It’s official. The NBA is drunk this summer. The amount of trades and surprising signings this summer is what makes the league exciting to cover. That continued late Friday night/early Saturday morning. Kawhi Leonard decided to sign with the Los Angeles Clippers. That wasn’t the surprising move. The shocker came when the Oklahoma City Thunder traded Paul George to the Clippers for Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Danilo Galinari, and a historic load of draft picks.
With the move for the Thunder, they look like they’re headed for a rebuild, which could make Russell Westbrook available. Oklahoma City is now a huge long-shot to win the NBA title according to betting-universe.com and other online sports books. So, I’m going to ask the question: Should the Timberwolves Trade for Russell Westbrook?
Upside: Pair a second star with Karl-Anthony Towns
Rosas has talked all summer about being aggressive in finding a way to pair another star with Towns. While Towns and Westbrook’s prime may not directly line up, getting KAT an All-Star point guard would be a commitment move from the Timberwolves front office.
The time is ticking on Karl-Anthony Towns. His five-year contract just kicked in, and the Wolves are on the clock. They need to show their commitment and dedication to the franchise player, and making a move for Westbrook would signal that trust.
Downside: Westbrook’s Contract
The biggest downside to acquiring Russell Westbrook is the amount of money he is owed over the next four years. Westbrook is due about $171M over the next four seasons, a $42.75M average per year.
For a team that is already fighting against the salary cap, a move for Westbrook would leave the team with little flexibility over the next four years with the amount of money on their books.
If I’m being honest, I think Westbrook would fit nicely next to Karl-Anthony Towns. Minnesota needs a perimeter creator, and I think a guy that has averaged a triple-double in each of his last two seasons fits that bill.
Westbrook is known as a ball dominant player, but he’s a willing passer that has made Steven Adams a lot better throughout his career. There is no doubt that Westbrook could take Towns’ game to the next level too.
The final downside I’m going to talk about with Westbrook is his ego. He will want to be known as “the guy” no matter where he is. He wouldn’t be the guy in Minnesota. That title belongs to Karl-Anthony Towns and will continue to belong to the big fella.
Along with wanting to be the top dog, Westbrook is known as a tough guy to deal with for the media. His “next question” antics in this year’s playoffs and throughout his career caused a lot more drama around Oklahoma City than what it was worth. There is no doubting Westbrook’s loyalty, but some definite questions can be asked about how he handles himself with the media and around teammates.
If I’m the Timberwolves, I would take the chance on Westbrook, but I wouldn’t try to give up a lot because of the money we would be taking on. I would consider something like this.
- Russell Westbrook
- Andrew Wiggins
- Jeff Teague
- 2020 First-Round Pick
The Wolves would be moving some of their own money off the books, along with a 2020 First-Round Pick. I mean, the Thunder have to think that Andrew Wiggins is the next LeBron James too, right? The way that Wiggins plays against Oklahoma City is what makes Timberwolves fans mad that he can’t find consistency. In his career against the Thunder, Wiggins has averaged 21.6 PPG, 4.4 RPG, and 2.7 APG, all above his career averages.
While the idea of bringing Westbrook’s money and ego to Minnesota may not be the most attractive thing, the Wolves need to go star chasing. The NBA is wide open and making a move for Westbrook puts the Wolves and Towns in a position to be happy and compete in the Western Conference.