Oklahoma City Thunder Roundup: Russell Westbrook could join Lakers, veteran opts in for next season and more

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Will the Thunder consider trading Russell Westbrook?
Will the Thunder consider trading Russell Westbrook?

After another disappointing season, the Oklahoma City Thunder face a pivotal summer. The All-Star pairing of Paul George and Russell Westbrook has failed to transform OKC into Western contenders, and general manager Sam Presti is expected to make drastic changes this summer. Due to this, there are plenty of OKC rumours making the rounds, and here is everything you need to know ahead of the offseason.

Russell Westbrook interesting the Lakers and Suns

Russell Westbrook failed to guide the Thunder past the Trail Blazers
Russell Westbrook failed to guide the Thunder past the Trail Blazers

Russell Westbrook remains one of the NBA’s biggest stars, although he has received considerable criticism for his failure to transform the Thunder into contenders. Since the departure of Kevin Durant in 2016, Westbrook and the Thunder have failed to win a single playoff series – and this season’s exit to the Trail Blazers was especially frustrating.

Due to this, some around the NBA have linked Westbrook with a surprise trade, and Metro Bet is reporting that Phoenix and Los Angeles are among the possible destinations:

Phoenix would certainly have the pieces to land Westbrook as they could dangle whatever pick they get in the lottery and even Devin Booker. The idea would be to accelerate the Suns’ process into turning themselves into a legit playoff team. Westbrook would give Phoenix that opportunity, even if the Suns wouldn’t be discussed as a real title contender.

Of course the main team interested in Westbrook if he is indeed put on the market would be the Lakers, as Westbrook is a Los Angeles native and the purple and gold have been fascinated with the prospect of landing him in a trade. The Lakers would need to part with nearly all of their young chips in order to land a player of Westbrook’s ilk. 

During the 18/19 season, Westbrook averaged a triple-double for the third straight campaign, although he shot just 36% from the field during the playoffs.

Patrick Patterson set to remain with the Thunder for another year

During the final weeks of the season, Patrick Patterson dropped out of Billy Donovan's rotation
During the final weeks of the season, Patrick Patterson dropped out of Billy Donovan’s rotation

Despite not playing a single minute during OKC’s 4-1 playoff series defeat to the Trail Blazers, The Athletic’s Sham Charania is reporting that Patrick Patterson has opted into the final year of his contract:

Oklahoma City Thunder forward Patrick Patterson has exercised his $5.7M player option for the 2019-20 season, league sources tell The Athletic

Following an impressive spell in Toronto, Patterson joined the Thunder back in 2017. He was expected to become Billy Donovan’s starting power forward, but the arrival of Carmelo Anthony pushed Patterson to the bench during his debut season.

Melo left last summer, although Patterson’s form and playing time plunged during his second season in Oklahoma City. The 30-year-old averaged just 3.6 points in 13.7 minutes per game, and the Thunder will find it difficult to trade away the final year of his contract this summer.

Dennis Schroder is likely to be traded

Dennis Schroder made a major contribution from the OKC bench
Dennis Schroder made a major contribution from the OKC bench

The Thunder want to make roster upgrades this summer, although available cap space is currently an obstacle. Sam Presti will need to offload one of the Thunder’s highest earners before thinking of bringing anyone in, and Bleacher Report is suggesting that Dennis Schroder could be the man to make way:

Oklahoma City doesn’t have the asset equity to drastically improve its roster. Dennis Schroder is a part of that pickle. No team is treating the two years and $31 million left on his contract as a draw. The Thunder can only look to use him as a salary-matcher alongside picks and prospects in bigger deals.

Schroder joined the Thunder as part of the Carmelo Anthony trade last summer. In his debut season, the German played as backup to Westbrook, although he performed well from the bench – averaging 15.5 points and 4.1 assists per game.

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