NBA trade rumors are currently circulating that the Miami Heat are putting together a significant offer in an attempt to deal for Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City’s dynamic point guard.
The free agent frenzy has been a whirlwind since it began on July 1, but while some franchises are spending big money on free agents, there are others looking to improve their team through trades. The Miami Heat, after losing long-time star Dwyane Wade to the Chicago Bulls, may be one of those clubs.
According to the iTech Post, the Heat are putting together a package of Goran Dragic, Justise Winslow, and Josh Richardson to entice the Thunder to part with Westbrook. The Heat’s 2017 first-round draft choice is also reported to be part of the team’s offer to Oklahoma City.
Once superstar Kevin Durant agreed to sign with the Golden State Warriors, teams around the league immediately began trying to pry Russell Westbrook away from the Thunder. The thought is that Oklahoma City may go into rebuilding mode without their All-Star forward and may be willing to trade some of their remaining assets.
Several teams have reportedly shown interest in dealing for Westbrook, including the Boston Celtics, per the Inquisitr. The New York Knicks and Phoenix Suns are also said to be interested in the six-foot-three guard from Long Beach, California. Officially, Oklahoma City is not shopping Westbrook, but apparently, there have been a few phone calls made to determine Westbrook’s availability — and it appears that the Thunder are listening to what teams have to offer.
The Los Angeles Lakers are also eyeing Russell Westbrook, but their supposed strategy is to put their efforts into signing him as a free agent after the 2016-17 season. Miami is always an attractive destination for free agents, and they will certainly make a run at Westbrook next summer as well. The Washington Post reports, however, that Heat president Pat Riley would like to make a deal for Westbrook sooner rather than later.
Any team that trades for Russell Westbrook has to be concerned about his contract status. Westbrook is set to make $17.7 million this coming season and will then become an unrestricted free agent, as detailed by the Palm Beach Post. As great a player as Westbrook is, he could end up being a one-year rental for any team that acquires him, thus making it risky to pull off a blockbuster trade for him this summer.
In breaking down the rumored Heat proposal, it is clear they would be giving up significant value for Westbrook. Goran Dragic blossomed in his final years with Phoenix, and more recently, during his time with the Miami Heat. Dragic, who like Westbrook is a point guard, averaged 14.1 points, 3.8 rebounds, and 5.8 assists in his first full year with Miami. He is scheduled to make $15.9 million next season.
Justise Winslow was a high draft pick (10th overall) in 2015 out of Duke University. Winslow went through the usual rookie struggles but appears to have a bright future in the NBA after posting per-game averages of 6.4 points and 5.2 rebounds off the bench for the Heat in 2015-16. Shooting guard Josh Richardson was a pleasant surprise for Miami last year, averaging 6.6 points per game and showing off his impressive outside shooting ability (46 percent from three-point range).
Russell Westbrook came into the NBA as the fourth overall choice in the 2008 NBA Draft. The former UCLA player made an immediate impact for the Thunder, making five NBA All-Star appearances in the last six years. He is coming off one of his best seasons as a pro, averaging 23.5 points, 7.8 rebounds, and 10.4 assists per contest.
NBA trade rumors point toward the Miami Heat making a push to acquire Russell Westbrook. Given the rumored offer, do you think this would be a fair trade for both sides?
[Photo by Sue Ogrocki/AP Images]