Russell Westbrook's future has become the talk of the NBA town since the moment Kevin Durant decided to take his talents to the Bay Area.
With just one year remaining on his contract with the Oklahoma City Thunder, the next phase of his career is up in the air. There have been numerous reports that the franchise are prepared to trade him to avoid a repeat of this summer, but Dion Waiters' move to the Miami Heat has left the door open for them to offer their All-Star point guard a max extension.
The on-court relationship between Russ and KD has come to the forefront since his move and the two-time All-Star game MVP came in for heavy criticism on Jason McIntyre's Speak for Yourself podcast as he dubbed 6'3" star another Dwight Howard.
He said: "Nobody wants to play with him [Westbrook]. Dwight Howard [was] run out of two franchises, we're going to see it with Westbrook. He marches to the beat of his own drum."
Colin Cowherd went on to say: "Do stars want to play with Melo? No. Do stars want to play with Kobe? No. Westbrook's become that guy."
However, Oklahoma City big man Enes Kanter jumped to the defence Russ, shooting down the criticisms from the panel members, tweeting: "Wrong!!! I do..! U kidding me! He makes all of us better. Don't listen that crazy stuff #ThunderNation."
There is no doubting the 2015 scoring champion is an incredible player. He stuffs the stats sheet every night and provides an incredible amount of drive and passion. If he is indeed on the same level as Kobe then he has the capabilities to lead a franchise without another superstar alongside him.
The Thunder still have a strong team - Westbrook makes them a good team - and the future is still bright if they keep, and build around the Long Beach native.