Russell Westbrook is warming to the idea of leaving Oklahoma City, and the Miami Heat are high on the All-Star point guard’s list.
According to multiple reports, Westbrook signed off on general manager Sam Presti taking trade offers. The decision comes on the heels of the Thunder shipping 2019 MVP finalist Paul George to the Los Angeles Clippers for five future first-round picks, forward Danilo Gallinari and guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander.
Westbrook has spent his entire 11-year career in Oklahoma City, averaging 23.0 points, 7.0 rebounds and 8.4 assists in 821 games while winning the NBA’s MVP award in 2017.
ESPN reported the Heat and team president Pat Riley moved to the front of the line because Westbrook would approve of a deal to Miami. The Heat used a four-way deal to pull off a sign-and-trade for Jimmy Butler, and Riley will have some bookkeeping wizardry to do if he wants to add Westbrook to the unexpected offseason haul.
—D’Angelo Russell was excited to learn he would be running with the Golden State Warriors. But the No. 2 pick in the 2015 NBA Draft also is preparing for the potential reality of a fourth team in five pro seasons if the Warriors decide to flip the 2019 All-Star in a trade.
“That’s the business of it,” Russell said of his long-term prospects with the Warriors. “It is what it is. You put yourself in a position to go somewhere for a long period of time, and it may not be what it is a year later. And that’s the business. I’ve come to a realization of that, and I understand that, so whatever situation I’m in, I know the business side of it, so we’ll just see. I can’t predict it.”
Russell earned an All-Star selection in February before he entered restricted free agency. Russell, 23, averaged 21.1 points and 7.0 assists for the Nets last season.
—The New York Knicks are reworking a two-year, $21 million deal with free agent guard Reggie Bullock, which could lead to an opening for power forward Marcus Morris to pass on a deal with the San Antonio Spurs and join New York, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
Morris agreed to a two-year, $20 million deal with San Antonio, according to multiple reports on Saturday. But with the deal still unsigned, Morris is reportedly considering an offer from the Knicks, who would create the necessary salary cap room by redoing Bullock’s deal.
Apparently, Bullock’s fitness level in terms of playing a full season became an issue, according to ESPN. Bullock averaged 11.3 points in 63 games (60 starts) last season, split between the Detroit Pistons (44 games) and the Los Angeles Lakers (19). Morris spent the past two seasons with the Boston Celtics and averaged 13.9 points and 6.1 rebounds in 75 games (53 starts) in the 2018-19 season.
—The Milwaukee Bucks officially re-signed point guard George Hill, who averaged 11.5 points per game during their run to the Eastern Conference Finals last season.
The Bucks waived the 33-year-old Hill last month to avoid his contract guaranteeing but intended to try to bring him back on a more team-friendly deal than the one year and $18 million he had left. His new contract will be for three years, $29 million, according to a recent report in The Athletic.
Hill averaged 6.8 points and 2.1 assists in 47 games with the Bucks last season after arriving via trade from Cleveland. Milwaukee released recently acquired forward Jon Leuer to make room under the salary cap and the Bucks will pay the $9.5 million Leuer is owed over the next three seasons.
—Field Level Media