Russell Westbrook is set to be training with LeBron James out in Vegas.
After that, he and a number of his Thunder teammates (Not Paul George, he’s not available) will be working out together in California.
And here we are back in Oklahoma wondering, waiting, some worrying, about whether or when or if Westbrook will sign that long-term extension that will keep him in OKC for much longer than just this one upcoming season.
The Russell Westbrook situation is worth worrying about. And it’s also not worth it.
Worry because LeBron is the maestro of the NBA. He makes a move, others react. LeBron, like a handful of other superstars in the NBA, can force change. We all know LeBron isn’t happy in Cleveland, is in the middle of a spat with Kyrie Irving, who apparently wants out, and now LeBron is training with Westbrook as well as others in Vegas? Gotta think they’re not just shooting jumpers and doing burpees and TRX training. Gotta think some business is being discussed.
Don’t worry because Kevin Durant trained with LeBron in the past. So have others. This isn’t the old NBA where players truly disliked each other. Guys share agents, guys share business deals – after all Westbrook and James are both Nike guys – and guys make so much money it’s not in their best interest to become enemies. Just because LeBron and Westbrook are working out together doesn’t mean they are colluding to overthrow the empire of the NBA.
Worry because Westbrook hasn’t signed his extension yet, despite having the highest approval rating in his career. He’s never been more popular. What’s he waiting on? Perhaps he’s been busy this summer, he’s had a kid, so maybe he hasn’t gotten around to it, but knowing fans are waiting and don’t want to feel like they are going to get burned like Durant did to the team, it does seem a bit odd he hasn’t signed yet.
Don’t worry because Westbrook didn’t sign his deal last summer until Aug. 4.
Worry because George, who now is on the Thunder, is from the Los Angeles area, like Westbrook. Both could leave the Thunder after next season. If the two work well together but feel like OKC isn’t the best bet to win a title, perhaps a move West could happen. Meanwhile, with James and Westbrook spending some summer time together, future plans could be easily made.
Don’t worry because Westbrook has essentially painted himself into the corner. He’s made himself the good guy in OKC and made Durant to be the bad guy. With all of his comments toward Durant, the Instagram posts of cupcakes and the fashion choices Westbrook has made at certain times, it would seemingly be a public relations suicide if Westbrook bolted town seeing as how he’s said KD was “soft” for doing it, too. Westbrook is seen by fans as the “loyal” one. KD is the opposite. If Westbrook leaves now, his legacy will be affected in a remarkably negative way. Now, none of that may matter to him, but it won’t look good.