The Miami Heat have now emerged as a potential landing spot for veteran point guard Chris Paul after the Houston Rockets traded him along with several future assets to the Oklahoma City Thunder in exchange for Russell Westbrook on Thursday.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN broke the news of an agreed deal between the Rockets and the Thunder, reuniting Westbrook with his former OKC Thunder teammate, James Harden, on the Rockets.

On the other hand, the Thunder added a bounty of first-round picks to their stash with the possibility of acquiring more if they can trade Paul to an interested team.

The Thunder apparently doesn’t have to look elsewhere to find a trade partner for Paul.

The Heat, who was the runner-up bidder for Westbrook, is also interested to acquire the veteran guard and absorb his massive contract.

Paul signed a four-year, $159 million deal with the Rockets last summer and is still owed over $120 million over the next three years. At this stage of his career, the 34-year-old clearly doesn’t want to spend even a year for a rebuilding squad, making another OKC trade very imminent.

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Miami Heat trade package

With the Thunder and Heat expected to discuss a possible deal over the weekend, Mike Sherman of the Tampa Bay Times suggested a potential trade transaction that seems to be a win-win move for the teams involved.

In Sherman’s trade scenario, Miami will be sending Goran Dragic and Justise Winslow for Paul straight up.

Dragic will earn $19.2 million after he opted in on the final year of his contract with the Heat.

Winslow, meanwhile, signed a two-year, $26 million contract extension with a base salary of $13 million per year last fall. Their combined contract of $32.2 million would be enough to match Paul’s 38.5 million salary for next season.

The Thunder would gladly absorb Dragic’s expiring contract and a still promising prospect in the 23-year-old Winslow, with the possibility of getting a first-round pick or multiple second-rounders.

Winslow is the odd-man-out

In his latest post on Sun-Sentinel, veteran NBA analyst Ira Winderman wondered what would be Winslow’s role should the Heat land Paul, and the young wingman somehow sticks with the team. The analyst doesn’t see any fit with Winslow on the Heat’s current roster make-up, more so, a team that would feature another ball-dominant guard like Paul.

“Is Justise nearly as valuable off the ball?

As it is, whether it is Dragic or (dare we suggest?) Chris Paul at point guard, that, right there, takes Justise off the ball.

And that’s not even getting into how dominant Jimmy Butler can be on the ball. In fact, should the Heat wind up with both Butler and Paul, it would almost seem to make Justise an odd man out even if he’s not in a trade,” Wilderman wrote on his Q&A entry on Sun-Sentinel.

Paul might be in the twilight of his career, but his 2018-19 NBA season stats (15.6 points and 8.2 assists) showed that he’s still capable of producing solid numbers. A potential pairing with Butler – another high-maintenance star – would provide challenges to the coaching star. However, the Heat seems willing to take the risk of adding another star alongside Butler, knowing the road to prosperity in the Eastern Conference would be much easier with two stars at the forefront.

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