Oklahoma City Thunder Should Trade Russell Westbrook for Rajon Rondo

Rajon Rondo

David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Since Russell Westbrook‘s injury, the Oklahoma City Thunder are 19-7 and 21-8 overall without the star point guard. In the absence of Westbrook, Kevin Durant has gone on a historic run and has risen in the MVP conversation. This is mainly due to the fact that Durant is simply better without Westbrook on the floor. With that being said, would a pass-first type of point guard like Rajon Rondo be much more suitable for Thunder and their championship hopes?

This rumor goes way back, but the Thunder could essentially trade Westbrook to the Boston Celtics for Rondo and a future draft pick(s).

It’s no secret that Westbrook is a ball-dominant, score-first type of point guard. It’s also no secret that he is an exciting player with great offensive skills. However, with a superstar like Durant on the team, it is actually crippling when another player other than Durant, is taking over 20 shots a game, especially the one running the offense.  Not only is Durant better without Westbrook, but the team has shown it is better as well.

The bottom line is, the Thunder are far more superior when Durant is the one taking the shots — not Westbrook. With Rondo, Durant would be able to do what he does best without any hindrance. Not only would he be able to take the shots, but Rondo would create more opportunities for Durant that Westbrook never could.

Rondo is unselfish when it comes to scoring, and can control an offense much more efficiently than Westbrook can. Rondo clearly is at the top of his game when he is playing with big-time scorers. So, why wouldn’t Durant want to play with Rondo, who has a championship under his belt?

Rondo would also make the post players, Serge Ibaka and old friend Kendrick Perkins, much better. He would create scoring opportunities for youngsters like Jeremy Lamb. Reggie Jackson could also play more and gain more scoring possibilities. While Westbrook may take the pressure off of Durant and his scoring responsibilities at times, Rondo will make sure that everyone else around Durant can take on more of scoring load.

Plus, due to his quickness, Rondo has decent scoring ability, but his perimeter scoring is clearly limited. When Rondo penetrates, guess who is left open on the outside.

It seems like the deal makes too much sense, but the Thunder may be afraid of trading such a great scorer. However, they should definitely consider this deal. It’ll make Durant better and benefit their entire team. Trading for Rondo is necessary to improve their championship chances.

Michael LeDuc is a Boston Celtics writer for Rant Sports. Follow him on Twitter @mike_leduc, and add him on Google.

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  • OneWorld

    I’ve been sayin this for 3 years already. OKC would be ridiculous if they got Rondo. I salute you sir.

    • Orville Charles

      You’re absolutely right…OKC would be RIDICULOUS if they got rid of Westbrook and got Rondo. They would never be able to live with themselves. In what world do you trade away 21-7-6 for POTENTIALLY 13-10-5? On the pick and roll, why would anyone leave Ibaka, or Durant? If Rondo’s the pick and roll ball handler, you just let him shoot every time. The Thunder are trying to AVOID another 2nd round exit, not guarantee one.

      • Farva55

        Bc if no one leaves, Rondo goes in for a layup- not difficult to understand but you clearly don’t know basketball.

        • Orville Charles

          Um…this is assuming they play off Rondo genius…you know, like EVERYONE does? Lmao…Westbrook is one of the best midrange shooters in the game. Rondo couldn’t shoot a mid-range shot to save his life. They are both terrible on 3s, but RONDO IS EVEN WORSE than Russell is on 3s.

      • Michael LeDuc

        Orville, Rondo ate defenses alive on the pick and roll. Westbrook is selfish, he needs his shots too. I’m not saying he is a bad player by any means. Westbrook is amazing to watch. But, he doesn’t make his teammates better like Rondo does.

