Four Trade destinations for Russell Westbrook
Well with Paul George being traded to the Los Angeles Clippers to team up with Kawhi Leonard. Russell Westbrook is going to be traded as well. There are potential suitors around the NBA who would want to trade for the MVP point guard. In this post I give you four potential trade destinations for Russell Westbrook. I also will give you my pick on who I believe Westbrook is being traded too.
Pat Riley is looking to make a splash move for a superstar to pair with Jimmy Butler. While the locker room and chemistry between a player like Westbrook and Butler can be shaky, It’s a move the Heat are looking to make. However in terms of assets here is what the Heat have to offer. Draft picks are limited because of previous trades perhaps two first rounders maybe. The Thunder already have two first rounders from the Heat in the Paul George trade anyway. So right now the Heat have their 2020 first round draft pick and their 2022 to offer along with 2024,2025 and 2026 picks. I do not believe second round picks will not be as attractive to the Thunder. It’s the Heat young core and few veterans that make them a top trade destination for Westbrook. The Heat have Tyler Herro, Justise Winslow, Duncan Robinson and Bam Adebayo to offer as trade pieces. Add that to the expiring contract of Goran Dragic and other contracts such as Dion Waiters and Kelly Olynky gives the Thunder some flexibility in the future. Dragic has some value to be a mentor to new Thunder point guard Shai Gilgeous- Alexander.
Hear me out on this one as it is a confusing team to be in the Westbrook sweepstakes. They have the contracts of Blake Griffin and Andre Drummond already on the books. Westbrook is not cheap let me make that clear. So that is investing a lot of money to form a big three like that if they even keep Drummond. So the Pistons in order to make this work will probably throw in Tony Snell and Reggie Jackson expiring contracts. Also you know the Thunder would want at least two first rounders picks in a potential deal. It would be smart of the Pistons to potentially include Drummond contract if the Thunder would take that. Luke Kennard, Sekou Doumbouya are young assets the Thunder will take a look at. If the deal is made you get a Russell Westbrook Blake Griffin duo in the motor city to make a push in the East. However Pistons as the top contender for Westbrook compared to the Heat.
Here we go again, the Rockets are interested in trading for another star. Rockets want Westbrook reuniting with James Harden to form a MVP duo in the West. Well they do not have that many assets compared to other trade contenders. The player assets they carry include Eric Gordon, PJ Tucker, Clint Capela, Iman Shupert (sign and trade) and Chris Paul contract. The Rockets would also need to dump a lot of money to acquire Westbrook contract (30 million to 31 million). A trade of Eric Gordon, Clint Capela and a smaller contract gets the job done creating the space. After they trade away Steven Adams for more assets they have now Capela as a young starting center now for a rebuild. Rockets currently have all their draft picks in round one through 2027 to offer multiple picks. However it is most likely the Rockets would need a third team to step into the talks to get a deal done. By that I mean somebody potentially taking Chris Paul max contract. It also makes you think in the end if the Thunder would even seriously consider any deal the Rockets offered. Once again multiple draft picks will have to be offered as a center piece.
The Wolves are a desperate team who want to find a star to pair with Karl- Anthony Towns. The Wolves know this would be their once chance to get another star in Minnesota. Their previous front office regime made the Jimmy Butler trade to try be a contender the West. It did not work out in the end and left the Wolves firing people searching for answers. Now how can the Wolves pull off such a trade with the Thunder. Well they need to $38 million worth of salaries to the Thunder in any trade. They can start with the contract of Andrew Wiggins for one. Robert Covington three and D talents can also be a possible trade chip. Jeff Teague is on an expiring contract and can offer mentorship to Gilgeous- Alexander. Young promising players like Josh Okogie and Gorgui Dieng offer the Thunder some young players to work with in their rebuild. The most important thing in these trade talks are draft picks and the Wolves do have all their draft picks so in order to dump Wiggins they can offer multiple picks. Consider the Wolves as a sleeper team for Westbrook. You have to wonder however if Westbrook wants to play in Minnesota in the first place.
The Pick – Miami Heat
Pat Riley is a mastermind and is looking to make a big splash during the winding stages of free agency. Trade talks have been going on between the two teams past couple of days. The Heat offer the best assets in my mind that fit the Thunder rebuilding agenda. Westbrook himself has liked an Instagram with him in a Heat uniform showing a potential desire to play in Miami. I mean who does not want to live in Miami? I do not expect a deal to be done quick as the Heat do not want to trade young star Tyler Herro. The Thunder probably want three players in a deal and at least two picks. A third team will need to most likely be included to iron things out. Those things take time to incorporate and the Heat have leverage knowing Westbrook wants a trade out. Pat Riley knows what he is doing and out of all the teams I just listed. I believe he will get a deal done without giving up too much. The Rockets do not have as much assets as the Heat. Pistons have a lot of salary issues to work out but are the biggest challengers to the Heat. The Wolves remain a sleeper team to try and get Westbrook but have a tough road to climb to accomplish a trade. The rest of the teams remain long shots or have not expressed that much interest. So I have trust in Pat Riley to pull this trade off and build a new contender in the East.
By Ashkan Motamedi