Tha Sports Junkies 101

Russell Westbrook’s Silence is a Good Sign for Oklahoma

Russell Westbrook davidfenyo via Flickr


Russell Westbrook has been noticeably silent about Kevin Durant’s departure from Oklahoma City. This could just be Westbrook’s way of emphasizing his detachment from the basketball world during the offseason. However, to think he hasn’t given the entire situation some thought is naive. He definitely knows what is going on and he definitely is the type of person to care. So why hasn’t he said anything?

While not exactly on LeBron’s level, Russell Westbrook has shown that he can be a very vindictive person. As the ultimate competitor in the NBA, he takes everything on the court personally. He attacks with such ferocity and disdain for the defender that it’s almost hard to watch if you’re an opposing fan. This lends a hand to understanding why he hasn’t said anything and, more importantly, why he won’t be leaving Oklahoma City any time soon.

It’s no secret that Russ and Durant didn’t have the greatest relationship. There was some back and forth on the court but it never seemed as if it was too big of a problem. The duo worked well together and had strung together some serious runs during the regular season, and the playoffs. Even with Kevin Durant gone, you can’t discredit their history together and blame it on Russ. His decision to go to the Warriors could have had very little to do with Westbrook and everything to do with Oakland. While Oklahoma was putting together a great team that looked to be one of the best in the League, it’s hard to put them over a Golden State team that has Kevin Durant.

No one understands that more than Russell Westbrook. He knows that Durant made a basketball decision. He knows that it’s going to make Durant happy. However, he also knows he wouldn’t have made that decision himself. If there is one thing you can guarantee about Westbrook, it is that his ego wouldn’t have allowed him to join a team that had just put him out of the playoffs.

When November rolls around, Russell Westbrook is going to be a man on a mission. That mission being to prove a point—that Oklahoma doesn’t need someone like Kevin Durant to succeed. That point could be mute, but that is not going to stop Westbrook from trying to drive it home. Russ staying for at least one more season is all Oklahoma could ask for as he will try to single handedly will his team to the playoffs. An angry Westbrook is the most dangerous Westbrook. It would be a mistake if Sam Presti traded that kind of player away at the expense of a few extra draft picks and some assets.

The silence and uncertainty about his position on the situation should force every other team in the League to watch carefully. As the season draws near, Westbrook will be brewing in anger that will explode on the NBA like no one has seen before. It will be the perfect opportunity to prove to the League that he can carry a team, and that he is a top 5 player while discrediting Kevin Durant at the same time. What a great inspiration for someone who doesn’t even look like he needs it.

If the season unfolds like many expect it to, Presti can bank on Westbrook resigning. With a large amount of cap space available for the next free agency, Russell can finally get a team that is centered around him. Even if Oklahoma City’s season is sub-par, they can immediately re-tool their roster to work around Westbrook. He can now recruit players to his city and target free agents that he likes. With that kind of talent to work around, they could be overnight contenders if Sam Presti delivers.

Nothing would make Westbrook happier than a chance to go up against Kevin Durant and the Warriors in the playoffs. Doubling down with the Thunder might give him the best chance to do so. Not to mention he would also be staying loyal to the organization. Any remote success he has there would only work to slight Durant. This could be the end game for Russell Westbrook: To make sure Kevin Durant is never again seen like a hero in Oklahoma, and across the NBA.