As Russell Westbrook sits as the lone superstar on Oklahoma City’s roster, the five-time All-Star could depart next summer as the 2016-17 season is the last on his contract. The organization could avoid this by trading away Westbrook, but the team receiving him would have to fork over a substantial package for him, and not too many teams are in a position to do so.
Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical reported that the Thunder allowed Dion Waiters to enter free agency, a move that they hope will entice Russ to re-negotiate his contract and keep him in Oklahoma City. Along with that, the move would play around with their cap space and put them in a spot to make a run at Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin, who also become a free agent in 2017 with the early termination option in his contract.
Griffin was born in Oklahoma City and attended the University of Oklahoma before being drafted and moving out West. The potential of adding another premier player, especially one with Griffin’s playstyle and skillset, could be enough for Westbrook to remain with the franchise.
Although Griffin had a myriad of issues last season that forced him to miss 47 games, he’s one of the most skilled power forwards in the NBA. With averages of 21.4 points on 50 percent shooting, 8.4 boards, and 4.9 assists, Griffin can challenge Chris Paul as the best player on the Clips’ roster, and he’d fit perfectly in the Thunder’s lineup.
Although CP3 undoubtedly makes Griffin a better player, there was a stretch during the 2013-14 season which Paul missed 18 games, and Griffin elevated his game and averaged 27.5 points on 55.4 percent shooting, 8.2 rebounds, and 1.4 steals. LAC went 12-6 over that span.
BG would slide into his natural position at power forward, and a Griffin/Westbrook pick-and-roll would give opponents fits; Russ gets a ton of assists off of driving to the basket and dishing off to his bigs for dunks. Furthermore, Griffin’s otherworldly athleticism makes him a constant alley-oop threat. His significantly improved post game contracts Russ’ explosiveness on the perimeter, and he’s skilled enough with the basketball to be a legitimate point forward.
Worse comes to worst Westbrook can dump the ball off to Griffin in the post late in the shot clock.
According to Basketball-Reference, Griffin was one of two players to average more than 21 points, eight rebounds, and four assists per game. The other? Durant.
There are only three or four guys (Stephen Curry, LeBron James, Kawhi Leonard, James Harden) in the league who would be able to replace Durant’s talent and production, but the addition of Blake Griffin would certainly make Oklahoma City a contender again.
Data courtesy of Basketball-Reference
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