How Russell Westbrook Staying in OKC Hurts Dallas
Unlike Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook is staying in Oklahoma City. So how does this affect the Dallas Mavericks?
In one of the more eventful summers in NBA history, everyone watched players sign for big money while watching arguably the best player in the league join the Golden State Warriors. An unprecedented spike in cap space sent the league in a frenzy as “role” players were getting paid more than most all-stars.
Hiding underneath all of the storylines was the future of Russell Westbrook after Durant left for Golden State. With OKC standing with an extension offer sheet, Westbrook had a decision to make on whether to stay with OKC past this year or force the Thunder to trade him.
On Wednesday night, Westbrook apparently made his decision.
Westbrook staying in OKC is great for their city and possibly the league, but not for the Dallas Mavericks.
Going into next season, the Golden State Warriors, San Antonio Spurs, and Los Angeles Clippers are all at the top of the Western Conference. After that, you probably have the Portland Trail Blazers and Utah Jazz as playoff locks.
Then it gets tricky.
Memphis, Dallas, Houston, Minnesota AND now Oklahoma City are all in that group battling for the last three playoff spots in the West. Now that Westbrook is guaranteed to finish the season with the Thunder, OKC is another team that Dallas will be battling against for a playoff spot.
Without Westbrook or if OKC decided to trade him mid-season, it would have been safe to say they would not be in the playoff hunt this coming season. Thus eliminating one of those fringe teams in Dallas’ way.
Some would even say that OKC is a guaranteed playoff lock with Westbrook locked in, thus leaving just two spots out West up for grabs.
Not only does it hurt Dallas this year, but OKC won’t be tanking anytime soon with Westbrook on their team. If anything else, they will be players for other big names now with him locked in long-term.
Next: Mavs Bracket Challenge for Best Team in History
It’s a cool story for the city of Oklahoma City, but in Dallas, this just makes OKC another team they will have to fight through in order to make the playoffs next season.