The source also stressed that while a trade is possible, the team receiving Westbrook would need assurances that he intends to sign with them next summer otherwise a trade would be out of the question since a number of valuable assets will have been squandered if he backs out after one season.
The Nets are considered the favorite to land Waiters, but the Sixers plan to try and lure the Philadelphia-native home.
With the departure of Kevin Durant from the Oklahoma City Thunder, the 2016 National Basketball Association trade situation involving Westbrook is seemingly at a continuous unrest.
Becoming an unrestricted free agent would seemingly make Waiters more attractive for teams still looking to add backcourt depth. Previously, they had to exceed the Thunders' offer by quite a bit to make themselves noticed. Westbrook has been in regular contact with Thunder general manager Sam Presti since Kevin Durant's departure, according to reports, but Westbrook hasn't committed to renegotiating his contract yet. What's more, Kevin Durant's decision to spurn OKC and sign with the Golden State Warriors apparently has lit a fire under his former teammate. First off, it eliminates a $12.8 million cap hold Waiters took up by being a restricted free agent.
Protecting itself against the potential loss of Waiters, OKC signed 2013 draft pick Alex Abrines, a guard from Spain who is a top Euroleague player, and acquired guard Victor Oladipo from the Magic via trade. Even if Waiters' stock doesn't rise demonstrably following his fifth year in the league, his earning power could still be higher with teams able to spend more money.
They could either hope and gamble Westbrook signs another contract next year, or trade him now and not risk on losing him in next year's free agency.