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NBA Trades: 3 Reasons why Miami Heat should not trade for Russell Westbrook

Jason Mills
ANALYST
Top 5 / Top 10
887   //    10 Jul 2019, 07:02 IST

Where will Westbrook play in 2019/20?
Where will Westbrook play in 2019/20?

The summer of 2019 will be remembered as the free agency period that leveled the landscape in the NBA. Just 10 days into free agency, a number of franchise-changing moves have already been made from Kawhi Leonard signing with the Clippers and Paul George asking for a trade to join him. 

The Lakers did not get a third superstar to join AD and LeBron James but did fill out their roster with a series of good if not impressive signings. KD and Kyrie Irving are now members of the Brooklyn Nets and D'Angelo Russell has moved to Golden State. If these signings and many more moves have not kept basketball fans entertained from usually suffering from withdrawal at this time of year, there are more moves potentially in the works. 

One huge question that is being asked now that Paul George has left OKC is what will happen with Russell Westbrook? He has spent his entire 11-year career in Oklahoma City and has averaged a triple-double the past three seasons and a double-double the last 4.

However, after one appearance in the NBA Finals which they lost, the Thunder have bled talent year after year losing players like James Harden to trade, KD to free agency, Serge Ibaka to trade and now Paul George via trade.

Now there is talk that the Miami Heat are interested in a 30-year-old Russell Westbrook and here are the reasons they should not make this trade:


#1 Health, cost, and age of Westbrook

Westbrook will be in the 2nd year of the 5-year $205 million extension he signed in 2017
Westbrook will be in the 2nd year of the 5-year $205 million extension he signed in 2017

Russell Westbrook is 30 years old. He has played 11 years in the NBA one way. He plays the game fast, hard and with one main goal- attack the basket. It's a style that perhaps has made NBA managers and scouts seek out what was previously known as a “tweener” type player and ignore the small guards and the old school big centers. The constant driving and low post games seem to take the most toll on the biggest and smallest players. 

Westbrook is a 6'3 elite player but since the 2013 NBA Playoffs, he has had 4 knee operations. Three of those operations occurred in a nine-month period.  The last procedure was arthroscopic maintenance of the joint which happened during training camp in 2018.  Miami would be trading for a high usage point guard with wonky knees.

Westbrook went 4 years between procedures but another significant factor that should concern Pat Riley and Miami management is that Westbrook is owed $159 million over the next 4 seasons including approximately $38.5 million in 2019-20. Finally, he is owed that much money at the age of 30 meaning he will be 33 years old with a player option for a 4th year at $47 million.  He will be a costly and risky pick up.

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