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Russell Westbrook.

How the Boston Celtics can trade for Russell Westbrook this summer

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The future of the Oklahoma City Thunder and Russell Westbrook has completely flipped on its head since Kevin Durant turned his back on the franchise for a shot at glory with the Golden State Warriors.

In a bid not to get caught out again next summer, it has been reported that the organisation are seriously considering the possibility of trading their All-Star point guard. Two teams have come out as clear favourites; the Boston Celtics and the Los Angeles Lakers.

The Lakers are reportedly confident they can entice the triple-double machine back to his home state during the free agency period of 2017, when Westbrook will be unrestricted, however, the Thunder are said to not want to lose him for nothing and are keen to get something in return.

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That leaves the door open for the Celtics, who are on the cusp of building something special themselves without the California native. Danny Ainge failed in attempts to trade for James Harden and was unable to convince KD his future was best served at TD Garden, so Westbrook could be the last roll of the dice this summer.

The Celtics are stacked with future draft picks. Having selected an incredible eight players during the 2016 draft, they have first round picks from other franchises in 2017, '18, and '19, along with second round selections in '17, '19 and 2020.

2016 NBA Draft

With Durant now a distant memory, the Western Conference franchise could be convinced to embark on a mini rebuild around the likes of Steven Adams and Victor Oladipo.

Of course, the Thunder are unlikely to accept a trade with solely future picks involved for their star player. They know that Westbrook has the ability to make something special happen within any organisation and will want to be paid in such a way.

However, the Celtics are unlikely to want to part with their major parts. They brought in Al Horford in from the Atlanta Hawks to improve their frontcourt - the area that needed most work - but believed they were a Conference Finals level team even before the forward's addition.

Tampa Bay Rays v Boston Red Sox

The Thunder have to hit the $84.7 million salary floor to comply with NBA regulations and Westbrook's $17.7m takes up a large portion of that. Offering role players such as Amir Johnson ($12m) and Jonas Jerebko ($5m) would go a long way to helping them reach that limit.

But it begs the question of what players the Thunder would be looking to bring in to replace Westbrook. Cameron Payne is an extremely raw, but talented point guard, who would struggle to command the one spot for any team with serious ambitions of not tanking.

Oklahoma City Thunder v Golden State Warriors - Game Seven

The Thunder could realistically ask for a trade involving a combination of Isaiah Thomas ($6.5M), Jae Crowder ($7M) and Marcus Smart ($3.5M), plus draft picks for a player of Russell's talent. It all depends on how far Boston are willing to go. They don't have the young, emerging talent to play with like the Lakers, they already have established players.

Can they wait until next season to try and entice Westbrook with the risk of him going somewhere else? But blowing up their current roster could have adverse effects. Maybe the Lakers could pounce. Only time will tell.

Topics:
Eastern Conference
NBA
Northwest Division
Western Conference
Boston Celtics
Atlantic Division
Russell Westbrook
Oklahoma City Thunder

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