The Oklahoma City Thunder are now thought among most in NBA circles to be ready to trade Russell Westbrook to another team. And according to a new report, trade talks are already underway with the Miami Heat.
Per a piece published Thursday by Barry Jenkins in The Miami Herald, the Thunder and Heat are engaged in active trade talks for the former MVP guard.
The report says that Oklahoma City has asked Miami for “multiple young, valuable assets.” The Thunder at one point asked for Tyler Herro, the Heat’s first-round pick in this year’s NBA Draft, and asked at another point for two out of Herro, center Bam Adebayo, and forward Justise Winslow.
According to The Herald, Miami is “very reluctant” to part with Herro, who signed his rookie contract this week and therefore cannot be traded for at least 30 days. Miami is also “opposed to including Adebayo,” per the report. This has led to a “stalemate” in the talks, as of Wednesday night.
Other veteran players on the Heat roster, such as Goran Dragic, Kelly Olynyk, and James Johnson, may be required as part of the trade in order to bring the salaries changing hands closer into alignment.
Draft picks are not being discussed as part of the talks, for a simple reason: The Thunder, due to previous trades, already own two future first-round picks belonging to the Heat, an unprotected pick in 2021 and a protected choice in 2023. This means the Heat can’t trade any more picks, although the talks could involve adjusting the protections on the existing picks.
The Heat, or any team taking on Westbrook, would be on the hook for the four years and more than $170 million remaining on the “supermax” contract that the player signed with Oklahoma City in 2017. However, the report by the Herald shows that rather than viewing a trade of Westbrook as a salary dump, Oklahoma City is seeking to get back players of value.
— Hoops Rumors (@HoopsRumors) July 11, 2019
Miami, along with the Minnesota Timberwolves, Detroit Pistons, and Houston Rockets, have been mentioned as a potential trade destination for Westbrook, after the Thunder traded Paul George for a bevy of draft choices and seem poised to launch a years-long rebuilding project.
Per The Inquisitr, a roundtable on ESPN.com this week of NBA experts was nearly unanimous about Miami being Westbrook’s most likely destination, while one of the panelists, Tim Bontemps, declaring that “I think Miami is the only place that makes any sense” and “people around the league consider it an inevitability that he will wind up there at this point, too.”