Thunder reportedly were open to Russell Westbrook trade prior to draft
The Oklahoma City Thunder’s trade of Paul George opened the door for an ensuing trade of Russell Westbrook, but it sounds like the team was willing to part ways with their longtime franchise star well before then.
Jovan Buha and Sam Amick combined for an excellent, information-packed article in The Athletic on the Clippers’ signing of Kawhi Leonard. Acquiring George from the Thunder was an essential move in landing Leonard, so the reporters provided some background on that trade.
In the article, Buha and Amick reported that both Westbrook and George expressed their discontent to the Thunder around the time of the draft. They also said they were told the Thunder were willing to discuss a Westbrook trade prior to the draft.
From the article:
Yet one rival team indicated to The Athletic that the Thunder were willing to discuss the prospect of trading Westbrook leading into the draft, with that revelation seen as a sign that they were considering changes even before George made his move.
The way things unfolded with George asking for a trade and getting his way first created a perfect chance for Westbrook to be traded without it being as painful for the fan base; losing George was the gut punch and probably convinced most fans trading Westbrook was the next logical step. The George trade allowed both the Thunder and Westbrook a way out of their union without either taking the public beating they may have received otherwise.