When the talk of a potential Russell Westbrook trade surfaced shortly after the Oklahoma City Thunder dealt Paul George to the Los Angeles Clippers, there was plenty of intrigue. But at the time, the idea of the Thunder moving two superstars in the span of potentially weeks or even less appeared unrealistic. Since that point, things have changed quite a bit on the surface and the Miami Heat appear heavily involved.
As ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported (via Tim MacMahon), Westbrook and his agent spoke with Thunder general manager Sam Presti about his future. In turn, a potential trade before the 2019-20 season is on the table as an option.
While multiple teams have been linked as potential suitors in a Westbrook deal, the one which stood out and picked up traction early was the Heat. According to Wojnarowski, the potential to land with Miami “appeals” to the Thunder star, and whether it’s the Heat or a different team, both Westbrook and Oklahoma City are motivated to find a resolution.
Following that news, various tidbits began to pop-up around a potential trade and they point to the Thunder and Heat taking steps towards a deal.
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Cavaliers Cited as 3rd Team in Heat-Russell Westbrook Trade
It’s unknown exactly what it will take for the Heat to acquire Westbrook via trade, but his contract and the Thunder’s focus on a potential rebuild could help Pat Riley and company. Beyond that, it was revealed by Heat reporter Greg Sylvander that the Cleveland Cavaliers have been mentioned as a potential third team.
He also points out that talks are “beyond exploratory phases.”
That’s certainly noteworthy, but not overly surprising if the two teams are locked in on attempting to make a trade work for both parties. The addition of the Cavaliers to the deal stands out, though, as there are a number of ways they could be involved.
Sylvander also explains that Presti “isn’t being pressured to get back assets” in a Westbrook trade, but only salary cap relief, which also helps the Heat’s outlook.
Tyler Herro Part of Russell Westbrook Trade to Heat?
There has been no confirmation that rookie Tyler Herro will be included in a potential Westbrook deal, but it appears to be on the table. At the very least, Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders stated that Herro not signing his rookie contract yet may have to do with his inclusion in a possible trade.
Herro, who was the No. 13 pick in this year’s draft out of Kentucky, is just 19 years old and has shown flashes of major upside during the 2019 NBA Summer League. His salary cap number won’t do much to help the Heat when it comes to adding Westbrook’s contract, but it appears his value is high enough to make an impact on a potential trade package.
It’s unknown how quickly a Westbrook trade could come together, but Miami appears to be fairly motivated, which could push this process along quickly if things go smoothly.