Five reasons why Westbrook to the Celtics makes sense
BOSTON – The Boston Celtics landing Al Horford via free agency was the first significant coup by the Celtics regime on the free agent market like, ever.
When it comes to significantly bolstering their roster, they usually do it via trade. And while the summer is still young, Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook looks very much ripe to be plucked from the Thunder’s roster.
In fact, Bleacher Report indicated that the Celtics are the most likely trade partner for Oklahoma City if they decide to trade Westbrook prior to him becoming a free agent next summer.
When it comes to trade rumors, more often than not they tend to be lopsided in favor of one team, which is why they usually don’t come to fruition.
But the Celtics acquiring Westbrook makes senses on multiple levels.
Here’s a look at five reasons why a Westbrook-to-Boston trade makes sense for both teams.
5. Increased exposure
The NBA is a global game so it’s not hard for an NBA player to be known regardless of where they call home base. But it certainly would benefit someone who wants to be as fashion-forward as Russell Westbrook, to be on the East coast in Boston. And as for the Celtics, adding a player like Westbrook would only add to the perception that Boston isn’t that bad a place to be. And if they continue to improve in terms of wins and losses, that’ll only make the Celtics franchise that more attractive to potential free agents.
4. Thunder acquire assets
There’s nothing worst for a franchise than to lose a star player and get absolutely nothing in return. The Thunder know how that feels after seeing Kevin Durant sign with the Golden State Warriors. To allow that to happen a second time seems far-fetched. Boston has draft picks and young players they can part with. As we have seen, few teams outside of San Antonio make better use of their draft picks than the Thunder. For Boston, it will finally be a clear and undeniable moment in which the assets that they have been accumulating for years, will indeed pay off with the acquisition of an elite, superstar-caliber player.
3. Head coaches face greater challenges
Brad Stevens has been coaching teams on the outside looking in, during his three years on the job. But in acquiring Westbrook, the Celtics would go into the season as favorites most nights. As for Oklahoma City’s Billy Donovan, he inherited a team that was built to compete for a title. If Westbrook moves on, he will have a rebuilding job to work with which in some ways was similar to what Brad Stevens inherited in 2013.
2. Smoother path in the East
Like most players in the NBA, money isn’t nearly as big a motivational factor as it used to be. That’s because they all have a ton of it at their disposal. The mindset of today’s stars is about winning titles or at the very least competing for one. And as we saw with the Cleveland Cavaliers this season and more recently in the NBA, the path to the NBA Finals is a smoother one if you are coming from the East. As for the Thunder, when Durant left it was clear that Oklahoma City would be hard-pressed to be a playoff team. Now that they can start the rebuild with young talent currently on the roster, more coming in via the trade in addition to what would likely be Boston parting with a couple of its high, future draft picks.
1.Celtics get a legit superstar
Al Horford was a quality signing by Boston, but by no means is Horford considered an NBA superstar. Westbrook is. He’s a dynamic scorer and rebounder who should be considered among the top five players in the NBA. Coming to Boston, he gets to be the undisputed alpha dog of the pack. And Boston finally has a bona fide superstar, the first since Paul Pierce. There are still plenty of hoops and hurdles to clear before this has any shot at coming to fruition. But the fact that the Celtics are once again in the conversation for acquiring quality talent, speaks to how the perception of Boston is gradually shifting away from a scrappy team to one that can acquire some of the best talent on the market, players like Russell Westbrook.
A. Sherrod Blakely can be followed on Twitter: @SherrodbCSN