Russell Westbrook & OKC: TRAPPED
This time last year the Oklahoma City Thunder were tied 1–1 with the Golden State Warriors in the NBA western conference finals, heading home to play games 3 & 4, the future looked so bright for this young team led by all stars Kevin Durant & Russell Westbrook, fast forward to after games 3 & 4 the Oklahoma city Thunder took a firm grip on the 7 game series and were up 3–1 and everyone thought “oh this might actually be the year” but the Golden state warriors had other plans a game 5 win from the bay area side and a Klay Thompson shooting clinic in game 6 then an MVP like game from the leagues current MVP that year in game 7 saw the Oklahoma city Thunder get eliminated. Then the next thing on everyone’s mind was Kevin Durant & free agency, questions like “where will he go” “will he re-sign with okc” were asked by literally everyone in the basketball world.
On July 4, 2016, Durant announced his intentions to sign with the Golden State Warriors in a Players’ Tribune piece titled “My Next Chapter” and this was received negatively by fans and NBA analysts because we all couldn’t believe this man joined a team that beat him some months ago. It was actually happening, On July 7, he officially signed with the Warriors on a two-year, $54.3 million contract with a player option after the first year.
Now there were different debates and discussions on how Russell Westbrook would react to KD’s decision to join the Warriors and yeah him and the OKC board reacted “emotionally” and they took a decision that might affect that franchise negatively for years to come, They both agreed on a 3 year / $85,591,823 contract for the all star point guard with a player option that allows Westbrook to still become a free agent after the 2017–2018 season. Russell Westbrook after he signed his big money 3 year deal; “There’s nowhere else I would rather be than Oklahoma City, You guys have basically raised me. I’ve been here since I was 18, 19 years old. You guys did nothing but great things for me. Through the good and the bad, you guys supported me through it all, and I appreciate it. Definitely when I had the opportunity to be able to be loyal to you guys, that’s the №1 option. Loyalty is something that I stand by”.
Fast forward to the 2016–2017 season Russell Westbrook re-writes the history books averaging 31.6 ppg, 10.4 rpg and 10.7 apg which made him the second player in NBA history to average a triple-double and breaking Oscar Robertson’s record of most triple-doubles in a season (41) with 42 triple-doubles that season and he led his team to a 6th place finish in the western conference and a playoff berth where the Oklahoma City Thunder were knocked out in the first round by James Harden and the Houston Rockets.
Sadly, because of Russell Westbrook’s pledge of loyalty to the Oklahoma City Thunder, things are going to be like this at that franchise for a long time. Now i’m asking which star in the NBA wants to take a pay-cut to go all the way to Oklahoma to play with a “ball hog” or a guy who doesn’t play with his teammates or a guy whose assists mostly comes off pick and rolls with Enes Kanter & Steven Adams(his big men), I’ve been hearing talks about Blake Griffin possibly returning to his home town (Oklahoma) no way that is happening, Blake Griffin is not taking a pay-cut to go and look at Russell Westbrook pad his rebounding stats neither is Paul George who is a free agent next year, all these guys are all stars and they want the ball as much as Russell Westbrook does and most importantly they also want to compete and win championships and they really don’t stand a chance with a point guard who is a ball hog and a depleted Oklahoma City Thunder roster.
The pledge of loyalty seemed so cute and passionate last summer but it is really about to do more harm than good because with their cap space problems OKC really can’t attract any superstar to come and team up with “Mr Triple Double” and even if they can like i mentioned earlier, no star wants to play with a ball hog as a point guard so it’s about to be a long 2–3 years for Oklahoma City Thunder and their fans because they are trapped with “Mr Triple Double”.