A split up between Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook might be in Westbrook’s best interest. Kevin Durant is facing free agency this summer while Russell becomes a free agent after next seasonm but if they don’t find that championship success this season, it may be time for Russ to take a page out of Kobe Bryant’s textbook and get a team of his own.
Like Russ, Kobe had a dominant companionm and I mean dominant. He played alongside Shaquille O’Neal and they went on to win three straight titles. Not seeing eye to eye eventually led to them splitting up, but it ultimately worked out for them in the long run. Shaq won a title with Dwyane Wade and the Miami Heat while Kobe won two more rings of his own with Pau Gasol by his side. Til this day we love playing the ‘what if‘ game when discussing if Shaq and Kobe could’ve gotten over their differences but I honestly believe it was a great decision, especially for Kobe. People always looked at Kobe as the second fiddle because the Lakers were claimed to be Shaq’s team. Even to this day, Kobe haters love to discredit Bryant because three of his five rings came with Shaq being the focal point of the team. Even though Kobe Bryant put up ridiculous numbers in the playoffs to help get those rings, people still love to throw that argument in the air.
If Russell Westbrook doesn’t get a team of his own, he too can get caught up in that back seat role. No matter the crazy numbers he puts up or the spectacular highlights he displays, the Thunder will always be Kevin Durant’s team as long as he’s there and that’s just the reality of it. It sucks that matters but that’s just one of those things that fans pay attention to.
When comparing where Westbrook is in his career and where Kobe was when he and Shaq split up, the numbers are very similar. Bryant was 8 seasons in, entering his prime and making a name for himself. Russell Westbrook is in that same boat especially after the season he just had. He’s known as the most athletic point guard that the league has ever seen and he just can’t be guarded. Becoming a triple double machine, he is a superstar in his own right and while in his prime, it’s his turn to take that superstardom to a whole new level.
It’s safe to say Kobe Bryant’s career wouldn’t have been the same if he had stayed with Shaq and didn’t win on his own. The split gave him his own spotlight and showed that he could captain his own troops. I’m not saying that he wouldn’t have been a great player but what I am saying is that his perception would’ve been completely different. Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook haven’t won anything yet and they’re still working on that but if Russell wants some shine of his own then parting ways with Kevin Durant may be something he wants to consider.