NBA exec: Russell Westbrook is "a hundred percent" leaving the Oklahoma City Thunder

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Free agency is dominating social media right now, but some eagle-eyed fans will have their eyes on next summer with an even better cluster of players set to test the waters in 2017.

Stephen Curry, Russell Westbrook, Blake Griffin, Chris Paul, Gordon Hayward and Giannis Antetoukounmpo all see their contracts expire next July and it is sure to be another period of excitement.

One player that stands out above the rest is Westbrook. The point guard has been a driving force behind the Oklahoma City Thunder's recent success, but his best efforts have not produced the championship ring that all elite stars crave.

After eight years in The Big Friendly that have yielded one Finals heartbreak at the hands of the Miami Heat four years ago, and a demoralising collapse against the Golden State Warriors in the Western Conference Finals of 2016, it appears Westbrook's future could be away from the franchise.

There will be no shortage of suitors for the two-time All-Star game MVP who led the league in triple-doubles last season, and according to a league executive - via the Boston Herald - there is no chance he will sign an extension with the organisation.

The un-named source said: “He’s gone after this year. A hundred percent. I think that’s the case no matter what. I guess people can always change their mind, but I think this season was going to be it for him there no matter what.”

2016 came so close to being a special year for the Northwest Division team as they sent the San Antonio Spurs, who were coming off the back of a franchise-best regular season, crashing out in the semi-finals before taking a commanding lead over the defending champions in the next round.

With a 3-1 lead, there seemed to be no way back for the Dubs, but as Golden State found out against the Cleveland Cavaliers, it is not over until that fourth W is on the board. Klay Thompson had the series of his life as he shot the lights out in games five, six and seven to crush Oklahoma dreams in a heartbeat.

The defeat must have been hard for anyone to take, especially after Westbrook had posted such impressive number throughout the season; regular and playoffs.

Having competed in 80 games before the postseason action began, he averaged 23.5 points, 10.4 assists and 7.8 rebounds after recording an incredible 18 triple-doubles - five ahead of his nearest rival Draymond Green.

What the future holds for Westbrook is anybody's guess. The elite teams in the NBA all have top-level point guards, however, when a player of his calibre comes along, risks have to be taken and front offices will be licking their lips in anticipation.

Western Conference
Oklahoma City Thunder
Northwest Division
Russell Westbrook
Kevin Durant

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