Heat Salary Cap & Future Draft Picks: Making a Russell Westbrook Trade Work

Miami Heat Salary Cap Russell Westbrook trade

Getty Russell Westbrook

The Miami Heat find themselves in a classic good news/bad news situation when it comes to a potential Russell Westbrook trade. The good news is that they appear to be at the forefront of any push for a deal to land the Oklahoma City Thunder star, but the bad news is that it’s going to cost them in a number of ways.

Beyond just what the Heat would have to give up in a potential deal, the topic of Westbrook’s contract has been a popular conversation. The Thunder star put pen to paper on a five-year deal worth $206,794,070 and the salary cap hit is eye-opening over the remainder of the contract. As Spotrac details, Westbrook has a cap number of just over $38.506 million this year, followed by more than $41.358 million in 2020-21 and $44.211 million in 2021-22.

These huge numbers are noteworthy for any team considering a trade offer for Westbrook, but especially for the Heat, who gave recently-acquired Jimmy Butler a four-year, $140 million-plus max contract. With that said, we’re going to take a look at Miami’s salary cap situation and future draft picks to help evaluate a possible Westbrook trade.

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Miami Heat’s Salary Cap Outlook

Pat Riley Miami Heat Salary Cap Space

GettyMiami Heat president Pat Riley

Obviously, the Heat won’t have the money currently to swing any deal they want for Westbrook, but that stands true for virtually every team in the NBA. According to Spotrac, the Heat are listed with more than negative-$26 million in cap space, although that number becomes largely irrelevant if a trade includes the cap needed to work under league rules.

In turn, Miami’s salary cap space isn’t something to ignore, but they do have a few things working in their favor. One of which is the fact that Goran Dragic, who has a cap hit of more than $19.217 million, is heading into the final year of his deal and is a name who should have a decent trade market.

To go along with Dragic’s appealing contract situation, both James Johnson and Kelly Olynyk have big annual salaries but have two years left on their deals (one standard season, one player option). There’s a decent chance the Heat could include either of these two, along with 23-year-old Justise Winslow and his $13 million cap hit in 2019-20 and 2020-1 in a trade.

Miami Heat Future Draft Picks for Russell Westbrook Trade

This is where part of the potential issue for the Heat could come into play, as a possible trade for Westbrook will depend on just how badly the Thunder wants to move his contract.

Miami’s 2021 and 2023 first-round selections have already been traded, along with seven second-round picks from 2020 to 2026, per RealGM. At this point, it appears the Thunder are stockpiling draft picks and building for the future, as they received five first-round selections in the Paul George trade alone.

One major positive working in the Heat’s favor is the fact that it appears Westbrook is on board with the idea of heading to South Beach. As ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported, the Heat have expressed interest and Miami is a destination that “appeals to Westbrook.” Whether or not that will be enough to help fuel a deal remains to be seen, but it’s certainly on the radar of NBA fans at this point.

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