July 10, 2016, 12:34 pm
Adrian Wojnarowski went on Colin Cowherd’s radio show and said he likes Russell Westbrook’s chances of staying in Oklahoma City.
— Herd w/Colin Cowherd (@TheHerd) July 8, 2016
“I, I, I like Oklahoma City’s chances to keep Russell Westbrook. I really do. I don’t think he’s dying to leave there,” proclaimed Woj. It sounds like Oklahoma City is going to try to keep him but you’ll notice that Woj never really addressed the issue of Westbrook getting an extension or giving a promise that he will indeed stay — because absent that promise if you’re Sam Presti you have to trade him.
That said, the Thunder have never stuck to a script (see getting rid of James Harden so they could keep Kendrick Perkins), so maybe they’re crazy enough to play it out.
Woj adds a number of reasons that Westbrook would want to stay and we’re fans of the idea too.
Let Westbrook rise from the ashes of the Kevin Durant decision and destroy major cities. Let him make like Uma Thurman against an NBA house filled with Crazy 88s and in the end just maybe he can climb up into the Western Conference Finals for a showdown at the House of Blue Leaves.
The Warriors have given us a Goliath and we need a David that is certifiably insane enough to believe he can dice them up. All of the karma and #narrative and anti-Kevin Durant sentiment will have parked itself at Oracle Arena, right before the Warriors remove their heart and soul for a zip code across the bay, and he will have the entire basketball world on a string with the delight of a revenge series.
Yes, the Cavs and LeBron James are the first team we have to talk about when discussing who can beat the Warriors. But Vegas re-installed the Warriors as theoretic -200 favorites right after the Finals ended if they were to tip it up again. That was before the Warriors got Durant.
You’d like to think the Cavs can find a way around the Kevin Love contract situation and that their pieces can hold up, but they have some mileage issues and injury concerns up and down the lineup.
In this conversation it seems we need a perfectly constructed team to mold itself around a perfect basketball weapon.
Woj’s pitch has some merit — Victor Oladipo and Steven Adams are a very good start to figuring out the puzzle. You’re checking boxes in the Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green conversations. If they could find a player built in the mold of a Willie Cauley-Stein to cover Durant then I believe we’re having a conversation about the Thunder and the Warriors.
And that’s hard to do right now.
But it all starts with Westbrook and there’s no better setting for this drama than OKC. The Warriors would inevitably downplay any correlation between the past and the present, but basketball is a game about narrative. “Kevin, how do you feel about Russell leading what used to be your guys’ team to the Western Conference Finals.”
“I’m happy for him and we’re just focused on winning the next game.”
Over and over and over and over again.
Pardon me for grasping at straws but I’m just trying to fit in with NBA decision-makers at this point. There are only a small handful of players with both the talent and mental composition to hold the slingshot. Kawhi Leonard. Russell Westbrook. Karl Anthony-Towns. That’s it.
So if Woj and the NBA powers that be want to maintain Oklahoma City as a sort of spirit animal for those of us wanting real competition in the playoffs, we’ll have the popcorn ready.