With Kawhi Leonard deciding on the Los Angeles Clippers and the Oklahoma City Thunder forced to trade Paul George, it leaves another star looking to be traded.
Over the past several days, Russell Westbrook trade rumors have picked up steam, with several teams emerging as top contenders for the former NBA MVP. It appears that a Russell Westbrook to Miami Heat deal could be on the horizon based on some recent reports.
Russell Westbrook, OKC Thunder exploring trade
With the shocking trade that sent Paul George to the Clippers came news that it is probably time for OKC to move into a full rebuilding phase with their roster.
Reportedly, as loyal as Westbrook has been to the city, the PG13 trade may not have been the tipping point for him to want out. In fact, ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne recently suggested that the former NBA MVP wanted out before George was traded.
So what team will Westbrook go to? There’s at least a few interested and one that stands out right now. A report on Tuesday (July 9) from ESPN’s NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski notes that league sources indicated that the Miami Heat are interested in Westbrook.
Per Woj, that is “a potential destination that also appeals to Westbrook.” So far, the two sides are exploring the options and OKC may need to involve another team in order to make something happen.
A tweet from Miami Heat Beat insider Greg Sylvander mentions that the Cleveland Cavaliers could be part of a three-team deal to help move Westbrook from OKC.
As Heat move beyond exploratory phases of a Russell Westbrook trade, the Cleveland Cavaliers have been mentioned as a team that may be involved according to a source. @miaheatbeat
— Greg Sylvander (@GregSylvander) July 9, 2019
Part of the wording of Sylvander’s tweet should give Miami Heat fans optimism as it says they’ve moved “beyond exploratory phases” of a trade.
It’s also noted that OKC general manager Sam Presti is looking to provide salary cap relief rather than get back assets in a deal involving Westbrook.
Heat rookie Tyler Herro could be part of a deal
Another interesting piece of information surfaced regarding the Miami Heat making a Russell Westbrook trade. As of right now, Tyler Herro has yet to sign a rookie contract with the Miami Heat.
According to a recent report, that could be due to Miami looking to make a deal happen for Westbrook.
Herro was the No. 13 pick for the Heat in this past June’s NBA Draft. The 6-foot-5 Kentucky guard averaged 14 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 2.5 assists per game in his freshman year with the Wildcats.
Just with big name free agent signings or NBA star trades, there are odds for which team will end up with Russell Westbrook for the 2019-20 season. As one might guess, Miami leads the current odds.
— Odds Shark (@OddsShark) July 9, 2019
Should Westbrook end up traded to the Miami Heat, he’d be paired up with fellow All-Star Jimmy Butler. The NBA free agent was part of a four-team sign-and-trade deal within the past week or so.
Butler previously played for the Chicago Bulls and Minnesota Timberwolves before spending this past season with the Philadelphia 76ers. The team fell to the eventual NBA champion Toronto Raptors in seven games in the Eastern Conference semifinals.
— Rachel Nichols (@Rachel__Nichols) July 9, 2019
As seen on the odds above, other teams that appear to be in the running for Westbrook’s services are the New York Knicks and Detroit Pistons. Of those squads, Detroit would form another NBA “Big Three” consisting of stars Westbrook, Blake Griffin, and Andre Drummond.
So one would think that Russ might give some serious consideration to Motor City if Miami doesn’t pan out.