According to Jackson, Oklahoma City is seeking the inclusion of 2019 lottery pick Tyler Herro in a Westbrook deal, but the Heat have been “very resistant” to the idea of trading away the former Kentucky sharpshooter. The 13th overall pick, who is averaging 19.5 PPG, 4.3 RPG, and 2.8 APG in six Summer League games, has exceeded Miami’s expectations so far, a source tells Jackson.
After signing Herro on Wednesday, the Heat can’t include him in a trade for 30 days, but that isn’t expected to be an impediment if the two sides ultimately reach an agreement that includes him.
Jackson also hears that the Thunder have sought at least two players from the trio of Herro, Bam Adebayo, and Justise Winslow. That idea doesn’t appeal to the Heat, who are also high on Adebayo and opposed to dealing him.
As a result of the Thunder’s demands, the Westbrook trade discussions between the two teams are at a stalemate for the time being, despite the fact that Miami would love to add the star point guard, says Jackson.
While Herro’s status may not be a roadblock, there are a number of other obstacles that the two teams must overcome. The Thunder don’t want to take on additional salary, since they’d prefer to dip under the tax line rather than increase their projected bill. However, the Heat almost literally can’t take on any more salary, since they’re less than $1MM away from their $138.9MM hard cap.
Additionally, having already traded away their 2021 and 2023 first-round picks – which the Thunder now hold – the Heat don’t have first-rounders available to include in a Westbrook offer, which is why OKC is seeking multiple young players in a package instead, Jackson notes.
Miami could theoretically remove the lottery protections on the ’23 pick, which would subsequently allow the team to trade its 2025 or 2026 first-rounder as well. However, those are all fairly distant selections, and Oklahoma City may prioritize players and picks that can help the team within the next few years.
Even if the two teams could directly match salaries and the Thunder are fine with not acquiring draft picks, it’s not clear if they’ll see eye-to-eye on Westbrook’s value. Due to the $171MM owed to the former MVP over the next four years, Miami would prefer to just send out players whose contracts would help expedite a deal, many of whom likely don’t have a long-term future with the Heat, says Jackson.
On the other hand, the Thunder believe they deserve more compensation for a player with Westbrook’s track record — he won his MVP award just two years ago, rarely misses time due to injuries, and has averaged a triple-double in each of the last three seasons.
If no other serious suitors emerge for Westbrook, the Heat might “dig in further” when it comes to hanging onto their top young prospects, says Jackson.