The Miami Heat have apparently moved into the lead in the Russell Westbrook sweepstakes.
After last weekend’s blockbuster trade that sent Paul George to the Los Angeles Clippers in exchange for a huge package of draft picks and young talent to the Oklahoma City Thunder, reports have indicated that Westbrook is the next one on the trading block. The former NBA MVP has reportedly met with team management to discuss the possibility of a trade as the Thunder appear to be moving into a rebuilding phase.
In the days that have followed, the Miami Heat have emerged as the most likely option, both from NBA insiders and now betting outlets as well. As Uproxx noted, the sports betting site BetOnline.ag has listed the Heat as the most likely to land Westbrook at -150 odds — twice as good as the next closest team.
“The New York Knicks (+300) and Detroit Pistons (+500) follow behind the Heat in this case, with the incumbent Thunder sitting at +500 in their own right,” the report noted. “As far as long-shots are concerned, the Chicago Bulls (+1200), Houston Rockets (+1200) and Minnesota Timberwolves (+1400) are all on the board for your wagering pleasure, though it would be fairly stunning if any of the three were able to pull the trigger on a deal at this stage.”
As ESPN‘s Adrian Wojnarowski reported, there appears to be mutual interest from the Miami Heat, as the team reportedly has hopes of landing Russell Westbrook. The report added that Westbrook and his agent, Thad Foucher, have been discussing trade possibilities with Thunder general manager Sam Presti and that the two sides are looking to have a deal done “sooner rather than later.”
— Dime (@DimeUPROXX) July 9, 2019
The report added that Westbrook wants to be traded to a contender, which the Thunder have not been for some years. Though the team never fell out of the playoffs after losing Kevin Durant to the Golden State Warriors, they were bounced in the first round in each of the last three years. The slump came despite a series of high-profile moves, which included landing Paul George.
There are some mixed feelings for Russell Westbrook, ESPN reported, as he has always been committed to the Oklahoma City Thunder and their fans, but he is apparently ready to leave for a team that could finally deliver him a title. Westbrook committed to the team once before — after Durant’s 2016 trade — but he does not appear to be so committed to stick through a rebuild this time around.