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SportLeverage play: Who holds the cards? Heat, Thunder, Westbrook?

03:30  12 july  2019
03:30  12 july  2019 Source:   msn.com

Heat reportedly 'team to watch' for Russell Westbrook

Heat reportedly 'team to watch' for Russell Westbrook The Heat are a “team to watch” in the Russell Westbrook situation, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski said today during the network’s broadcast of a Summer League game (video clip). 

Report: Rival execs see Rockets as ‘likely suitor’ for Russell Westbrook . The Oklahoma City Thunder have no choice but to explore the possibility of trading Russell Westbrook now that Paul George has forced his way out of town

The Heat are a “team to watch” in the Russell Westbrook situation, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski said today during the network’s broadcast of a Summer League game (video clip). The Oklahoma City Thunder may trade Russell Westbrook and we broke down the best fits The team missed out on the

Leverage play: Who holds the cards? Heat, Thunder, Westbrook?© DAVID SANTIAGO/Miami Herald/TNS The Oklahoma City Thunder's Russell Westbrook reacts after dunking against the Miami Heat at AmericanAirlines Arena in Miami on February 1, 2019.

LAS VEGAS — In the end, amid the NBA’s latest spectator sport, the Russell Westbrook Waiting Game, it comes down to leverage.

In what appears to be a stalemate, all involved can claim an influence advantage in the high-stakes game that includes the Miami Heat’s Pat Riley, the Oklahoma City’s Sam Presti, and the prime protagonist himself, get-me-out-of-here Westbrook.

At the moment, no one is pushing all their chips to the middle at the table.

Report: Rival execs see Rockets as ‘likely suitor’ for Russell Westbrook

Report: Rival execs see Rockets as ‘likely suitor’ for Russell Westbrook The Oklahoma City Thunder have no choice but to explore the possibility of trading Russell Westbrook now that Paul George has forced his way out of town, and any deal involving the All-Star point guard could once again shift the balance of power in the Western Conference. 

The Thunder and Heat are reportedly at a stalemate on a Russell Westbrook trade. One element that could help get a deal done: Westbrook ’s interest in The Thunder can trade Westbrook anywhere. He doesn’t hold a no-trade clause. With four years remaining on his contract, he can’t scare off teams

The Thunder have reportedly put Russell Westbrook on the trading block, and the list of potential This would be a very, very, very risky play for the Pistons, who already have Blake Griffin on the The Thunder get Gordon, who is locked up for the next three years on a pretty team-friendly deal at an

At the moment, there is no reason, with the next meaningful game still three months away.

Where it stands with those with a stake in the game:

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— Miami Heat: For a team that seemingly has precious little to put into play after the Jimmy Butler sign-and-trade with the Philadelphia 76ers, the Heat do hold a prime hole card: the expiring contract of Goran Dragic.

With salary-cap relief clearly a priority, if not a necessity, for the Thunder, acquiring the final, $19.2 million season on Dragic’s contract would provide both a short-term replacement for Westbrook and needed cap relief starting next summer.

But the Heat also could find takers elsewhere for Dragic, particularly having moved forward with the experiment of Justise Winslow as their starting point guard of the future.

Russell Westbrook, Miami Heat reportedly have mutual interest in trade

Russell Westbrook, Miami Heat reportedly have mutual interest in trade The Miami Heat and point guard Russell Westbrook reportedly have mutual interest in a trade that would end his Oklahoma City Thunder career. 

After reportedly meeting with Westbrook and his agent, the Thunder are now receptive to trade calls for the former MVP, according to Shams ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported that Westbrook would be open to playing for the Miami Heat , who are among the few reported teams with interest in

Westbrook 's line -- "We'll see them again" -- feels at once emblematic of how much these teams dislike one another and sadly delusional about the state of both squads. After all, they have Durant. Don't expect Christmas cards to be exchanged between Durant and his former teammates any time soon.

If the Thunder attempt to call the Heat’s bluff when it comes to a seeming refusal to toss prospects into a deal (Tyler Herro, Bam Adebayo), Dragic could wind up headed to another team in the interim, which seemingly was an initial play in the Butler trade machinations.

Salary-cap relief wears No. 7 for the Heat, but only as long as he is available from the Heat.

— Oklahoma City Thunder: The Thunder, of course, could do nothing, at least in the short term. And that could be the best play, to at least attempt to draw another motivated suitor into the equation.

But now that it is out that Westbrook would prefer a deal to the Heat, at least according to ESPN, the Thunder also know there is a degree of pressure on the Heat to not let another one get away, after being linked to Kevin Durant and Gordon Hayward interest in recent free-agency periods.

Presti certainly put the full-court press on the Los Angeles Clippers in the Paul George deal. For a franchise that already has lost James Harden, Kevin Durant, Serge Ibaka, Victor Oladipo and, now, George, can the Thunder afford anything less than a perceived trade victory?

NBA: Thunder's Russell Westbrook traded to Rockets for Chris Paul

NBA: Thunder's Russell Westbrook traded to Rockets for Chris Paul Russell Westbrook has been traded by the Oklahoma City Thunder to the Houston Rockets in a deal for Chris Paul and draft picks, according to ESPN.

That’ll be the narrative all season after Westbrook signed an extension with the Thunder , even if the arrangement is still a short-term one. Share All sharing options for: Russell Westbrook saved the Thunder and made himself a hero.

Westbrook answered with a three-point play and Oklahoma City pushed its lead to six points before Williams hit a 3-pointer with 37.1 seconds left to With all of the injuries, depth was an issue for the Thunder 's backcourt, which is one reason Donovan chose to start Westbrook and Schroder - who

And it’s not as if rolling, at least for the short term, with Westbrook, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Danilo Gallinari, Steven Adams and Andre Roberson couldn’t be competitive.

— Russell Westbrook: This is where it gets interesting: How much leverage comes with committing the first 11 years of a career to a single franchise?

If Westbrook does not get to a desired destination, does it cast the Thunder as team that does not look out for those who have been loyal?

This, of course, also is not like the Anthony Davis situation last season with the New Orleans Pelicans, when potential suitors were warned he well could up at leave after a season. Westbrook is locked into four highly compensated seasons. He is not walking away from that money.

— The loyal fans of OKC: And then there is one of the most loyal fan bases in the NBA.

How exactly would it play out if a player who has asked out does not get out, has to suit up in a uniform he attempted to shed?

Remember, Anthony Davis had been just as beloved in New Orleans. Until he wasn’t.

Beyond that, for all the picks acquired from the Clippers for the future, what about the moment and star appeal? Dealing Westbrook merely for cap relief would only further reinforce the feelings of abandonment that came with Durant, Harden and others from the 2012 roster that lost to the Heat in the NBA Finals.

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