Russell Westbrook has spent his entire 11-year NBA career with the Oklahoma City Thunder, but his time with the organization could be coming to an end.
On Monday, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reported the point guard “welcomes the idea” of a possible trade this offseason. He and the Thunder are reportedly hoping to “find a resolution sooner rather than later.”
Wojnarowski also noted Westbrook would be willing to go to the Miami Heat, who have shown interest.
Tim Reynolds of the Associated Press reported there have been “talks” between the two teams.
Tim MacMahon of ESPN previously reported the Houston Rockets could also be interested in trading for Westbrook.
The Thunder began their rebuilding process by trading Paul George to the Los Angeles Clippers over the weekend, and they now appear ready to tear down and start over. That could give Westbrook enough reason to accept a trade to a contender.
“Westbrook’s affinity for Oklahoma City, the region and fanbase has never wavered,” Wojnarowski wrote, “but the Thunder’s falling out of contention—sped up with the George trade—makes the idea of playing elsewhere in his 30s feel as though it could be the proper competitive decision, sources said.”
Since the former MVP is owed at least $38 million in each of the next four seasons, it seems like a good time for the Thunder to part with him.
Miami could pair Westbrook with Jimmy Butler to create a new threat in the Eastern Conference. It would at least generate excitement for an organization that has made the playoffs only twice and won a single playoff series in the five years since LeBron James left.
The challenge could be figuring out how to make a deal work financially:
Keep an eye out for the $138.9M tax apron in Miami. The Heat are $986K below the threshold and the Miami front office cannot take back more or equal $$ and stay under- plus fill out the roster.
Other teams could also be interested in Westbrook for his on-court talent, although his contract could make it difficult to complete a deal.
Courtesy: Bleacher Report