How deep is the market for Russell Westbrook, and could the Wolves actually trade for him?

Westbrook could be traded before the start of the 2019-20 season.
Author:
Publish date:
Updated on

It's gotta be a long shot at best, but with Russell Westbrook possibly on the trading block in Oklahoma City, the Wolves acquiring makes sense on some levels. 

To be clear: Minnesota has not been linked to Westbrook in any way other than pure speculation. There are teams that have been connected to a possible trade for the All-Star point guard, including the Heat, Pistons and Rockets. 

Do any of the three teams make more sense than the Wolves?

For starters, the Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press had a source with knowledge of the situation tell him that any talk of the Pistons trading for Westbrook is “Ridiculous" and that there is "Nothing there." 

That flies in the face of a report from The Athletic that called the Heat and Pistons "very real possibilities." 

Miami seems to be the early favorite in trade rumors because they could send Goran Dragic's $19 million expiring contract, shooting guard Justice Winslow and draft picks to the Thunder and make a deal work. 

Houston? They're a "long shot," according to a report from ESPN

What about the Wolves?

Trading for Westbrook, who has averaged a triple-double in three consecutive seasons (22.9 points, 11.1 rebounds and 10.9 assists last season), is complicated because he has four years and about $170 million left on his contract, including a $46.7 million player option for the 2022-23 season. 

Westbrook is the kind of player that would immediately solve Minnesota's point guard questions and make him and Karl-Anthony Towns one of the most dynamic 1-2 punches in the NBA.

With Westbrook, the Wolves are probably a playoff team. Without him, they are destined for mediocrity in a stacked Western Conference that could lead to a 2020 lottery pick, but unless that pick is in the top three, the odds of landing a star to play alongside Towns during his prime are low. 

It's also prudent to note that next year's free agency class isn't that good, and it doesn't include any game-changing guards – Minnesota's biggest need. Perhaps that will drive Gersson Rosas, Minnesota's president of basketball operations, to go all-in for Westbrook.

Minnesota would likely have to send Andrew Wiggins (four years, $122 million remaining), Jeff Teague (one year, $19 million remaining) and future first-round picks to OKC to get Westbrook. 

Teague is gone after this season regardless and the picks might not be that valuable depending what years they're for and how much success Minnesota has. The big question, as always, is how much Rosas and head coach Ryan Saunders feel they can get out of Wiggins, whose talent as a 24-year-old remains untapped.  

More careless speculation: 

Wiggins has a history of playing his best against the Thunder, and especially at Chesapeake Energy Center where he hit a game-winning buzzer beater from halfcourt in 2017, and scored 40 points and grabbed 10 rebounds while hitting 16-of-18 free throws in Saunders' first game as coach after Tom Thibodeau was fired in January. 

Wiggins always seems to play better in OKC than he does almost anywhere else. 

Perhaps Thunder GM Sam Presti has taken notice?

At this point, everything is speculation. Perhaps some more concrete evidence will link the Wolves and Thunder in the coming days and weeks. We'll see. 

Next Up

Related