NBA Rumors: The Oklahoma City Thunder could break up their All-Star duo
- Will the Thunder consider breaking up the Paul George and Russell Westbrook pairing?
What's the rumor?
The OKC Thunder are coming off yet another season in which they suffered an early playoff exit. Despite completing the sweep of the Portland Trail Blazers during the regular season, they were swept aside 4-1 in the playoffs, and the futures of Russell Westbrook and Paul George have since been called into question.
Evidently, it will take an extremely bold move from the Thunder to trade either player, although Bleacher Report's Zach Buckley believes that Sam Presti (general manager) may have no other choice.
Does two years seem too quick to pull the plug on the Russell Westbrook-Paul George pairing? Not if you're concerned—as we are—that the club is too flawed to contend and lacking the resources needed to correct them.
General manager Sam Presti is in a brutal spot. George is clearly the team's best player, so trading him makes no sense. Westbrook could prove impossible to deal with declining advanced metrics and an increasing salary. Moving Steven Adams would open a massive hole on the interior. Moving anyone else likely doesn't return a difference-maker.
We don't know where the Thunder can or should go moving forward, but we're almost positive we just heard the championship window for the Westbrook-George duo slam shut.
In case you didn't know...
Westbrook has spent more than a decade with the Thunder, and he has helped guide the franchise to nine trips to the postseason. The 30-year-old has also averaged a triple-double in three consecutive seasons, and he took home the MVP award back in 2017.
Meanwhile, Paul George was signed on an expiring deal two years ago, and he surprisingly snubbed the Lakers to sign a long-term deal with the Thunder last summer. During the 18/19 season, George enjoyed the best season of his career, averaging career-highs in points (28.0), assists (4.1), and rebounds (8.2).
The heart of the matter
The Thunder have performed poorly in back-to-back seasons, although the franchise is still hopeful that the pairing of Westbrook and George can deliver success. Ultimately, OKC fans can expect at least one more season of the partnership, although if the Thunder once again underperform during the 19/20 season -- both Westbrook and George could exit the franchise.
The Thunder hold the 21st pick in the upcoming NBA draft, and the franchise also needs to address the futures of Nerlens Noel, Raymond Felton, and Markieff Morris.Published 21 May 2019, 02:57 IST