The Miami Heat have been at the center of Russell Westbrook trade speculation almost as soon as Paul George was traded out of Oklahoma City to the Los Angeles Clippers to team up with Kawhi Leonard.
But with Tyler Herro -- their top pick in the 2019 NBA Draft -- officially signed, the Heat can't include the former Kentucky guard in any deals for at least the next 30 days, per league rules.
Regardless, the Heat might not want to include Herro in any Westbrook trade anyway. The 2017 NBA MVP is a declining asset given that he's set to make $47 million in the 2022-23 season, to say nothing of his shooting and defensive woes. Yes, Westbrook is still a top point guard in the league and nobody can match his explosiveness with the ball in his hands, but how talented will he be four seasons from now? That supermax contract is only going to become more of a liability with time.
Westbrook's numbers, although gaudy, are deceiving. The All-Star shot only 29% from three last season, the single worst mark among qualifying palyers, and a career-low 66% from the line. Even with three of the four triple-double seasons in NBA history to his name, it's hard to ignore his inefficiencies.
For the Heat to take on that albatross of a contract, Miami should ask for assets along with it. Even further, they should be hesitant to give up any top pieces like Herro.
A deal featuring Justice Winslow and a pick for Westbrook should be the starting point for Pat Riley. In no way, shape or form should the Heat be willing to part with Herro or young center Bam Adebayo.
Herro has dominated NBA Summer League this year, averaging 21.3 points, 5.3 rebounds and 4.7 assists per game on 41% shooting from the floor.
It's easy to argue the Heat want to win now after trading for Jimmy Butler, but the team needs to be smart in its pursuit for the All-Star point guard. Overpaying for Westbrook could come back to haunt them as early as next season.