Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook is brushing aside talk that he might join the Lakers when his current contract expires, writes Anthony Slater of The Oklahoman. Westbrook, who will be a free agent in 2017, has close ties to the Los Angeles area, being born in Long Beach and playing college basketball at UCLA. Westbrook was a Lakers fan growing up, but he says he has no plan to play for them. “I like where I am now,” Westbrook said. “Oklahoma City is a great place for me.”
There’s more news today regarding the Thunder:
- Signing a one-year contract may be Kevin Durant‘s best strategy in free agency, Slater writes in a separate piece. The All-Star small forward, who is expected to be the most sought-after free agent this summer, can benefit financially by testing the market again in 2017. Slater explains that Durant can get a max deal this summer worth 30% of a salary cap that is projected at about $90MM. Next season will be Durant’s 10th in the league, which qualifies him for 35% of the cap, which is expected to rise to about $108MM in 2017/18. Chuck Myron recently examined Durant’s free agency options in depth.
- Durant would be interested in a front office position once his playing days are done, tweets Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports.
- Little-used combo forward Steve Novak could be a valuable trade chip for Oklahoma City, according to Bobby Marks of The Vertical on Yahoo Sports. Novak has only played 24 minutes over seven games this season, but Marks thinks a team could be tempted to take on his expiring $3.75MM contract. Novak has been with eight franchises during his 10-year NBA career. Marks also advises the Thunder to hold onto all of their starters and rotation players to make a run at the NBA title. That includes reserve point guard D.J. Augustin, who averages just 15.3 minutes per night, but whose experience might be valuable in the playoffs, as the only other backup at that position is rookie Cameron Payne.