Russell Westbrook prefers to Heat things up – 3 trade options that work for both sides

Jimmy Butler, Russell Westbrook, OKC Thunder (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
Jimmy Butler, Russell Westbrook, OKC Thunder (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) /
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OKC Thunder
Russell Westbrook of the Oklahoma City Thunder (Photo by Chris Schwegler/NBAE via Getty Images) /

Westbrook and Butler would join duo star teams:

The NBA is arguably the most trendy of all the professional leagues. In recent years teams attempted to build and emulate the success of super teams, followed by the trend of perimeter based small ball systems and more squads shifted to increased pace. The newest trend features a move instigated by free agents to form two superstar led teams. This latter trend was punctuated by the suddenly verbose recruiter Kawhi Leonard demand to the Clippers to acquire Paul George if they wanted to land him.

The Heat is among the clubs who currently have a superstar or top talent who might just be one superstar away from title contention.

Brodie’s fit in Miami:

In terms of Westbrook’s fit on Miami, it’s hard to imagine a player more suited to Pat Riley‘s idea of a prototypical Heat player. Similarly, finding a duo as gritty and competitive as Jimmy Butler and Russell Westbrook would be difficult.

One of the major issues for the Heat last season was their lack of playmakers, particularly when the team was mired in injury mid-season. Westbrook would immediately fill that gap.

Conversely, adding Westbrook also poses obvious limitations. Both Butler and Westbrook are best suited initiating plays so figuring out how to best utilize the duo to their best selves would be an interesting problem for Erik Spoelstra to resolve.

Perhaps the most troublesome issue will be a lack of floor spacing and shooters. The Thunder ranked 22nd from the perimeter last season which was a major issue since it often stalled the offense, particularly in the postseason. Miami was only .1 percent better ranking 21st in perimeter efficiency.  Seven players shot 35 percent or higher from the perimeter and four of those players are no longer on the club (Wayne Ellington, Josh Richardson, Tyler Johnson, and Rodney McGruder).

In terms of incoming talent, Jimmy Butler shot 33.7 percent from deep, Meyers Leonard shot 45 percent on 1.8 attempts per game while NCAA products Kendrick Nunn (39.4%) and  KZ Okpala (36.8%) both shot well from the perimeter last season.

In an oddity, rookie Okpala was signed but the higher draft pick Tyler Herro has yet to put pen to paper.

As per Keith Smith, if the Heat were to sign Herro he couldn’t be part of any trade package for 30 days which perhaps indicates they are holding off in order to include him in a potential Westbrook deal. Ironically, Herro was the rookie the Thunderous Intentions team pinpointed in the FanSided mock draft as the prospect Presti should target.

Furthermore, since the Heat isn’t a team who could include draft picks at least not immediately. The OKC Thunder already possess two of their picks which were part of the Clippers trade package for George so Miami may need to send assets or involve a third team if Presti’s mandate is draft picks over assets.

Miami just missed out on making the playoffs this past season finishing tenth in the East. Other than the big move to add Butler the Heat are also in a bit of an uncomfortable spot with Goran Dragic, Kelly Olynyk and Derrick Jones Jr. all of whom were publicly announced as being part of initial trades in order to facilitate the Butler deal and subsequently weren’t dealt due to confusion in the trade talks between the Mavericks and Heat.