        • Orville Charles

          Look, nobody is saying that Rondo isn’t a great player, but its obvious that the Thunder would benefit more from a PG who has elite scoring abilities as opposed to an elite facilitator. Rondo can get people open looks all day, but Scott Brooks runs a 3-and-D lineup, so the guys he’d be setting up wouldn’t necessarily be able to take advantage of those looks. Westbrook is more balanced in this respect, as he’s grown IMMENSELY as a facilitator, and he’s the best penetrating scorer in the league. That provides a lot of great spacing for Durant and Ibaka, not to mention his rapport with his teammates have left him almost having no weaknesses this year. I think people are stuck on the old perception of Westbrook…its time to move on.

    • Pete Garner

      And for 3 years you’ve been dead wrong. I wouldn’t trade Lamb for Rondo. Put your helmet back on before you hurt yourself.

  • Gerald Raines

    Michael MeDic please do the world a favor and never pick up another pen again in life.

    • Farva55

      Please never comment again. Trading Westbrook for someone like Love would be smarter, than sign a guy like Rondo in the offseason. Now that would be intelligent. Stupid Thunder fans- stop boning you’re own team so hard and get real.

      • Pete Garner

        You’re so retarded it blows my mind, how have you survived this long with such a dysfunctional brain?

    • Michael LeDuc

      I actually didn’t need a pen to write this, but thanks for the encouragement.

  • http://Google.com/+boojay boo Jay

    Good call Michael MeDic, I could not agree with you more. As electric as he is, Westbrook is a poison to Durant and his team.

    • Orville Charles

      You are a fucking idiot. The Thunder was going to rape the NBA this year if Russell didn’t get hurt. He was playing his best ball ever…eager facilitator, swinging the ball, and pushing the pace. The only thing that was lacking was his team defense… and we all know he’s top 5 defensive PGs. A POISON? Learn about the game of basketball before you comment on it. 21-8-9 before he went out again…doesn’t seem too “poisonous”.

      • Farva55

        You’re the idiot. How many titles did Westbrook contribute too? Yeah that’s what I thought. If OKC was smart, they’d trade Westbrook for someone like Kevin Love, and then sign Rondo when he hits FA.

        • Gerald Raines

          I take back my first comment. Please Michael MeDic and Farva55 break your fingers so you can’t type another word.

          • Orville Charles

            We can only be too lucky…idiots come a dime a dozen, and they usually keep their dumbass fingers too.

          • Michael LeDuc

            Sure thing, man.

        • Orville Charles

          You know what’s sad? I actually like Rondo, a LOT. Jackasses like you who say things like “how many championships did he contribute to” when comparing two individual players are showing up more and more…making me speak ill about one of my favorite players. Its sickening…then you have the gall to sound cocky like championships ARENT a team accolade, and like what you said made ANY sense. Brilliant.

        • Pete Garner

          Farva why dont you hit the radio, you’re off the highway. Get real son, Russell is the real deal. Rondo is great but he would only get KD an MVP and a scoring title not a ring

      • Michael LeDuc

        You rely too much on stats. And Westbrook is not a top 5 defensive PG. With the emergence of Reggie Jackson, Rondo would be stellar on a team with Durant, Jackson and Ibaka. He’d make Lamb better too.

        • Orville Charles

          I can’t emphasize this enough. The Thunder would benefit more from a scoring PG than a pass-first PG in this system. If it isn’t broke, then why fix it? Westbrook was averaging 8 assists as he began to find his groove after being sidelined. I REALLY don’t see what you gain with Rondo that you already don’t have with Westbrook….and as far as the ability to put the ball in the basket, Westbrook is on a whole different level above Rondo. I love Rondo, I always have, but the Thunder do NOT need him…plain and simple. It’s a ludicrous trade. Russell is DEFINITELY top 5 defensive PG. The coaches JUST MISSED putting him on the All-Defensive team last year. He won DPOY at UCLA, he’s an above-average defender to say the least.

