Western Conference executive says ‘most likely scenario’ is Russell Westbrook going back to OKC Thunder

Peter Dewey
2 Min Read

One Western Conference executive believes that Los Angeles Lakers guard Russell Westbrook could end up back with the Oklahoma City Thunder this offseason.

Westbrook, who began his career with the Thunder and won an MVP award in Oklahoma City, has a player option for the 2022-23 season with the Lakers. If the Lakers decide to move on from Westbrook, the executive believes Oklahoma City is a logical landing spot.

“The most likely scenario is still Russ ending up back in Oklahoma City, they can absorb him into cap space, give him a year where he can get back to being himself and grab a couple of picks in the process,” the exec told Heavy.com’s Sean Deveney.

The Thunder have been in a rebuild since dealing Westbrook to the Houston Rockets a few seasons back, and they have the No. 2 overall pick in the 2022 NBA Draft.

Oklahoma City could bring Westbrook onto the roster with a couple of incentives in mind. First off, the team would likely acquire draft capital or a young player from Los Angeles to take on Westbrook’s deal.

Secondly, the Thunder could bring a fan favorite back to Oklahoma City where Westbrook had some of the best seasons of his career.

During the 2021-22 campaign, Westbrook averaged 18.5 points, 7.4 rebounds and 7.1 assists per game while shooting 44.4 percent from the field and 29.8 percent from beyond the arc.

The former MVP struggled at times to find his footing in the Lakers’ offense. If the Lakers feel like they can’t operate with both Westbrook and LeBron James on the roster, it may make sense to part with a draft pick to move him to Oklahoma City.

In 11 seasons with the Thunder, Westbrook averaged 23.0 points, 7.0 rebounds and 8.4 assists per game. He was named an All-Star eight times as a member of the Thunder and helped lead them to several playoff appearances.

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Peter is a graduate of Quinnipiac University where he covered the MAAC and college basketball for three years. He has worked for NBC Sports, the Connecticut Sun and the Meriden Record-Journal covering basketball and other major sports. Follow him on Twitter @peterdewey2.