Report: Russell Westbrook ‘welcomes’ idea of trade from Oklahoma City

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Oklahoma City is reportedly considering a future without franchise point guard Russell Westbrook, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. 

Per Woj, Westbrook is “welcoming” the idea of moving on from Oklahoma City, where he has played his entire 11-year career thus far. 

This development is part of the fallout from the Thunder trading Paul George to the Los Angeles Clippers for Danilo Gallinari, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, five first round picks and two pick swaps. 

The Thunder also traded starting power forward Jerami Grant to the rival Denver Nuggets on Monday for a 2020 first round pick. 

After a decade of contention, the George trade dictates that it could be time for Westbrook and the Thunder to move on. OKC general manager Sam Presti now has six extra first round picks to work with in the coming years, giving the Thunder an excellent opportunity to rebuild around a new core.

Woj singled out the Miami Heat as a potential destination for Westbrook. Miami signed Jimmy Butler to a max contract earlier this offseason, but they otherwise lack star power in a wide-open Eastern Conference. 

Miami also has an interesting collection of assets to trade. Rookie guard Tyler Herro is off to a great start, and Oklahoma City will need scorers in this rebuild. Bam Adebayo and Justise Winslow could also be a part of a package for Westbrook, who still has four years remaining on his max deal. 

The Heat also have tradeable contracts to match salaries. Goran Dragic ($18.1 million), James Johnson ($14.7 million), Dion Waiters ($11.5 million) and Kelly Olynyk ($12.1 million) could be used to match Westbrook’s $38.5 million in 2019-20. 

Oklahoma City acquired Miami’s unprotected 2021 pick and lottery-protected 2023 pick in the George trade, so it will be interesting to see if that conflict of interest has any bearing on negotiations. Due to the protections on the 2023 pick (lottery protected through 2025 and then unprotected in 2026), Miami can’t trade a first round pick until 2028. 

Other teams have also been linked to Westbrook, including Detroit and Houston. The Pistons would make sense as a team looking to upgrade at point guard and add another ball handler around Blake Griffin and Andre Drummond.

As of now, there’s no obvious timetable or deadline for when Westbrook could be dealt.

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