It’s hard to be a cruddy team in the National Basketball Association. You obviously can’t contend for a championship, let alone make the playoffs, and you can’t tank completely like other leagues’ teams because of the NBA Draft Lottery. Remember the New York Knicks falling from the No. 1 pick to the No. 3 pick, this despite an incredibly dismal 17-65 season? Yeah, that’s tough.
And now the Oklahoma City Thunder join those ranks after trading away Paul George to the Los Angeles Clippers. After leaving Russ pretty much by himself at this point (with the exception of Steven Adams — kind of), it’s pretty much over for Westbrook in Oklahoma City, ending a remarkable and historic 11-year career with the Thunder.
The web-based sportsbook BetOnline has put out a set of odds regarding the buzz around Russell Westbrook, and I’m happy to report as a Miami Heat fan that my boys are the favorites to land the triple-double guru at a -150 figure. And not only is South Florida favored to welcome Westbrook, but he’s also HEAVILY favored to enter the beautiful city of Miami to play for the Heat — one of the best organizations in all of the sports, and that’s not just my fandom coming out.
They lost LeBron James back in 2014 to the Cleveland Cavaliers, Chris Bosh to a career-ending injury, and Dwyane Wade’s ability would decline due to age, and to recover just five years later with Russell Westbrook and Jimmy Butler after such a glorious big three era? That would be one hell of a comeback. This is why Micky Arison and Pat Riley are one of the best, if not the best, owner/general manager tandem in the athletic world — though Riley’s technical term is the ‘President of Basketball Operations’. Still, you get the point.
Following the Miami Heat in the odds comes the New York Knicks at a distant +300, and afterwards, you have the Detroit Pistons coming in at +400. The NBA betting sites have the Oklahoma City Thunder coming in at fourth to retain Russell Westbrook with a number of +500. After that, it then gets even more distant. The Chicago Bulls round out the top five in the fifth position at +1200, and they share that position in a tie with the Houston Rockets obviously at +1200 as well. The Minnesota Timberwolves come in dead last in the odds at +1400.
When you look at the odds and see the only teams that the Miami Heat have to compete with are the New York Knicks and the Detroit Pistons, you have to smile as a fan of the Heat — because he’s definitely not staying with the Oklahoma City Thunder, so count them out as a competitor. (He even wanted out of OKC before the Paul George trade.) Russell Westbrook is pretty much the Miami Heat’s to lose at this point.
Let’s go a little bit into the big three of the Miami Heat, New York Knicks and Detroit Pistons of where Russell Westbrook will land for the 2019-20 season — the most three talked about organizations being talked about to make a power-move to land Russ.
THE NEW YORK KNICKS DESPERATELY NEED TO DO SOMETHING
The reason why the New York Knicks are on the list and placed second is because they’re in desperation mode. They lost out on Zion Williamson in the NBA Draft, did dismal in free agency not grabbing either Kevin Durant or Kyrie Irving, and they weren’t able to land any other name like a Jimmy Butler or Klay Thompson either. Like every offseason it seems, it was an epic failure for the New York Knicks, and even worse this year with them just handing the crown of New York City over to the Brooklyn Nets — that’s their new team now. As a result, the New York Knicks have no choice but to go out and try to get Russell Westbrook, the only superstar left up for grabs.
If they are able to make the move, they’ll have to drop point guards Dennis Smith Jr. and Frank Ntilikina to make room for Westbrook, and I’m sure the Knicks will have no issue with that. This will also add to their already good amount of cap space as well, being able to easily owe Russ his $124 million over the next three seasons.
But after seeing how New York failed miserably and completely flopped with Kevin Durant, who had preferred to go to the Knicks, by the way, you can’t help but to ask the stupid question of: “But what will New York be willing to give up in order to make a trade?” Like this isn’t Russell Westbrook that we’re talking about. Now I’m not saying to give up the farm for Westbrook, keep developing players like Kevin Knox and hold on to as many draft picks as you can, but at this point, you have to do something if you’re the New York Knicks — an organization that hasn’t been relevant on a championship scale since the ’90s. You’ve got to make a power-move here.
Now granted, they would barely make the Eastern Conference Playoffs with just Westbrook, but it’s something to build off of — and give the New York Knicks leverage to turn their luck around in future free agencies as well, and could also do so through the trade market before February 2020. This is how it begins. The Knicks need to do everything in their power to land Russell Westbrook, but I know they won’t. They’ll find a way to screw that up too. James Dolan seriously needs to sell the team, that’s just horrible leadership — and I’m not the kind of guy to tell someone what to do with their business, but damn.
Go ahead and save your money, don’t put it anywhere near the New York Knicks in this prop bet. Sam Presti, the general manager of the Oklahoma City Thunder, is obviously going to want a load of talent for Russell Westbrook — which is perfectly understandable for a triple-double god like Russ. But after the New York Knicks disastrously didn’t give Kevin Durant what he wanted in free agency, don’t expect them to give OKC what they want for Westbrook. Just a ridiculous organization they are right now. (I even watched them drop to 0-3 in the NBA Summer League while writing this piece.)
