One new report indicates that the Heat are the most likely team to pull off any deal in the near future.
ESPN.com looked at Westbrook’s current situation and how any deal involving the Heat will be a challenge due to salary-cap issues:
“Westbrook has a massive contract, with four years and $170 million remaining. He also has a game built upon athleticism and will turn 31 in November. That combination, along with a strong personality, is why the prevailing opinion among insiders is that the Miami Heat are the most likely landing spot.
“The mechanics of a trade with Miami will be difficult because the Heat are hard-capped. But the Heat signed another star this summer who is entering his 30s in Jimmy Butler, and they have a franchise ethos of always trying to be as competitive as possible. They also have pieces, including Goran Dragic’s $19 million expiring contract and forward Justise Winslow, that seem like reasonable building blocks in such a deal.”
Westbrook abruptly became a trade option late last week when the Thunder traded away Paul George to the Los Angeles Clippers for what was largely a wealth of future first-round picks. Given that rebuilding mode, the $170 million remaining on Westbrook’s contract and the fact that he turns 31 in November, the Thunder are expected to trade him.
The Heat have already added Jimmy Butler in a sign-and-trade, and with a potential acquisition of Westbrook, would immediately have one of the top starting backcourts in the NBA. A Westbrook deal would immediately make them solid playoff contenders within the Eastern Conference after having missed the postseason this past year.
Westbrook is coming off his third consecutive year of averaging a triple-double, an incredible accomplishment. During the 2018-19 season, he averaged 22.9 points, 11.1 rebounds and 10.7 assists, with his assists numbers leading the league for the second year in a row.