NBA Rumors: Latest Trade Buzz on Russell Westbrook, Andre Iguodala, More – Bleacher Report
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Ever since the Oklahoma City Thunder agreed to trade Paul George to the Los Angeles Clippers, Russell Westbrook’s name has been front and center on the rumor mill.
The 30-year-old point guard has spent his entire professional career with the Thunder, but this offseason might be the perfect time for the two parties to split.
Although it makes sense for the Thunder to find a trade partner for Westbrook, dealing him will not be easy because the value of his contract increases every year until he becomes a free agent in 2023.
Westbrook is the player everyone is watching at the moment, because his potential move could send the latest shift in the balance of power across the NBA.
While everyone waits on a potential Westbrook trade, a few other franchises are trying to make moves to shore up their respective rosters for the 2019-20 season, including one looking to bring in a three-time NBA champion.
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On Monday, ESPN.com’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported Westbrook welcomes the idea of a potential trade and that the Heat have interest in the guard.
Wojnarowski also reported that Miami appeals to Westbrook, who would join forces with Jimmy Butler if traded there.
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According to ESPN.com’s Tim Bontemps, the feeling around the NBA is that Westbrook will wind up in Miami.
But in order to secure the services of Westbrook, the Heat have to figure out how much they need to give up to please the Thunder front office and to make the player’s contract work.
Before Miami landed Butler in a sign-and-trade with Philadelphia, it had to deal Hassan Whiteside and his contract to Portland to make up cap room.
If the Heat follow a similar path of dumping their largest contract in a trade, Goran Dragic, who is set to make just over $19 million next season, would be the logical centerpiece of a return package to Oklahoma City.
According to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald, the Heat are disinterested in including rookie Tyler Herro in a Westbrook deal.
Herro would have been a nice piece for the Thunder to bring in, but it makes sense from Miami’s perspective to keep the 2019 first-round pick.
Miami needs to have cheap, young talent surrounding Westbrook and Butler, if a trade happens, because the two stars would take up a ton of cap room.
Herro has helped Miami’s team in the Las Vegas Summer League go 3-1, and the other players in the squad have provided some hope the back end of the roster can produce at a high level.
Kendrick Nunn and Duncan Robinson, who both take up one percent of the team’s salary are the other top performers alongside Herro in Summer League.
This is important to the potential Westbrook trade because the Heat will need unheralded players to step up and contribute if they have to trade Dragic, Bam Adebayo or Justise Winslow.
Miami appears to be the most likely landing spot for Westbrook since other potential suitors are not as captivated by the idea of making a trade for the eight-time NBA All-Star.
According to Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press, Detroit’s interest to obtain Westbrook is lukewarm, and The Athletic’s Josh Robbins reported it is very, very unlikely Orlando wants to trade for the point guard.
So that leaves Miami as the team with the pressure on it to get a deal done for Westbrook and have him combine with Butler.
Westbrook, who has averaged over 20 points per game in all but two of his 11 seasons, and Butler, who has scored at a consistent clip of 18 points per game or more in the last five years, would be responsible for the bulk of the scoring.
If Miami puts Westbrook and Butler on the same roster, it still needs its remaining role players to contribute in order to challenge in the Eastern Conference, but acquiring the two stars should put it higher in the standings than the 10th-place finish it achieved last season.
According to Mike Fisher of DallasBasketball.com, the Dallas Mavericks are trying to dump Courtney Lee’s contract as part of a deal with the Memphis Grizzlies to acquire Andre Iguodala.
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The report states the Mavericks would send a second-round pick along with Lee to obtain the services of the three-time NBA champion with the Golden State Warriors, but Memphis is unwilling to take on most of Lee’s salary.
Lee is scheduled to make close to $13 million next season, and he is seen as a surplus now because the Mavericks signed Seth Curry in free agency.
Dallas would be intrigued by Iguodala because he carries championship experience, and for a team looking to shoot up the Western Conference standings, he would be a perfect addition.
The Mavericks have positioned themselves nicely over the last two years to become a player in the West, with Kristaps Porzingis and Luka Doncic leading the charge, but they still need more firepower on their roster to make a run at the top eight.
Dallas and Memphis are familiar with each other’s negotiating tactics since they recently completed a sign-and-trade deal that sent Delon Wright to the Mavericks in exchange for a pair of second-round picks.
Iguodala is scheduled to make $17 million on the final year of his current contract, but he would be viewed as a worthy investment compared to Lee, who averaged 3.6 points per game in the 22 contests he played in Dallas after being part of the Porzingis trade with the New York Knicks.
Simply put, Dallas needs a third impact player in its starting lineup to have a chance of qualifying for the playoffs in a loaded West.
If the Mavericks can convince the Grizzlies to take on Lee’s deal in exchange for Iguodala, it would be seen as a successful step forward for a team that has improved its roster a good amount in the offseason.
According to Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer, the Charlotte Hornets have made Marvin Williams available.
The 33-year-old power forward, who has one year left on his contract, is standing in the way of the team’s last two first-round draft picks on the depth chart.
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Bonnell noted that head coach James Borrego could start Miles Bridges at power forward, or he could go with P.J. Washington.
Regardless of which young player starts at power forward, the Hornets have the motivation to trade Williams in order to give their rookies and second-year players an opportunity to earn significant playing time.
After failing to obtain Kemba Walker on a long-term deal and settling for Terry Rozier in the free-agent market, the Hornets will not be seen as a contender for a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
In fact, the Hornets will likely take a step back from their ninth-place finish a year ago because the focus is now on developing players like Bridges, Malik Monk and Washington.
The good news for Charlotte is it has a young core to build around, but in order to let those players live up to their full potential, it has to either part ways with veterans, or play them less.
That is why it makes sense for the Hornets to at least test the trade market for Williams, who might fetch them draft picks in return.
Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90.
Statistics obtained from Basketball Reference.
Salary information obtained from Spotrac.
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