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 Draft Prospect Series
Tyler Herro, OKC Thunder Draft Prospect Series (Photo by Ben Solomon/NCAA Photos via Getty Images) /

Trade option one:

A package of Goran Dragic, Meyers Leonard, Justise Winslow and Tyler Herro works as per ESPN Trade Machine. While the same deal works without Herro in the mix there needs to be incentive for the Thunder beyond getting Westbrook’s salary off the books.

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Dragic is in the final season of his contract earning $19,217,900. The Thunder could potentially move him again prior to the trade deadline as his expiring contract and ability to help a contender would be appealing (plus help OKC with their cap situation).

Likewise, Leonard is also on an expiring deal of $11,286,515. The Thunder may see some potential in Leonard, but at worst his contract would be off the books at season end.

The addition of Winslow and Herro fill the OKC Thunder side of the equation to get value back for a star of Westbrook’s ilk. Both players could help form part of the future core in OKC. At this point neither projects to be a star, but both are talents who offer more than one skill.

During the segment of the Heat schedule where the roster was injury depleted Winslow stepped into the role as primary ball handler and playmaker more than adequately filling the role. His ability to defend numerous positions and athletic prowess are also typical earmarks of the type of player Presti covets. He’s signed through the next three seasons earning $13 million per season with the last year (2021-22) being a team option. That’s more than reasonable for the forward’s skill set.

As for the rookie Herro, he’s much more than a 3-point sniper having already demonstrated a more versatile offense with the ability to drive and above average playmaking ability.

It goes without saying how ironic it would be for the Thunder to finally land a capable 3-point sniper just as Westbrook exits.

If the Thunder wanted to remove more salary from the top line the same trade works adding any of Patrick Patterson ($5.7M), Andre Roberson ($10.7M) or one of the Thunder’s youngsters like Terrance Ferguson ($2.47M) or Hamidou Diallo ($1.7M). This might also be something the Heat insist on with Roberson and Patterson both on expiring contracts themselves or if they insist on getting back some youthful assets.