Shocker: Celtics mentioned in speculation piece about Russell Westbrook

Oklahoma City Thunder v Portland Trail Blazers

The NBA off-season has been electric. We had the draft pick blockbuster between Boston and Philadelphia, the Jimmy Butler deal, Kevin Durant taking less money in Golden State, rumors of LeBron’s LA dreams, CP3’s desire to play with James Harden, Paul George’s intentions to leave Indy, Gordon Hayward’s big decision and Blake Griffin’s

But there’s a potential story lurking, one that could blow the lid right off the summer. It involves Russell Westbrook. Here’s Berry Tramel with NewsOK:

Come 11 p.m. Friday, Westbrook is eligible to sign a five-year, $215-million contract extension. Westbrook could become the highest-paid athlete in American team sports history. Westbrook could cement himself as the greatest of Oklahoma heroes.


So this is not a prediction. This is just a what-if. What if Westbrook doesn’t sign? What if Westbrook decides to go into the 2017-18 season leaving his options open, which include becoming a free agent next summer? What does Presti do?

If Westbrook doesn’t commit, Presti must go to the marketplace. That doesn’t mean a trade is automatic, either now or by the February trade deadline. But it means Presti has to investigate. Would Boston, with all kinds of assets, be willing to send Isaiah Thomas and that Brooklyn first-round pick and another quality player from that well-stocked Celtic stable? Would some other franchise at least give the Thunder a kickstart on a rebuild that absolutely would be coming if Westbrook leaves?

The answer to your question about Boston, Mr. Tramel, is a resounding YES.

Tramel is 100% right with his thinking. Presti faces a lifetime of ridicule if he lets Westbrook walk away without anything in return. And the longer he waits, the tougher it becomes to get value. Just ask Kevin Pritchard.

But let’s not put the cart before the horse. Royce Young of ESPN:

Those close to Westbrook fully expect him to take the Thunder’s offer, quite possibly at 12:01 a.m., and stabilize the franchise and present a clear road map. Westbrook signed an extension last summer and invoked the word “loyalty” for a reason. He wanted to make a statement — a public declaration — and take on the burden of leading the franchise forward.

Who knows what Westbrook is thinking. But there’s one thing NBA fans should know by now… never say never.

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