Unraveling the mystery of when OKC Thunder began shopping Russell Westbrook

Russell Westbrook, Paul George, OKC Thunder (Photo by Cameron Browne/NBAE via Getty Images)
Russell Westbrook, Paul George, OKC Thunder (Photo by Cameron Browne/NBAE via Getty Images) /
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OKC Thunder
Russell Westbrook, Paul George, OKC Thunder (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images) /

As the dust settles from the trio of OKC Thunder trades, leaks are sprouting that Russell Westbrook trade discussions began even prior to trading Paul George.

OKC Thunder General Manager, Sam Presti was the busiest man in the NBA over an infamous six-day period ending with a beloved superstar heading to Texas. In reality, we’re learning that Russell Westbrook was already up for discussion at the same time or prior to Paul George‘s trade request.

What precisely does this mean? There are numerous questions still unanswered and with each new podcast, national scribe tweet or article, fans are learning minute details via teases of partial truths.

Sure wish I could assume the fly on the wall position in Sam Presti’s office for that season-ending meeting with Russell Westbrook to learn precisely what the pair discussed. Did the ever-faithful superstar balk at the talent or rather, lack of depth surrounding himself and partner Paul George? And, if so did that lead to OKC’s longest-tenured superstar asking to move to a new locale?

The reason this seems far fetched is the actions Presti took at the start of free agency. If Russ had asked to move on then why was Presti fully emersed in adding depth? Albeit, lower scale and more economically feasible contracts like Mike Muscala, Alec Burks and the re-signing of Nerlens Noel isn’t earth-shattering. However, the OKC Thunder were in a quandary over the salary cap. Read that as yet another season as a team paying the repeater tax for exceeding the luxury cap ceiling.

Clearly, the hot takes parsed out doesn’t align with Presti’s initial moves. If there was even a kernel of truth in this then why approach Muscala and Burks post trades to allow them the opportunity of seeking other options or the choice to rescind on moratorium promises to join the OKC Thunder?