After days of speculation, the NBA world absolutely blew up last night as the landscape of the league drastically changed with Kawhi Leonard announcing his decision to sign with the Clippers and getting superstar Paul George to join him along the way.
It was a shock out of the blue sky as George wasn’t even o the radar for teams, as he signed a multi-year contract last summer, but apparently, George grew dissatisfied in OKC and decided to request a trade a few days ago, most likely motivated by Kawhi’s push to join him.
The Clippers got Paul George, but OKC acquired Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Danilo Gallinari, along with three unprotected first-round picks from the Clippers in this trade (2022, 2024 and 2026), plus two firsts from Miami (2021 unprotected and 2023 protected 1-to-14) and the right to swap picks with the Clippers in 2023 and 2025.
So what is next for the OKC Thunder? At first sight, this seems like a horrible decision for them, as they had to give up their best player and not get a star in return. Their contender status just disappeared if they don’t make any significant moves moving forward.
But the sun might be brighter on the other side for the Thunder. Although it seems they will be entering a rebuilding mode, there is a ton of assets to work with from their numerous future draft picks.
But what is next for Russell Westbrook? As he turns 31 next seasons, his window is closing down, and after another superstar left him, it seems that things are going downhill for Westbrook.
Many think that the Thunder should explore the market and see what they could get for him and go full-rebuild mode. At this point that might be the best option for them, as trying to build another team around Westbrook could resolve in another mediocre season.
We saw that they put their fan favorite center Steven Adams on the market earlier this offseason, so we know that Sam Presti is not afraid to make risky moves.
After years of numerous disappointing playoff exits, it seems that it was bound to blow up, so this could be a completely new team moving forward.
One is for sure. A lot of things will change in Oklahoma.