The Oklahoma City Thunder have the cap space to make a run at Russell Westbrook and if they don’t, there are other teams that could.

The “why did russell westbrook leave houston rockets” is a question that has been asked for a while. The Oklahoma City Thunder could fix the Lakers’ $91.7 million Russell Westbrook problem.

The Oklahoma City Thunder Could Fix the Lakers' $91.7 Million Russell Westbrook Problem

Everything was OK in Lakerland for one night. The Los Angeles Lakers rallied from a late deficit to defeat the Utah Jazz after Russell Westbrook hung a poster on three-time Defensive Player of the Year Rudy Gobert. The Lakers improved to 22–22, one game behind the injured Denver Nuggets for a chance to avoid the play-in round.

When the Lakers acquired Westbrook from the Washington Wizards last summer, they had no intention of struggling on defense and battling to escape the play-in round. The 2016–17 NBA MVP, on the other hand, has battled to find a home with his local club. His defensive flaws are part of a larger issue in Los Angeles, which includes depending on 37-year-old LeBron James to carry the team.

Russell Westbrook’s touring performance is making its fourth trip in four years.

*{padding:0;margin:0;overflow:hidden} html,bodyheight:100% img,spanposition:absolute;width:100% ;top:0;bottom:0;margin:auto;bodyheight:100% html,bodyheight:100% html,bodyheight:100% html,bodyheight:100% html,bodyheight:100% html,bodyheight:100% html,bodyhe spanheight:1.5em;text-align:center;font:48px/1.5 sans-serif;color:white;text-shadow:0 0 0.5em black;text-shadow:0 0 0.5em black;text-shadow:0 0 0.5em black;text-shadow:0 0 0.5em black;text-shadow:0 0 0.5em black;text-shadow><span>▶</span>

For more than a decade, Russell Westbrook and the Oklahoma City Thunder were inextricably linked. Before leaving to the Great Plains, the Seattle SuperSonics utilized their last first-round choice in 2008 to select Westbrook fourth overall.

He was instrumental in the Thunder’s comeback, joining up with other rising players Kevin Durant and James Harden to lead the club to the 2012 NBA Finals. The next season, Harden moved to Houston. Meanwhile, Durant and Westbrook were unable to return OKC to its former glory. In 2016, the Thunder came agonizingly close to winning the Western Conference Finals after losing a 3–1 lead. Durant decided to leave that summer.

While Westbrook’s streak of double-double averages (four in the past five seasons) was aided by this, the Thunder shifted gears in 2019 following their third consecutive first-round playoff elimination. Westbrook was sent to the Rockets. After one season, Houston traded the nine-time All-Star to the Wizards.

His time in the District of Columbia was equally short. After a year, Westbrook returned to Los Angeles.

The Lakers are responsible for his $44.2 million salary this season. Westbrook’s $47.1 million option for 2022–23 is very certain to be exercised, given his market worth.

However, the Lakers may have a remedy.

There is only one club with enough cap room to rescue the Lakers from Russell Westbrook.

There is one team that could fix the expensive Russell Westbrook problem for the Lakers. But it's beyond unlikely the Oklahoma City Thunder will.

There is one team that could fix the expensive Russell Westbrook problem for the Lakers. But it's beyond unlikely the Oklahoma City Thunder will. The Lakers’ pricey Russell Westbrook dilemma may be solved by one club. The Oklahoma City Thunder, on the other hand, are very unlikely to do so. | Getty Images/Katelyn Mulcahy

The NBA salary ceiling and luxury tax threshold were both raised by 3% from the previous season. This season, nine clubs, including the Lakers, are expected to be taxpayers. Los Angeles’ tax bill is estimated to be about $40.8 million, a hefty price to pay for a.500 squad.

However, practically every NBA club operates over the payroll cap line. Except for one squad.

Yes, there is a team that has the financial wherewithal to steal Russell Westbrook away from the Lakers. Due to the use of its non-taxpayer mid-level exemption last summer, the club is hard-capped.