    • Pete Garner

      Fuck you

  • Jonathon Ryan Trejo

    So stupid. People forget so easily just how terrible the Thunder were in the playoffs without Westbrook. Russell Westbrook was averaging 21/8/9 in November/December before he got hurt… Durant was averaging 30/6/6 at that same time. Spare me the “Durant is better without Russell Westbrook” talk, when we’ve all seen Durant fail miserably WITHOUT Russell Westbrook on the floor… also the Thunder are 21-4 with Russell Westbrook, and 21-8 without him. Imagine had he stayed healthy? With Westbrook and Durant the Thunder are easily the best team in the NBA (they were historically great last season until Westbrook got hurt) without Westbrooks production, the team will NEVER contend for a championship.

  • Orville Charles

    This is the dumbest argument ever. The Thunder are 21-4 with Westbrook this year…he was averaging 21-7-6 when he went out. Yea, get rid of a top 10 player for Rondo who can’t score to save his life? Genius…so when its playoff time and the elite defenses key in on KD, who’s gonna make them pay, RONDO? Gimme a break. This argument is so ridiculous its not even funny. KD’s individual numbers look better (sans an All Star) and he’s willing his team to victory, but there’s no way in hell that ANYONE can say they are better without Westbrook. Is there any coincidence that you’re from Boston? If Rondo’s so great, then keep him.

  • forehand4ou

    Absolutely not rondo sucks. I wouldn’t trade reggie Jackson for rondo. Lol trade Westbrook for a passing point guard he passes cause he can’t shoot the ball, and that’s the last thing we need.

    • Farva55

      Hate to tell you- without Rondo- the Celtics don’t win that championship. He’s the guy that gets everyone else the ball and is incredibly defensively. Get a clue.

    • Orville Charles

      Rondo doesn’t suck, but there’s no WAY he’d be as valuable as Westbrook on the Thunder. Not even close.

  • Andrew

    Those of us who watch Thunder games, or follow the NBA in general, know that this is a joke. The Celtics would gladly welcome this trade, and so would the rest of the NBA since it would make the Thunder worse. Let’s give Durant another teammate to put in the starting lineup that can’t score. That would make them far easier to defend, with only Durant and Ibaka capable of scoring (and Durant the only player who can get his own shot). The Thunder are far better with Westbrook and that’s easy to tell. With him constantly blowing past his man and getting to the rim at will, he opens up the floor for Ibaka, Durant, Sefolosha, etc. He gives them spacing, something that Rondo just can’t do. Everyone plays Rondo to pass, but teams have to respect Westbrook’s finishing ability, because when they don’t, they get dunked on. If anyone actually agrees with this article, then you don’t have a clue what you are talking about. Westbrook is not a poison to his team. He brings a passion and energy that is unprecedented and all the Thunder players know how much better he makes them. It was very easy to see after he went down in the playoffs last season. Yes, he takes a good deal of shots and should probably cut that number back a little, but I definitely think he will now that he has been out and seen the effectiveness of the Thunder’s young supporting cast.

    • Orville Charles

      THIS!

    • Michael LeDuc

      You don’t think Rondo will give anyone spacing? That’s exactly what he’s best at. Hey, but I agree with your last point. if Westbrook is willing to take a back seat, the Thunder will be fine with him.

      • Orville Charles

        This is my point…you must not have been watching the Thunder this year before Westbrook went down. Russell has ALWAYS taken a back seat to KD. He’s lead the league in scoring 3 times with Russell as his point guard. The ONLY knock on him was his ability to make good decisions and make his teammates better, which he UNDOUBTEDLY was doing at a very high level this year. He was doing it LAST year before he got injured. People can’t get the Finals out of their head, but people also fail to see what role Scott Brook’s stagnant offense had to play in their overall ineffectiveness. The offense has featured way more ball movement without impeding Westbrook’s natural ability to slash and get easy buckets. His two-man game with Ibaka was flourishing like never before. Now, with KD improving drastically as a facilitator, Westbrook has been able to play off the ball, and it’s like a fish in water. He’s posting up, coming off screens, and finding open teammates with that extra pass, all at a high level. In fact, the only thing he hadn’t been able to find (due to his time away) was his shot, which is ironic when you think about the outdated criticism that people throw at him…and that was obviously coming. Rondo has never been able to make people pay for playing off him, on the other hand, Westbrook has an above-average mid-range game. What else is there to say?? This trade would NOT benefit the Thunder. Rondo is a better overall defender, I agree, but he’s not THAT much better. Certainly not enough to warrant this trade…

