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Bucks reportedly discussed Russell Westbrook trade involving "significant assets," backed off over extension refusal

Oklahoma City is reportedly exploring trade options for their star PG, but the asking price remains very high.

Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

The Milwaukee Bucks were reportedly among the teams to recently discuss a trade for Oklahoma City Thunder star Russell Westbrook, according to Adam Joseph yesterday on Twitter:

The Thunder's asking price remains very high, as expected. Although the Bucks have a few highly valuable assets such as might enable them to land a true superstar, it would seem they've wisely acknowledged that doing so would only be worth entertaining with some long-term assurances in place.

Exactly what "significant assets" might be is mostly speculation, but one would certainly assume any trade package OKC might pursue would include Jabari Parker and/or Khris Middleton (Giannis ain't going anywhere). Westbrook is among the few players in the league today that may truly be worth a swap along those lines, but doing so without a certainty of retaining him would be a huge and potentially calamitous gamble. If the Bucks are truly in pursuit of the Thunder's sole remaining superstar, it makes perfect sense that the conversation would have to begin with a promise that Westbrook would be in Milwaukee more than one season. It simply can't be overstated how devastating to the franchise it would be to give up a good chunk of the team's young core for a one-year rental.

Oklahoma City is sure to have a long line of suitors if/when Westbrook goes "officially" on the block, and there are a lot of roadblocks on his path to Milwaukee. So how much of the rumor mill is just noise, deriving most of its value from a tweet that puts the Bucks alongside the Spurs, Lakers, and Celtics? There's a certain panache that comes with getting mentioned in trade talks for big names, and the Bucks certainly don't mind getting a little extra press. But there's an obvious drawback when it means dropping names on your own team (and thus suggesting they're not a definite part of your future). This particular rumor didn't quiet get that far, and overall it's probably for the best if the Bucks limit their Westbrook interest to window-shopping.