In the aftermath of co-star Paul George’s departure, Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook welcomes the idea of general manager Sam Presti engineering a trade that would bring an end to his illustrious 11-year career with the franchise, league sources tell ESPN.
The Miami Heat have expressed interest, a potential destination that also appeals to Westbrook, league sources said.
Westbrook and his agent Thad Foucher have been discussing trade possibilities and scenarios with Presti and the sides are both motivated to find a resolution sooner rather than later, league sources tell ESPN.
Westbrook wants to play for a team pursuing contention, which is no longer the case once George forced a trade to the Clippers to partner with Kawhi Leonard.
Westbrook’s affinity for Oklahoma City, the region and fanbase has never wavered, but the Thunder’s falling out of contention — sped up with the George trade — makes the idea of playing elsewhere in his 30s feel as though it could be the proper competitive decision, sources said.
The Thunder have been eliminated in the opening round of the Western Conference playoffs in three straight years.
Westbrook, 30, has four years and $170 million left on his contract. The Thunder have accumulated six future first-round picks in the past three days in trades with the Clippers (George) and Denver Nuggets (Jerami Grant), including two first-round picks (2021, unprotected) and 2023 (protected) via the Miami Heat.
Miami acquired All-Star guard Jimmy Butler in a four-way sign-and-trade at the start of free agency. President Pat Riley and coach Erik Spoelstra continue to be aggressive in pursuing star-level veteran talent without the benefit of salary cap space or many coveted future assets to peddle in deals.
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