by Paul George requesting a trade to the Los Angeles. No one could have forseen this as he had just signed a four-year deal with the Thunder to remain a member of their team last offseason.

George had a great season for the Thunder last season averaging 28 points, 8.2 rebounds, 4.1 assists and 2.2 steals in 77 games leading the Thunder to a 49-33 record and the sixth seed in the Western Conference. He continued his great play in the postseason against the Trail Blazers averaging 28.6 points, 8.6 rebounds and 3.6 assists in five playoff games. Things did not end well for the Thunder as they were eliminated from the playoffs after a deep game-winning three from Damian Lillard.

The loss for the Thunder was the third year in a row they lost in the first round of the playoffs. So that begs the question where do the Thunder go from here.

The Thunder accumulated a large amount of assets from trading Paul George including Danilo Gallinari, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, four unprotected first-round picks, one protected first-round pick and two pick swaps. These assets could be used to start a full-scale rebuild which could include trading star point guard Russell Westbrook.

Russell Westbrook has been with the Oklahoma City Thunder his entire 11-year career after he was drafted number four by the team making him part of the last draft class of the Seattle Supersonics before moving to Oklahoma City. He has career averages of 23 points per game, 8.4 assists per game and 7 rebounds per game and 1.8 steals per game. He has averaged a triple-double three seasons straight, won the MVP award in 2017, two All-Star Game MVPs, two scoring titles and led the league in assists twice.

During Russell Westbrook’s tenure with the Oklahoma City Thunder, he has seen an ample amount of key players come and go including Jeff Green, James Harden, Reggie Jackson, Kevin Durant, Serge Ibaka, Victor Oladipo, Carmelo Anthony and now Paul George. If Russell Westbrook is traded it will truly be the end of an era as he is the last player remaining from the Thunder’s 2012 NBA Finals appearance. A team that could potentially trade for Russell Westbrook is the New York Knicks.

The New York Knicks have the assets to trade for Russell Westbrook as they signed multiple young players this offseason including Bobby Portis, Julius Randle, and Elfrid Payton as well as having multiple young players currently on their roster including Frank Ntilikina, Dennis Smith Jr., Kevin Knox and Mitchell Robinson along with having draft picks. With the Knicks missing out on a trade for Anthony Davis and missing out on Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving in free agency, they could definitely be a player in the Russell Westbrook sweepstakes if he is placed on the trade market.

Russell Westbrook is not the only option for the Thunder to trade as Steven Adams and Andre Roberson are also players that the Thunder could look to move.

In conclusion, although the Thunder were blindsided by recent events, it is up to them to make the best of this situation. Their future will for sure change whether it be for better or worse and it will certainly be interesting to see how things unravel for OKC.

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