USA ZODGITT & USA TODAY Sports & # 39; breaks down the free agency movements of Los Angeles Clippers.
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Paul George's time in Oklahoma City ended with the Clippers trading with the Thunder, which brought George to Los Angeles where he will be paired with Kawhi Leonard. The superb moves shook the NBA and allowed the Clippers to compete for the title.
But where is the transaction in Oklahoma City?
The thunder suddenly finds itself in search of a potential rebuild. They have acquired a plethora of first-round picks from the Clippers, as well as a promising young guard to Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and a versatile veteran forward to Danilo Gallinari.
Full dismantling and rebuilding could be considered, as information began to surface soon after the trade that Oklahoma City was exploring the possibility of transferring former MVP Russell Westbrook.
It will be difficult to trade Westbrook. His contract (four years and about $ 171 million remaining) and his style of play do not make him the most attractive acquisition. However, if the Thunder decides to treat it for future assets that speed up reconstruction, there are a handful of teams that could be viable destinations.
Pat Riley and the company love the power of stars in Miami. They have already won a huge name this season at Jimmy Butler, and Westbrook remains one of the best players (although the most polarizing) of the NBA. Despite all the criticism of his game, Westbrook is doing everything possible and this tenacity will fit well into the culture of the Miami team.
The Heat has little to offer in terms of project choice, but they have a decent mix of young actives (Justise Winslow, Bam Adebayo) and an expiring contract (Goran Dragic) to form the type of elevated supply that could be attractive. to thunder. The lack of choice of projects in Miami would complicate a possible agreement. Ironically, the Thunder already have two of the Heat's future award-winning players, acquired from the Clippers in the contract for George.
SportsPulse: With all the thunder surrounding the arrival of Kawhi Leonard and Paul George in Latin America, one thing can not be lost: the magic touch of Jerry West on the Clippers. As Trysta Krick says, it's more than the logo.
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Minnesota would like to find a candidate for Andrew Wiggins and his albatross contract (four years and about $ 122 million remaining). His contract alone would almost match Westbrook's salary in return. Wiggins is only 24 years old and a fresh start in a low pressure situation such as a rebuilding in Oklahoma City could be exactly what the former # 1 pick needs.
The new Timberwolves wickets scheme was seriously played at Angelo Russell in a stand-alone agency before missing out. Bringing Westbrook to team up with their well-established young star at Karl-Anthony Towns could be the decisive influence to bring the Wolves back to the playoffs. Westbrook has never played with a tense center like Towns, and the duo could become a formidable pick-and-roll duo.
New York Knicks
Desperate to see a star incite fans to come to Madison Square Garden and with such a large salary cap space, the Knicks will be included in a list of potential commercial destinations for any big name. The current front office seems much more cautious than previous regimes, but after hitting all the big names of free will, could the Knicks barter against Westbrook to try to save face? It will not make New York a candidate for the playoffs, but the home office may not be willing to wait much longer before being given a brand name.
New York has some promising young players to offer to Dennis Smith, Frank Ntilikina and Mitchell Robinson, as well as a first-round reserve of choice acquired from the Dallas Mavericks in the Kristaps Porzingis affair. They will have to wait until December to include one of the players they just signed into an exchange, but at any time Westbrook could be the star that the Knicks need to attract other big names in free mode.
It seems that Detroit has already shown interest in Westbrook and that the Pistons have the corresponding wages and a hole in the backyard. Andre Drummond (two years and about $ 55.8 million) is the most likely candidate to be the centerpiece of any trade for Westbrook, with Reggie Jackson (one year, $ 18 million) and Tony Snell ( two years, $ 23.5 million) also having high salaries enough to potentially include. In this case, the Thunder would probably also ask for draft picks in return for salary compensation beyond the upcoming season.
To pair Westbrook with big man Blake Griffin would be risky, since everyone has a history of embarrassing injuries. But when they are healthy, they are among the best at their posts. Westbrook's thrust and thrust training ability could be matched with Griffin's improved exterior shot, and could also be a strong pick-and-roll pair. Two players from the NBA would give the Pistons a higher floor and a much higher ceiling potential than they had for several years.
It may not be the most glamorous destination, but 11 years with the Thunder have shown that Westbrook and his disproportionate personality do not need a huge market to thrive. And the Magic might have the most pressing need for Westbrook, having been looking for a leader for years. D.J. Augustin was solid last season, but that's not the long-term answer, and we still do not know Markelle Fultz can be it. After returning to the playoffs last season, the Magic could push for a higher seed with Westbrook in attack.
Orlando has a lot of young people to offer in Oklahoma City, as well as their own draft picks. Aaron Gordon is still 24 years old, Jonathan Isaac and Mo Bamba are 21 years old. Fultz is 21 years old too. If another craft would enhance the sad state of his young career, the former first choice had enough talent and promised that the Thunder might be willing to acquire it as a salvage project.
Follow Matt Eppers on Twitter @meppers_.