Last night the Oklahoma City Thunder held on to beat the Memphis Grizzlies, it’s often said that winning cures all. That is not always the case, it was reported by Darnell Mayberry that Durant and Westbrook had a “heated” discussion during a second quarter timeout. This is not the first time these two have gotten into it with each other either, many on the OKC side of things insist that it’s not a big deal. Nothing more than two competitors in the heat of battle, ESPN’s J.A. Adande obviously feels different in a piece he wrote for TrueHoop Blog on ESPN.com.
Adande titles the piece, “Why Westbrook won’t work in OKC.” Here’s a piece from Adande’s post, ” He’s told friends he feels Thunder coach Scott Brooks blames him for losses, while the credit for victories goes to Durant.” If that is indeed how Westbrook feels, it may be time to get him out of OKC sooner rather later. There’s no point in risking this “issue” finally blowing up during a Playoff run, the Thunder can’t afford that. Adande then goes on to include finances as another reason for getting rid of Westbrook, which does make sense due to the amount of money he’d earn coming off of his rookie deal this season.
This situation reminds me a bit of one years ago, the marriage of Stephon Marbury and Kevin Garnett. In Minnesota, KG was seen as the franchise player and Steph must have felt something like Westbrook may feel now. It worked on the court at first, it was a match made in basketball heaven because the complemented each other. Steph had the ability to run the team as well as put pressure on the D with his own offense, which in turn freed up KG. KG like Durant, was sort of a quiet person in terms of demanding the ball in crunch time. Keep that in mind as Steph often took the big shots, which had many wondering as to why the ball wasn’t going to KG. No disrespect to KG, but he wasn’t nearly as gifted offensively as Durant was and Westbrook isnt’ as offensively gifted as Steph was. The bottom line being that one of the two parties felt unappreciated, seen as a scapegoat, as well as a “cancer.”
Those on the outside looking in, especially from afar will look at this situation and immediately label Westbrook as the “Cancer.” Same thing happened in Minnesota, yet they never recovered after getting rid of Steph. KG never had a better running mate, nothing close as he wasted away in basketball purgatory aka Minneapolis. Steph, labeled a cancer by then became a journeyman bouncing from team to team. In hindsight, it probably would have been better for the Wolves if they had let KG & Steph work it out. That’s why this situation is monumental for the Thunder as a Franchise, can you afford to give Westbrook up with confidence that you’ll find something better?
Durant and Westbrook are extremely young, there’s plenty of time for them to figure this out. There are many ways Westbrook impacts a game outside of scoring, especially on the boards and defensively. OKC may find someone to replace the offense, but what about the rest? Is it worth it, only time will tell what will come out of this IF ANYTHING. The silver lining being the Thunder are 3-0 on this shortened season, it could be worse.
What would you do, trade or keep Russell Westbrook? Leave your thoughts below!!