Andrew Gilman

What Westbrook does matters most

What Westbrook does matters most

I’ll wait until Russell Westbrook tells me what to think before I make up my mind on the Thunder day-trading that culminated Thursday with the acquisition of Doug McDermott and Taj Gibson.

I’m not in any rush to make up my mind on a deal that seems to make the Thunder better immediately, but not great in the long term. I’m good with being patient and content until Russ signs off or re-signs. That’s the ultimate determining factor here. That’s the only way we’re going to know if this trade was one worth making.

We know this trade doesn’t mean the Thunder are now immediate contenders to win a title. We know this trade won’t cause them to miss this season’s playoffs, either.

The Thunder gave up on Cameron Payne and Joffrey Lauvergne and dumped Anthony Morrow. McDermott is pretty much the opposite of Andre Roberson and pretty much the same as Anthony Morrow – can’t play much defense, but can spread the floor, give you quality minutes and shoot until he gets a rotator cuff injury. Meanwhile, Gibson gives the Thunder an intimidating presence inside with Adams and should be able to gather more than a few rebounds. Toughness level increases.

But so do the questions – like, will this be enough to get Westbrook to stay with the Thunder? Is this the first step in the Thunder making sure the team is moving in a positive direction, closer to a title, then it was before? Is this a stepping-stone kind of move that starts with gathering new pieces so Russ is first appeased and then ultimately convinced the Thunder can win a title?

We’ll see if Russ believes. And we’ll know if it’s a good deal if Gibson stays with the Thunder, McDermott makes a few shots and Westbrook re-signs. None of it matters unless Russ re-signs. It could be Monte Hall good and it crumbles into a used car swindle if Russ takes off for the Lakers or wherever else he might leave when the opportunity comes up.

The positive is Sam Presti. He wins public relations with the fans for not standing still or being reactive. Presti was proactive, working a draft pick to go along with a pair of players whose upside is still not yet been determined. A short-term win for sure.

Beyond that? Let’s just wait and see what Russ has to say.

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