After 11 seasons in Oklahoma City, it appears Russell Westbrooks time there is coming to an end. Following the Paul George trade, which included a massive haul of draft picks, it appears it’s time for a rebuild. This became even more obvious when on Monday, the Thunder traded forward Jerami Grant, to the Denver Nuggets, in exchange for a 2020 first-round pick. So where should Oklahoma City send Westbrook?
Kawhi Leonard made it known he wasn’t going to Los Angeles unless George was acquired. The Thunder couldn’t turn down what they received. Westbrook has stayed loyal to the Thunder trying to recruit players to join him and win in Oklahoma City. However, after what has transpired in the last week, General Manager Sam Presti is now entertaining offers.
The Heat have already made a big splash in Free Agency signing Jimmy Butler to a max deal. They have also traded away Josh Richardson, and Hassan Whiteside. Should the Heat pull the trigger they would join the top duos in the league with Westbrook and Butler and certainly would have their name in the contention for an NBA Championship.
Can the Heat win with Westbrook?
Now you either love Westbrook or you don’t. His shot selection and basketball IQ can be improved however you cant deny his effort. Good or bad Westbrook is always giving 110% until the clock hits zero. Currently, Westbrook is 30 and has four-years and $170 million left on his contract. Now it remains to be seen what the Heat would offer to acquire the eight-time All-Star.
It could be assumed that Goran Dragic and a lot of picks and probably another role player would get the job done. Now Westbrook and Butler are two outspoken players with reputations but if they are able to keep it together this team would have Eastern Conference Finals potential.
Reunion with the Beard?
While the Heat appear to be the favorites, another team that has been named as a potential trade partner is the Houston Rockets. Now, this would be interesting as James Harden and Westbrook would be united. After being teammates for three years to battling for an MVP in 2017 it would be fun. However, this is very unlikely. With Chris Paul on the Rockets, this trade wouldn’t make sense at all. Sending Paul to a rebuilding OKC team doesn’t benefit them and you can’t start Westbrook, CP3, and Harden in the same lineup. Anything is possible but a reunion here seems slim and none.
Westbrook to Detroit ?
The Pistons are a team that should try to make this happen. Teaming Westbrook, with Blake Griffin this almost happened in 2017 before the Pistons ultimately won the trade sweepstakes for Griffin. The Pistons have desperately needed a point guard for years now and Westbrook would provide the answer. Coming off a playoff appearance and with Andre Drummond to add to the mix, the Pistons would become a formidable team to deal with. They would need to add perimeter scoring but a team with three players averaging over 17.3 points and 7.5 rebounds would be a strong playoff team.
This would be critical in controlling the glass and dominating the paint. Plus with the ability of Westbrook to draw the defense would free up Griffin for more one on one looks. Griffin enjoyed a career year in the Motor City last year. He averaged 24.5 points along with 7.5 rebounds per game while shooting 36% from three.
Darkhorse team that should get involved.
Now, this probably won’t happen but if there is one team that should go all out for Westbrook it’s the Phoenix Suns. They haven’t had a good point guard since 2013 and haven’t made the playoffs since Steve Nash was running the show. With Westbrook, you get the trio of the Brodie, Devin Booker, and DeAndre Ayton. The Suns would instantly become a playoff caliber team and they also have young players to work with in Mikal Bridges and Cam Johnson.
Now they passed on D’Angelo Russell but did sign Ricky Rubio, to a three-year $51 million dollar deal. It’s a long shot but hey it would bring some excitement back to the desert.
Miami is the place to be
The Heat have shown interest and they are the best fit for Westbrook. Having Butler as another scorer and excellent player on defense to take the pressure off of Westbrook is huge. The Heat also have young Talent in Tyler Herro, Bam Adebayo, and Justise Winslow. The Heat would be gaining a player that averaged a triple-double for the third consecutive season averaging 22.9 points, 11.1 rebounds and 10.7 assists last year.
This year the East is wide open. With Leonard gone and Kevin Durant out the time is now. With a lot left in the tank, you’d have both Butler, and Westbrook on four-year deals and the window would be open to bringing a fourth title to South Beach.