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DBB on 3: The Kawhi Aftermath and Russell Westbrook trade rumors

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Just when you thought the offseason was getting started, Kawhi blew things up.

NBA: All Star Game Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Normally in most sports there is such a thing as an offseason. The NBA isn’t most sports. Just when you thought Kawhi’s decision would settle things down he went and recruited Paul George which created aftershocks around the league, most notably this piece of news you might have seen on the interwebs most notably in several excellent pieces right here on DBB: looks like Russell Westbrook’s OKC days are over.

But there are also other things that could result from this latest craziness such as what Toronto might do now that their man done left them. We dug into three questions around this issues and here’s what we think...

1. What was your reaction after hearing the news that Kawhi chose the Clippers and brought Paul George with him?

Steve Hinson: We could have gotten in on bidding for Paul George, but instead we’re chasing Russell Westbrook. This is fine.

Ben Gulker: I’m really excited about going into a new NBA season and as of right now, I have no idea who my favorite to win the Championship is! It’s a great time to be a fan of NBA basketball.

Ryan Pravato: My reaction was that the Clip Show are title contenders (probably the favorites) and that just when I think the NBA couldn’t get any better, it does. How many teams now have a legit shot at the Finals? 7? 8? And the Lakers still aren’t one of them. So this makes my heart feel good.

Christopher Daniels: The apparent sneakiness of the whole deal really surprised me. This image of Kawhi as a quiet humble guy belies his obvious competitiveness. The way he manipulated the whole affair made LeBron’s past moves and machinations to tilt things in his favor look like child’s play, especially how no one is raking Kawhi over the coals like they did with LeBron or Durant.

2. Russell Westbrook is apparently on the trade block and the Pistons might be a player. Would you go for that trade and if so how would you structure it?

Steve Hinson: I wouldn’t .

I can talk myself into a Westbrook trade in the right situation. One where the Pistons don’t have Drummond, where they use him to upgrade their wing situation. But this? Griffin and Drummond having a solid season last year was a .500 duo. This is just leaning into something that we already know isn’t particularly effective. This is similar to adding Brandon Jennings to the Josh Smith/Greg Monroe/Andre Drummond lineup. You know it’s a bad idea and you know it’ll fail badly with Brandon Knight running point. So you take out a future loan to make your bad idea look less spectacularly bad for the present.

Ben Gulker: I wouldn’t go after Westbrook. Listen to the podcast for the details.

Ryan Pravato: Only way I would say yes to Westbrook to Detroit would be if Drummond is included in the deal...and Kennard and Sekou Doumbouya weren’t included in that deal. Trading for Westbrook, even if it means ridding the team of Drummond, still doesn’t make much sense from any perspective / angle. It makes my head hurt.

Christopher Daniels: I was solidly against this at the beginning but now I’m actually going to be slightly bummed if we don’t do it. Pistons basketball has basically been brutally boring for years. Blake, Westbrook and Rose would end that in a heartbeat.

3. What other moves could the Pistons make on the back of the instability caused by Kawhi’s decision?

Steve Hinson: Trade Andre Drummond. Build a team around Blake Griffin. What does that look like? Could be plenty of different things. Just make it a vision of some sort. Something that eventually leads to a team that can win the Eastern Conference. Something more than just oooh maybe we could win 45 games!

One thing that I think could be interesting right now: trade the franchise for James Harden.

Offer Andre Drummond along with a flip situation (maybe Dallas (who still has loads of cap space they need to unload quickly), Miami, or Charlotte), Luke Kennard, Sekou Doumbouya, Thon Maker, whoever else the Rockets like and as many picks as they want. James Harden and Blake Griffin can win the Eastern Conference. It doesn’t really matter who is next to them. Russell Westbrook, Blake Griffin, and Andre Drummond cannot win the Eastern Conference. Once again, it doesn’t really matter who is next to them. So...

Failing the Pistons being able to swing a Harden trade and talking the Rockets into blow things up (c’mon! You’re called the Rockets!), I still think Drummond to the Mavs makes loads of sense. From there, just figure out who fits best next to Blake. Ask about getting Kyle Lowry out of the post-Kawhi Raptors, see about DeMar DeRozan. I don’t know.

At this point, after Tony Snell, Derrick Rose, and Markieff Morris, Ed Stefanski saying that he believes that a Blake Griffin and Andre Drummond pairing can be competitive seems to be true and he’s now strapped the franchise to that pairing. So yeah, we’re probably leaning in on a 45 win ceiling. This is fine.

Ben Gulker: I’m not sure there’s an immediate move that the Pistons ought to be pursuing as the result of Kawhi’s decision. Another shameless podcast plug, I’m actually okay with that. I think the Pistons made sensible moves this summer that incrementally improve the talent base, and for right now, I’m content with the current situation.

Ryan Pravato: Detroit needs to stay as is right now. Let’s not make a bad situation even worse.

Christopher Daniels: At the moment if we don’t get Westbrook I would guess we wait until a bit further into the year and see what teams that thought they were contenders aren’t and look to offload talent. There is also Bradley Beal who would be excellent though 28 other teams would think so too. I thought maybe Kawhi’s leaving would trigger a fire sale in Toronto but I’m not sure who if anyone I’d really want from them except Siakam and yeah.

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Please join in on the fun:

1. What was your reaction after hearing the news that Kawhi chose the Clippers and brought Paul George with him?

2. Russell Westbrook is apparently on the trade block and the Pistons might be a player. Would you go for that trade and if so how would you structure it?

3. What other moves could the Pistons make on the back of the instability caused by Kawhi’s decision?