The Russell Westbrook situation has many NBA fans captivated. An 8-time All-Star who is still on the later end of his physical prime could be dealt by the Oklahoma City Thunder. It’s clear they intend to do so, wanting to shed as much salary as possible while collecting future assets. They already raked in a ton of wiggle room and draft picks in the blockbuster deal that sent Paul George to the Clippers. Most feel it’s only a matter of time before Westbrook is next.
As things stand, the heavy favorite in any speculation for a trade is the Miami Heat. It seems like a move Pat Riley would make. The team just signed Jimmy Butler. Adding Westbrook would launch the team right back into the thick of the Eastern Conference picture. There’s one problem though. Their money situation is tight. In order to work a deal, they’d have to shed a ton of salary to fit Westbrook’s massive $38.5 million cap hit.
Difficult, but not impossible. However, a seemingly innocent development in the past few hours has made any deal harder. Their rookie 1st round pick Tyler Herro was viewed by many as a logical part of any trade package Miami could put together. That idea became problematic when it was reported Herro signed his rookie contract. This means he is now untradeable for the next 30 days.
To say nothing of the fact the Heat have hinted strongly they have no desire to move him. For those who are hoping the Chicago Bulls might take a shot at landing the star point guard, this is significant.
Bulls now have a 30-day window to scoop Russell Westbrook
It still isn’t clear where the Bulls stand on the Westbrook question. Their silence would seem to indicate a lack of interest. Then again silence can mean anything. The reality is Westbrook would instantly become the best player on the roster by a comfortable margin. His 22 points/10 assists/11 rebounds stat line from last season is something that few players in the NBA could ever hope to accomplish.
People may accuse the man of being selfish and not focused on making the team better. If that were true though, he’d be focused on scoring and wouldn’t even bother passing. It’s also important to remember he was brilliant in the NBA Finals against Miami back in 2012. He scored at least 27 points in three of the five games played including 43 in Game 4. The man had a triple-double twice in the series loss to Portland last season.
He can elevate his game in May and June. Given the state of the Eastern Conference, there is no reason to think his addition can’t make the Bulls a dark horse contender depending on who they’re able to keep in any trade with the Thunder. As always it comes down to what Gar Forman and John Paxson believe.