Russell Westbrook's time in Oklahoma City could soon be nearing its end.
After reportedly meeting with Westbrook and his agent, the Thunder are now receptive to trade calls for the former MVP, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic. Charania points out that while the Thunder may be open to moving Westbrook, the timing is tough at this point in the summer due to salaries being frozen across the NBA from free-agent deals.
ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported that Westbrook would be open to playing for the Miami Heat, who are among the few reported teams with interest in pursuing a deal. According to a report from Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald, the two sides have had preliminary talks. Not much is known about the details, but the Heat are reluctant to include Bam Adebayo or Tyler Herro.
Because of this reluctance on the Heat's part, the two sides have now reached a stalemate regarding a possible trade featuring the All-Star guard, according to Jackson.
OKC has asked the Heat to include impressive rookie guard Tyler Herro in the proposed trade, but the Heat has been reluctant to do that. Because Herro signed with the Heat on Wednesday, he cannot be included in any trade for 30 days, but that isn't viewed as an obstacle.
At another point in the discussions this week, the Thunder asked the Heat to include two among Herro, Bam Adebayo and Justise Winslow, according to a source in touch with one of the two teams. The Heat also is opposed to including Adebayo, whom coach Erik Spoelstra ranked among the best centers in the league in the final months of last season.
Though the Heat very much would like to add Westbrook, OKC's demands have resulted in a stalemate in conversations as of Wednesday evening.
Due to his inflated annual salary and aggressive style of play, not every team would be interested in acquiring Westbrook, but he would have some other suitors. According to a report from Sam Amick of The Athletic, the Detroit Pistons and Houston Rockets would also potentially be interested in adding Westbrook via trade.
In addition, Josh Robbins of The Athletic, reported that it is "very, very unlikely" that the Orlando Magic would be interested in Westbrook.
From The Athletic:
And while the mountains of money owed to Westbrook are known to have scared quite a few general managers away, sources say that Detroit and Miami are very real possibilities as potential landing spots for the 30-year-old eight-time All-Star.
Rival executives have also pinpointed the Houston Rockets as a likely suitor, which would come as no surprise considering the way general manager Daryl Morey has prioritized the pursuit of stars during his entire career (not to mention the possible reunion between Westbrook and his old Thunder teammate James Harden). The notion of Westbrook sharing the floor with two other ball-dominant guards is unorthodox, to say the least, but Morey has long held the belief that landing as many elite players as possible is the path to championship glory.
The Thunder shocked the NBA world when they traded Paul George to the Los Angeles Clippers very early on Saturday morning, and now the ripple effects are being felt. According to a report from ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, there was another scenario where George could have been on his way to Toronto to team up with Kawhi Leonard.
According to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, Thunder GM Sam Presti "had been willing to pursue a package of Russell Westbrook and Paul George to the Raptors, but no talks ever gained traction."
The Thunder ended up Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Danilo Gallinari, four unprotected first-round picks, one protected first-round pick and two pick swaps. Los Angeles made the deal in order to pair George to star forward Kawhi Leonard, who signed a four-year, $141 million contract with the team on Saturday.in exchange for
Following George's departure, it seems like a rebuild would be the best path forward for the Thunder, so it isn't especially surprising that the Thunder are entertaining trade talks for their star guard.
The Thunder do have a solid group to build around with Steven Adams, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Danilo Gallinari in addition to a bulk of first-round picks. Now Presti will have the tough task of gaining maximum value in exchange for Westbrook.