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NBA Rumors: Can Paul Milsap and Gordon Hayward be Oklahoma City Thunder’s Replacements for Kevin Durant?

( [email protected] ) Aug 08, 2016 09:11 AM EDT
Even after re-signing Russell Westbrook, it seems the Oklahoma City Thunder are not yet done in re-rebuilding their roster, which was brought on by Kevin Durant's decision to leave and join the Golden State Warriors. As a solution to his departure, the OKC could bring in Gordon Hayward and Paul Milsap.
Paul Milsap with the Atlanta Hawks Wikimedia Commons/Keith Allison

Even after re-signing Russell Westbrook, it seems the Oklahoma City Thunder are not yet done in re-rebuilding their roster, which was brought on by Kevin Durant's decision to leave and join the Golden State Warriors. As a solution to his departure, the OKC could bring in Gordon Hayward and Paul Milsap.

Durant announced his decision to join the Warriors earlier in July. Since then, rumors about Westbrook leaving the Thunder started to fly. However, last week, Westbrook ended these speculations by signing a contract extension with the OKC, ESPN confirmed.

Now that they have secured their top shooter, it seems the only thing that the Thunder have to do now is fill up the void left by Durant. Because after all, one of the rumors about Westbrook leaving the team is that he won't have anyone to rely one.

According to Inquisitr, Atlanta Hawks' Milsap and Hayward from the Utah Jazz could serve as the answer to the Thunder's problems.

During the 2015-2016 season, Hayward, averaged 19.7 points per game, which is the highest in his career ever since he debuted with Utah in 2010. Milsap, on the other hand, averaged 17.1 points last year, which is also not bad at all.

Of course, Milsap and Hayward's stats are nowhere near what Durant achieved during his last season with the Thunder, which was 28.2 points per game. On stats alone, these two players can't be compared to Durant especially since his shooting average never fell below 20 in his entire career.

However, with Westbrook on the lineup, the OKC are probably not looking to get Milsap and Hayward for their shooting abilities. They'll most likely be with the team to support the shooting guard.

Sure, neither Milsap nor Hayward can be considered as direct replacements for Durant, but with these two, the Thunder will surely be able to create the strong team that it wants. Either one could also serve as better alternative to Serge Ibaka, who was traded to Orlando Magic in June.

As for Westbrook, he's happy with his decision to play for the Thunder once again. But, he'll surely be happier if the team manages to get new reliable players who can support him on the court.

"There's nowhere else I would rather be than Oklahoma City," he said at a press conference according to ESPN. "You guys have basically raised me. I've been here since I was 18, 19 years old. You guys did nothing but great things for me."

Tags : NBA, Paul Milsap, Gordon Hayward, Russell Westbrook, Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City Thunder, Golden State Warriors, Utah Jazz, Atlanta Hawks, NBA trade, NBA rumors