The Thunder might not be done shipping superstars out of Oklahoma City.
OKC sent shockwaves around the sports world last week when it reportedly dealt Paul George to the Los Angeles Clippers, with whom he’s soon to play alongside Kawhi Leonard. Russell Westbrook now finds himself as the lone Thunder star, but it might not be long until the 30-year-old lands with a new team as well.
Shortly after news of the George deal broke, rumors began to circulate indicating Westbrook and the Thunder would discuss the possibility of a trade. The Heat quickly emerged as a “team to watch,” but Miami might face stiff competition if the Westbrook sweepstakes actually commence.
“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,” The Athletic’s Sam Amick and Brett Dawson write.
“The Heat landed Jimmy Butler via a sign-and-trade with Philadelphia in free agency, and they could conceivably build a package around the likes of Goran Dragic (one year, $19.2 million remaining) and former Thunder guard Dion Waiters (two years, combined $24.7 million) to pair him with Westbrook. The Pistons’ scenario appears to be potentially trickier, with likely candidates to make the salaries match including big man Andre Drummond (two years, $55.8 million combined, including a player option in 2020-21), former Thunder guard Reggie Jackson (one year, $18 million) and Tony Snell (two years, $23.5 million combined, with a player option in 2020-21).”
Amick and Dawson also claim rival executives have targeted the Rockets as a potential trading partner for Westbrook, especially considering how aggressive Houston general manager Daryl Morey can be when it pertains to pursuing superstars.
Westbrook has been a household name in OKC ever since the franchise drafted him fourth overall 11 years ago. But given the current landscape of the league, especially the Western Conference, a rebuild might be in the Thunder’s best interest. Trading Westbrook, who has averaged a triple-double in each of the last three seasons, would help kickstart those efforts and then some.