PICK THE MIAMI HEAT, AND RIDE WITH THE DETROIT PISTONS IN SECOND
There are two teams in the NBA that aren’t good, but they’re not bad either. They’re stuck right on the fence of mediocrity, and both have been stuck there for awhile. Russell Westbrook would land both of these teams among the top in the Eastern Conference immediately. And both teams have superstars to team Russ up with as well — Jimmy Butler with the Miami Heat, and Blake Griffin on the Detroit Pistons. And let the chase commence. You can definitely expect both of these organizations to be the most aggressive out of the bundle to trade for Russell Westbrook.
For the Detroit Pistons, they have a bit more draft stock to offer the Oklahoma City Thunder, and a little more depth as well considering the Miami Heat have already given up assets to get themselves Jimmy Butler from the Philadelphia 76ers. The Pistons haven’t been happy for some time now with Reggie Jackson (who played with Westbrook on the Thunder) as their point guard, and are certainly looking to use this opportunity to land not just a new point guard, but Russell Westbrook out of all players — Mr. Triple-Double, himself.
And let’s be honest here, that big three of Russell Westbrook, Blake Griffin, and Andre Drummond would look nice. My only question here is: Does Westbrook like Detroit?
As flashy as he is and the way he likes to dress, I can’t see him wanting to go to Mo-Town — especially going from OKC weather to the insanely frozen state of Michigan. (And I studied journalism through the University of Michigan, so no, I’m not hating. Shout out to the Mo!) These factors are why I can’t place the Detroit Pistons over the Miami Heat.
The Heat still have some tools to make this Russell Westbrook trade work though, including talents such as Justise Winslow, Bam Adebayo, and Tyler Herro. The lack of reports so far still hasn’t made it clear what exactly kind of trade package that the Oklahoma City Thunder are looking for, but after trading away Paul George to the Los Angeles Clippers for a massive amount of draft picks, you have to think OKC is wanting talent over picks at this point. Or maybe we could be looking at a possible rebuild for the Thunder similar to the Boston Celtics? Rebuilding through the draft with a load of picks, we’ll see.
With all that being said, I’m riding with the Miami Heat. I understand that Thunder general manager Sam Presti wants a lot in return for Russell Westbrook, but I don’t think he’ll do it at the expense of Russ. After all, Westbrook gave 11 long (and history-making) years to that organization, and I’m sure he’ll be thanked for it. The Heat may not have as much to offer as Detroit, but they have enough, and I’m sure Presti will be happy to settle for Westbrook. And Russ sure as hell won’t pass up the swag of Miami and South Florida, beautiful women, beautiful weather, and that wonderful no state income tax that Florida provides. And on top of that, the brand of the Miami Heat and their first-class championship-winning ways. As far as Oklahoma City is concerned, they will get theirs, don’t worry about that.
Let’s go over the latest news regarding the favorites to land Russell Westbrook.
It was the top story on ESPN on Monday, and it’s been setting South Florida and social media on fire ever since. And it’s been the fact that Russell Westbrook is very interested in leaving the Oklahoma City Thunder, and he’s a fan of himself becoming a member of the Miami Heat. That conversation would also lead to articles from Sir Charles In Charge that would explain how Westbrook and Jimmy Butler would fit as a duo — and how beautiful it would be. And then you also had opinion pieces like this from the Miami Herald: “Heat’s pursuit of Westbrook is Riley’s bold, all-out gamble to win now.”
Sure sounds like he’s going to South Florida, right? I have even more cementing reports for you: From Heat Nation, an inside source used the exact quote of “I think he’s coming” in regards to Russ heading to Miami. You also have Cavaliers Nation reporting that the Cleveland Cavaliers could be involved in this trade as well, making it even more of a reality for the Heat. And last but not least, you have Heavy reporting that the Miami Heat-Russell Westbrook trade is taking shape. Now you see why Miami are heavy favorites to land Russ, and now you see why I’m taking the Miami Heat. You should too.
Paul Pierce may be hyping this idea up of Russell Westbrook being traded to the New York Knicks, but I’ve got a good amount of bad news for the Knickerbockers fan base. First off, the New York City media is against the Knicks bringing in Russ with headlines such as “The Knicks can’t (and shouldn’t) trade for Russell Westbrook, but these teams can” from the New York Daily News. And then you also have from the New York Post: “Russell Westbrook to the Knicks wouldn’t work right now“.
And to make matters worse for Knicks fans, both ClutchPoints and OKC Thunder Wire are reporting that Russell Westbrook isn’t even on New York’s radar. Sorry, New York City. This is yet another superstar that has fallen through the cracks for this once glorious organization — I do hope for the return of it one day.
There’s certainly a lot of hype here, for sure, as far as the links between Russell Westbrook and the Detroit Pistons are concerned. Thunderous Intentions has a headline that reads: “Can Russell Westbrook reignite the motor Pistons are missing?”, CBS Sports is claiming that Detroit can make a trade for Westbrook work, and multiple reports have the Pistons interested in the services of Russ. Even the local media has gotten involved, with The Detroit News dropping opinion pieces such as: “Pistons should take their best shot at Russell Westbrook.”
But that’s all it’s been, just hype, including a three-team scenario that would send Russell Westbrook to the Pistons and his teammate Steven Adams to the New Orleans Pelicans. But again, it’s nothing more than hype and speculation. I’ve looked through the reports, and I haven’t seen anything that’s actually linking Westbrook and Detroit. They say when there’s smoke, there’s fire, but not in this case. (Sounds like the Russian collusion nonsense with President Donald J. Trump.) Pass on the Detroit Pistons as the winner of this prop bet.
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