  • Josh

    Seriously this is too much, I’ve seen a rockets fan say it makes sense to trade westbrook for Asik and whoever they want, a Knicks fan suggest a trade involving westbrook, perkins and sefolosha for chandler, shumpert and Felton and now this!!! The thunder are the best team in the NBA with westbrook on the floor, so please tell me why the hell they would make such a significant change? It’s almost like these morons post these ridicoulus trade ideas, hoping a GM will see it and go “hey that makes sense” just stop and enjoy the durant & Westbrook show for years to come!!!

  • Pete Garner

    Anybody that thinks the Thunder are better without Westbrook is a complete moron…look at the win loss column, look at Russell’s numbers, look at last years playoffs… Rings are more important than trophies and scoring titles and KD wants a ring. KD also knows he needs Russell to get his ring. KD can’t take on the entire NBA alone. Anybody with a clue about basketball (clearly not Mr. Leduc) will tell you that.

    • Michael LeDuc

      Just think back to the 2012 Finals. So many instances in which the Thunder would have been better off with the ball in Durant’s hands. Westbrook’s decision making is poor and he can’t be the general of an offense.
      Durant wouldn’t be the only one benefiting from Rondo, the whole team would.

      • Orville Charles

        The 2012 Finals was a long time ago. Westbrook has improved so much as a decision maker since then…I watch every single Thunder game, I’ve seen it firsthand. Not only that, Scott Brooks has revamped the offense to feature more ball movement, which replaces the ISO-heavy stagnant offense they ran that year. Look it up if you don’t believe me. The year they went ro the Finals, the Thunder were a bottom dweller as far as team assists were concerned. This year, they’ve done a complete 180. The Thunder do NOT get better as a team if you switch Rondo and Westbrook. That would just leave you down one player who can carry the load offensively when people start to key in on Durant. Rondo had great scorers to feed in Boston. Garnett, Pierce, Allen are way different in that respect from Perkins, Sefolosha, and Ibaka. We have yet to even see Rondo be effective OUTSIDE of those players. I’m not saying that he wouldn’t be, but we don’t have a definitive example just yet. With all that in mind, WHY would you risk team chemistry and familiarity for this trade? The Thunder made it all the way to the Finals with Westbrook being waaay less effective than he was the past 2 years…why would you throw away that natural progression? Give me a reason outside of “making the Celtics better”.

        • Michael LeDuc

          I get what you’re saying and I agree with some of it. You’re arguments in the last couple of posts were much better. You made some good poits.

          For the record, I didn’t say anything in the article about the Celtics benefiting from this. I want the Celtics to tank this year like crazy. So, getting Westbrook would obviously ruin that plan. So this has nothing to do with the Celtics gain.

          • Orville Charles

            Ok, I understand that. I just assumed that since you were from Boston that you’d have what’s best for the Celtics as your chief motivator…you know what they say about assuming though. Still though, I’m sorry, but you cannot convince me that trading the 2013-14 version of Westbrook for Rondo would benefit anyone other than the Celtics. Rondo is one of my favorite players; I love watching him play, I love his attitude, I love everything about him…but I’d rather keep Westbrook right where we belongs.

  • dgotshalk

    anybody who thinks Danny Ainge will trade Rondo for any other point gurard in the NBA is crazy. Outside of Cousy and Nash I have never seen his like. You build Championship teams around unique point guards that pass first. Basketball is basically a game of speed and deception. Rondo excels at both. Who in the NBA today does that better?

  • X32WaysToDie

    Clearly this writer doesn’t actually watch all the Thunder games. Every real Thunder fan who watches the games knows that Westbrook is invaluable. There was a study I read a while back that confirmed Westbrook makes Durant a better player when he’s on the floor based on stats.