Can Russell Westbrook reignite the motor Pistons are missing?

OKC Thunder guard Russell Westbrook (Photo by Zach Beeker/NBAE via Getty Images)
OKC Thunder guard Russell Westbrook (Photo by Zach Beeker/NBAE via Getty Images) /
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OKC Thunder
Russell Westbrook of the OKC Thunder (Photo by Zach Beeker/NBAE via Getty Images) /

With the Pistons seemingly stuck in NBA purgatory, should they strike a deal with the OKC Thunder to acquire Russell Westbrook in hopes of getting over the hump in the Eastern Conference?

It’s time for Detroit Pistons basketball to make an emphatic return. With Russell Westbrook confirming with Sam Presti that he is open to being traded this offseason amid this apparent rebuild the OKC Thunder are going through, it’s time to find the teams who might be interested in the 8 time All-Star.

One team to keep an eye on is the Detroit Pistons. While the Pistons don’t have the young talent the Miami Heat do, they do have their future first round picks, unlike the Heat. Ironically, OKC now owns Miami’s unprotected 2021 pick and their 2023 protected (1-14) pick due to the Paul George trade.

Brett Dawson of the paid for subscription publication, The Athletic gave veracity to the possibility the Detroit Pistons have appeared to be one of the teams showing a varying level of interest in acquiring the star guard.

The Pistons have seemingly been stuck in NBA purgatory for quite some time. After making the playoffs in 2015 and being eliminated in the first round, they missed the playoffs the next season until eventually trading for star forward and Oklahoma City native Blake Griffin. Led by Griffin and his incredible season which earned him a spot on the All-NBA Third Team, the Pistons managed to squeak into the playoffs as the 8th seed before being swept by the Milwaukee Bucks.

According to Jeff Sigel of EarlyBirdRights, the Pistons will be coming up on quite a lot of cap space starting in 2021 where they could have upwards of $72 million in space. However, similar to Oklahoma City, Detroit is presumably going to have a hard time bringing in high level players in free agency. That’s why they have to rely on trades (see Blake Griffin), or the draft to acquire a star player.

As a result, Detroit could be looking at all their options that could potentially help them over the hump in the mediocre Eastern Conference and also put people in the seats, where Detroit placed 24th in the league in total home attendance.

According to Rob Beard of the Detroit News, Pistons owner Tom Gore is willing to pay the luxury tax for a star player that jumps them into contention to gain a top four seed in the Eastern Conference.

A trio of Westbrook-Griffin-Drummond could potentially lump the Pistons into the same category as the Indiana Pacers, Orlando Magic, and the Brooklyn Nets as teams fighting for home court advantage in the Eastern Conference next season.

"According to Woj, the Thunder and Westbrook are both motivated to find a resolution sooner rather than later."

With all that out of the way, let’s take a closer look at how the star guard would fit and what his impact would be in the Motor City.