On Saturday evening, rumors/reports began to swirl that the Detroit Pistons were interested in trading for Oklahoma Thunder guard, Russell Westbrook. One of those reports actually called the Pistons the ‘most aggressive team’ in the sweepstakes to land the stat-stuffer from the Thunder.
Now, a day later, a piece published by The Score titled, “3 Potential trade destinations for Westbrook,” included the Pistons.
Here is what The Score had to say.
Reggie Jackson is a perfectly capable NBA point guard, but Detroit is teetering on the edge of mediocrity. The Pistons were the eighth seed – just barely – in the East last season and their reward for squeaking into the playoffs was a four-game drubbing by the Milwaukee Bucks that cemented the notion that Detroit isn’t built for the postseason.
That’s never where any team wants to be, but it’s more pressing given that both Blake Griffin and Andre Drummond are riding max contracts next season, with Griffin’s guaranteed in 2020-21, too. The Pistons need to upgrade now, and while this proposed swap would likely weaken their three-point shooting, it’s a risk worth taking.
It makes sense for the Thunder, too. Tony Snell has a $12-million player option in 2020-21, so the 27-year-old can opt out next summer if he isn’t on board with what will likely be a long rebuild, and Luke Kennard is a young sharpshooter still locked into his rookie contract through 2021-22. Jackson’s expiring deal helps match salaries, but a return to the Thunder would give them another starting point guard for a year before they likely hand the keys to Shai Gilgeous-Alexander.
The real sweeteners in the swap, though, are the two first-round picks, even if they’re not in the lottery. Thanks to the Los Angeles Clippers’ desperate need for Paul George, the Thunder could have an extra five first-round selections between 2022 and 2026 (plus another two pick swaps). Acquiring two more first-rounders from Detroit would give Oklahoma City more than enough to again rebuild through the draft or to package in a trade for another superstar.
Nation, given this scenario to obtain Russell Westbrook, would you make the deal?