The landscape of the NBA will shift dramatically again this summer when Kevin Durant likely takes his talents to Manhattan. Where Anthony Davis and Kyrie Irving land as well will shape the league for years to come.
One other dramatic move that could possibly … maybe … OK, probably won't … happen is Thunder GM Sam Presti trading former MVP Russell Westbrook. The Ringer's Bill Simmons and Ryen Russillo recently discussed this possibility on Simmons' podcast.
Russillo: If I were Presti I wouldn't make it known publicly, but I think you get a dollar on a dollar for Westbrook right now. What's the point in OKC? What's the point of bring everyone back and having Westbrook as the ring-leader? I understand what he means to Thunder fans. You lost two MVPs and this MVP took your money and wanted to stay home. He decided to stay. But you lost to one rookie scorer in the playoffs last year. Oklahoma City is held hostage to Westbrook in a way that I haven't seen since Iverson was with the Sixers.
It's the same thing from a basketball sense. Whatever it is that he is. This great talent. This sun that OKC orbits around, you're held hostage by it and I don't see anything that's going to change.
Simmons: I don't think there's a chance in hell they trade him. But that's probably the best thing they could do. Belichick would trade him. Belichick right now would be like, 'what can I get for Westbrook?'
I would trade him to the Lakers for Lonzo and Kyle Kuzma and have the cap space? Done.
Let's start calling now. LeBron and Westbrook. Good. Let's go.
Russillo: I think you would get the full price for him whereas every other star in this league that is traded, you're always trading them at a discount. You're always losing that trade.
Presti is a GM who likes to get out ahead of things for better or worse, so it's not crazy to suggest he could entertain the idea this summer. The obvious trade partner here is the Lakers, who will likely not be able to trade for Davis due to the disaster from earlier this year.
Other possibilities are the Knicks and Bulls, who both have high draft picks to dangle. If either of those teams miss out on landing Zion Williamson, then they could opt to seek a blockbuster trade for a veteran superstar instead. This is akin to what the Celtics did in 2007 when it looked like they would get Durant in the draft but instead wound up with the fifth overall pick. They were able to transform themselves from the worst team in the NBA record-wise to a title contender with two moves - trading for Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett as they packaged a boatload of draft picks and young players.