The issue in Los Angeles mimics the real estate market’s driving force: location, location, location.

The franchise that launched Westbrook on his four-teams-in-four-years trip in the first place is the only team that could take Westbrook’s increasingly onerous contract off the Lakers’ shoulders. The Oklahoma City Thunder are quite unlikely to help the Lakers.

Even if the Thunder were willing to return Westbrook, GM Sam Presti would want draft selections as compensation.

In Los Angeles, draft capital is in limited supply. The Lakers received first-round selections in 2022 and 2024 (or 2025) as well as a possible swap in 2023 in exchange for Anthony Davis in 2019. The Stepien Rule forbids LA from dealing their 2026 first-round selection because to the uncertainty surrounding the 2024 pick.

Presti might be persuaded to eat the balance of Westbrook’s deal with the Oklahoma City Thunder, which he signed in 2017. He won’t do it for a bunch of second-round selections, however.

Russell Westbrook is the only option for the Lakers.

*{padding:0;margin:0;overflow:hidden} html,bodyheight:100% img,spanposition:absolute;width:100% ;top:0;bottom:0;margin:auto;bodyheight:100% html,bodyheight:100% html,bodyheight:100% html,bodyheight:100% html,bodyheight:100% html,bodyheight:100% html,bodyhe spanheight:1.5em;text-align:center;font:48px/1.5 sans-serif;color:white;text-shadow:0 0 0.5em black;text-shadow:0 0 0.5em black;text-shadow:0 0 0.5em black;text-shadow:0 0 0.5em black;text-shadow:0 0 0.5em black;text-shadow><span>▶</span>

Russell Westbrook and the Lakers are expected to be together for the rest of the season. The previous two seasons, James has served as the team’s de facto point guard. However, with Davis out, coach Frank Vogel opts for the future Hall of Famer at center.

On the roster, there are no other potential point guard possibilities. Avery Bradley has already performed it, although not for a long time and never really successfully. Kendrick Nunn’s name is preceded by the letters “PG.” He’s currently working his way back from a knee injury.

Aside from that, the Lakers’ roster isn’t well-built in terms of possible swaps. The only players on the squad who aren’t on maximum or minimum contracts are Nunn and young Talen Horton-Tucker. In a prospective deal, the pair is unlikely to get a solid point guard option.

The Lakers made a major impact by acquiring Russell Westbrook in a trade. Even while his ineffective performance hangs around the team’s neck like an anchor, pulling LA down the rankings, general manager Rob Pelinka can’t do much about it.

Even the Oklahoma City Thunder are unable to assist.

Basketball Reference provided the statistics. Spotrac provided contract details.

Like Sportscasting on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter @sportscasting19.

Russell Westbrook’s Contract Gives the Lakers Another Headache Beyond His On-Court Struggles RELATED: NBA Trade Deadline: Russell Westbrook’s Contract Gives the Lakers Another Headache Beyond His On-Court Struggles

The Oklahoma City Thunder Could Fix the Lakers’ $91.7 Million Russell Westbrook Problem. The Oklahoma City Thunder have a player that could fix the Lakers’ $91.7 million problem: Russell Westbrook. Reference: oklahoma city basketball.

  • how old is russell westbrook
  • russell westbrook contract
  • russell westbrook mvp season
You May Also Like

20 Reasons Tom Brady Will Always Outclass Aaron Rodgers

Tom Brady has been the most decorated quarterback in NFL history. However,…

Odell Beckham Jr.’s Warning to Von Miller Paid Huge Dividends for the Los Angeles Rams and Their Super Bowl Dreams

The Los Angeles Rams have been in the midst of a resurgence…

Mike Tyson Suffered 2 Devastating Losses Early in His Boxing Career

There is a great story to be told about Mike Tyson’s early…

Tom Brady’s Pregame Ritual Involves Healing and Protection Stones, Mantras From His Wife Gisele Bündchen

Tom Brady’s pregame ritual has been well-documented, but he revealed a new…