There’s been a lot of movement in the NBA over the last decade, but it’s not often a player the caliber of Russell Westbrook becomes available via the trade market. Fewer teams are likely to be interested simply because Westbrook becoming available was a part of the domino effect from the Paul George trade to the Clippers, and teams have already made big free-agent moves this offseason. So while some franchises wouldn’t be able to make a deal until December 15 because of NBA rules, these teams can make an offer for the former league MVP right now.
Justice Winslow, Goran Dragic, Dion Waiters
The Heat are said to be the early favorites for Westbrook, but it is likely going to be difficult for them to put a package together that the Thunder like. Justice Winslow could be the headliner, but Miami ultimately might need to get a third team involved to send more future assets to Oklahoma City. There’s almost always a way to make a trade happen in the NBA if all parties really want it to happen, though.
Reggie Jackson, Luke Kennard, Tony Snell, 2020 first-round pick (unprotected), 2022 first-round pick (protected)
The Pistons are seen as the other big favorite to land Russell Westbrook, probably because it’s easy to envision Detroit wanting its own superstar duo of Westbrook and Blake Griffin (arguably a big three when you include Andre Drummond). Griffin’s playmaking ability would be a good fit next to the slashing guard. Also, despite Derrick Rose’s unfortunate decline in athleticism due to injuries, how fun would it be to have Westbrook and Rose on the court at the same time? The Pistons should be able to get a trade done by including premium draft picks if they want Westbrook.
Clint Capela, Eric Gordon, Deyonta Davis, Isaiah Hartenstein, 2020 first-round pick (unprotected), 2022 first-round pick (unprotected), 2024 first-round pick (unprotected)
The Chris Paul contract complicates things for the Rockets, but general manager Daryl Morey clearly wants to bring in another star to play alongside James Harden. It’s no secret that Morey wanted to add Jimmy Butler to the team, so he might get more aggressive after striking out on the now-Heat star. A trade would probably have to start with Clint Capela and Eric Gordon, and a three-way might be the path to getting a deal done. If Morey doesn’t want an undersized team with CP3 still in the mix, he might have to package Paul and draft picks to another team to move his contract.
Andrew Wiggins, Robert Covington, 2020 first-round pick (protected)
I think the Timberwolves might have the best package to offer the Thunder, but OKC is probably going to work with their franchise player to ensure they trade him to a destination he’s happy with, which might not be Minnesota. If Westbrook is open to playing with Karl-Anthony Towns, the Timberwolves could start with Andrew Wiggins (a potential cornerstone moving forward) and Robert Covington (an All-Defensive First Team player), and they probably wouldn’t have to offer much more in terms of draft-pick compensation with Westbrook wanting out.
Kris Dunn, Otto Porter Jr., 2020 first-round pick (protected)
OK, so this offer is probably worse than what other teams like the Timberwolves could offer, but perhaps the Bulls could throw in another first-rounder or only have the 2020 pick top-three protected, which could be enticing to the Thunder. Otto Porter Jr. shoots over 40% from three for his career, and he’d be an ideal player that could potentially be dealt later if his value increases with an increase in shots in OKC. Meanwhile, Kris Dunn doesn’t get much love among fans for whatever reason, but NBA teams probably value him more than Twitter does.