- OKC’s trade of Paul George to the Clippers has put the team on the road to a rebuild
- With four years remaining on a $170 million contract, 30-year-old Russell Westbrook is open to being traded to a playoff contender
- After acquiring Jimmy Butler in an elaborate four-team swap, the Heat are -150 favorites to land the 2017 NBA MVP
The NBA off-season that keeps giving provided a new storyline this week, with reports indicating that two-time NBA scoring leader Russell Westbrook is open a trade. A fixture in Oklahoma City since getting taken fourth overall in 2008, Westbrook’s future has been the subject of speculation since teammate Paul George was dealt to the Los Angeles Clippers last week in a stunning deal that has immediately put the Thunder into rebuild mode.
Here is where the odds to acquire Westbrook currently stand.
Where Will Russell Westbrook Open the 2019-20 NBA Season?
|Team||Odds on which team Russell Westbrook will play for in 2019-20 at BetOnline|
|New York Knicks||+300|
|Oklahoma City Thunder||+500|
*Odds taken on 07/09/19
Following a meeting with Thunder general manager Sam Presti, in which the 30-year-old reportedly expressed his openness to being traded, there has been a sudden shakeup in the odds on where Westbrook will play next season.
With four years left on a hefty contract that will pay him in excess of $38.5 million next season, Westbrook is looking to move to a team in playoff contention.
Heat in the Hunt after Dealing for Butler
The Miami Heat now lead way as the favorites to land the 2017 NBA MVP.
The Heat have reportedly expressed interest in acquiring Westbrook, who will collect $170 million over the final four years of his contract. Miami has finished outside the playoff picture in three of the past five years, including last season, which the squad closed out with a middling 39-43 record, two games back of eighth-place Detroit.
Miami Heat to Acquire Jimmy Butler in Sign-and-Trade
Butler will be leaving the City of Brotherly Love for the Sunshine State. The Philadelphia 76ers will receive Josh Richardson from the Miami Heat as part of the deal. pic.twitter.com/psLAkX06Uc
— Global Grind (@GlobalGrind) July 1, 2019
However, the Heat have already taken steps to return to contention, most notably with the acquisition of Jimmy Butler in an elaborate sign-and-trade deal that involved the Philadelphia 76ers, Portland Trail Blazers, and Los Angeles Clippers. But while bringing big stars to South Beach is nothing new for the Heat, they are far from the only team in the hunt for Westbrook’s services.
Jilted Knicks Search for Consolation Prize
After missing out in their bid to land one of this summer’s big free agents, the New York Knicks sit at +300 to have Westbrook in the fold for the first game of the 2019-20 season, just ahead of the Detroit Pistons and the incumbent Thunder at +500.
This GIF sums up the Knicks free agency perfectly pic.twitter.com/wCBr1Swu22
— Cozes Malone (@WorldwideWiles) June 30, 2019
The Knicks made headlines last season by dealing Kristaps Porzingis to Dallas in a move to free up salary cap space ahead of this month’s free agent frenzy. With Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving heading to Brooklyn, and Kawhi Leonard joining George in his hometown Los Angeles Clippers, the Knicks now find themselves with plenty of available of cap space to spend.
[A]fter missing the postseason in each of the past six years, and winning just 17 games last season, the Knicks’ struggles to return to contention may take them out of the hunt to acquire Westbrook.
However, after missing the postseason in each of the past six years, and winning just 17 games last season, the Knicks’ struggles to return to contention may take them out of the hunt to acquire Westbrook.
Pistons, Timberwolves Among Dark Horse Candidates
Detroit has failed to win a single playoff game over the past 11 seasons (0-12). However, under the guidance of head coach Dwane Casey, the Pistons showed signs of returning to respectability last season with a 41-41 record.
While pairing Westbrook with veteran Blake Griffin would give the Pistons a dynamic duo that could consolidate their status as playoff contenders in the Eastern Conference, Detroit is likely looking to acquire the Thunder star at a bargain basement price.
This is based upon relationships on all sides — Russell Westbrook, agent Thad Foucher and GM Sam Presti — and collaborating together and examining alternative solutions. Trade timing is challenging this late in the summer due to salaries frozen across NBA from free-agent deals. https://t.co/L0ABYFwAfH
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) July 8, 2019
The Chicago Bulls remain a potential destination, joining the Houston Rockets at +1200, while the Minnesota Timberwolves are an intriguing +1400 longshot.
Of course, Westbrook’s albatross of a contract makes it a real possibility that Presti won’t be able to move his lone remaining star until next season. But with the Heat looking best positioned to return to contention next season, pairing Westbrook with Butler is the best bet.
Pick: Miami Heat (-150)
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