There were hints dropped late last week that the Celtics were on the cusp of making franchise-altering blockbuster moves. Russell Westbrook and Blake Griffin were the alleged targets for Danny Ainge.
But, it’s July, and with every new day comes a new NBA rumor. Tuesday, it was the Thunder – not the Celtics – that were ready to team up Westbrook and Griffin.
“For Westbrook, the most likely scenario for a re-negotiation would be to use the Thunder’s cap space to guarantee he will stay under contract with the Thunder through the 2017-18 season,” The Vertical’s Adrian Wojnarowski wrote. “This would give Oklahoma City the chance to recruit one of its top targets – 2017 free agent and Oklahoma native Blake Griffin of the Los Angeles Clippers – to partner with Westbrook, league sources said.”
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Indeed, the safest route for the Thunder to go without going into full tank mode is to let the Westbrook Revenge Tour play out this coming season and see where it gets them. Westbrook will be mighty bitter due to Kevin Durant’s jump to rival Golden State and there’s still a good chance the Thunder could be a top five team in the Western Conference.
The price tag for both Westbrook and Griffin when it concerns the Celtics seems to be too rich, especially given that both are currently due to be free agents a year from now.
CSNNE’s A. Sherrod Blakely told 98.5 FM’s Toucher and Rich Tuesday that Clippers’ boss Doc Rivers will want a “king’s ransom” for Griffin and Bleacher Report’s Howard Beck also told CSNNE that the asking price by Thunder GM Sam Presti will be sky-high.
“You’ve got to figure that Nets pick that the Celtics are still hanging onto, plus a couple of the young players, maybe Jae Crowder – it’s going to be steep [for the Celtics],” Beck said.
Another huge name that has been linked to the Celtics in trade rumors ever since Ainge hit the reset button three years ago has been Sacramento big man DeMarcus Cousins. Cousins has shown great frustration with Kings management, particularly lately.
“I do my job,” Cousins said to the Sacramento Bee regarding the team’s 2016 draft strategy. “I can’t control [the draft]. I control what I can control … I really don’t understand [what the team did at the draft], but I do my job.”
Sacramento will almost surely see if Cousins can co-exist with new head coach Dave Joerger though before seriously entertaining trade proposals, and again – the asking price would be enormous. Cousins will not become an unrestricted free agent until the summer of 2018 under his current deal.