The air of inevitability once surrounding Russell Westbrook’s trade to the Miami Heat appears to be fading, and the Houston Rockets may be ready to take advantage.
In the last few days, reports of a deal between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Heat for the former NBA MVP seemed like something of a foregone conclusion. As The Inquisitr noted, NBA insiders believed that the Thunder and Heat needed only to figure out the details to get the deal done.
“I think Miami is the only place that makes any sense,” NBA reporter Tim Bontemps said in an ESPN roundtable. “People around the league consider it an inevitability that he will wind up there at this point, too,” he added.
But as the Miami Herald noted on Thursday, the deal has still yet to come together and the teams have not yet found mutual ground on the return for Westbrook. The report noted that the Thunder were impressed with rookie guard Tyler Herro and wanted him to be included in a deal, but the Heat were reluctant to part with him. Adding to the impasse is the fact that Herro just signed a deal with the Heat on Wednesday and would not be able to be included in a trade for 30 days.
There is still a belief that the Heat are in the lead for Westbrook, but lack of progress between the Thunder and Heat has left an opening for the Houston Rockets to enter the fray. Originally identified as one of the teams interested in Westbrook, the Rockets seemed to fall out of the discussion due to the complexity of the traded needed to land Westbrook.
But as ESPN’s Brian Windhorst noted on Twitter, the Rockets may be trying to set up the three-team deal needed to land him. The tweet added that Westbrook gave the Thunder his “short list” of teams he would like to be traded to, and that the Heat were on top. It did not note where the Rockets fell, or if they were included at all.
ESPN story on Russell Westbrook welcoming idea of Oklahoma City searching out a trade that would end his Thunder career: https://t.co/EJK30AbAl8
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) July 8, 2019
As The Big Lead noted, any team trading for Russell Westbrook will likely run into some difficulty given the four years and $171 million remaining on his contract and his advancing age.
“The team taking on Westbrook will have to believe he’ll be worth every penny. He’ll turn 31 in November and could be near the end of his prime,” the report added.