Rockets news: No trade market for Russell Westbrook prior to deal with Wizards

By Vincent Frank
Dec 13, 2019; Orlando, FL, USA; Houston Rockets guard Russell Westbrook (0) during the second half at Amway Center. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Rockets news: Houston’s decision to trade former NBA MVP Russell Westbrook to the Washington Wizards caught a lot of people by surprise Wednesday evening. Most of the talk surrounding these Rockets had included a James Harden trade. Westbrook’s situation was on the backburner, primarily because the trade market was thin for him.

We now have more information on the Westbrook for John Wall trade. It actually paints Houston in a pretty good light in that the team was able to move Brodie.

Related: Blockbuster NBA trade that could still happen

Rockets news: No trade market for Russell Westbrook

“There was no trade market for Russell Westbrook. I kept saying this over and over again. The Clippers were not interested,” ESPN’s Zach Lowe noted. “The Knicks were not interested unless they were incentivized. I don’t know where the Hornets noise came from. Maybe it was credible. All I can say is from the people I know there, I never heard they were interested. There was, to my knowledge, nothing.”

This isn’t necessarily a surprising development. It was previously noted that Westbrook was met with a weak market for his services.

That’s primarily due to the 32-year-old guard’s bloated deal. Hence, why Houston had to take back John Wall’s contract while getting a protected first-round pick years down the road. Said contracts are pretty much a wash. That’s why Wednesday’s Rockets news wasn’t a surprise to some insiders such as Mr. Lowe.

Related: Top NBA players of 2020-21

Russell Westbrook contract: Five-years, $206.8 million

  • 2020-21: $41.36 million
  • 2021-22: $44.21 million
  • 2022-23: $47.06 million (player option)

As you can see, Westbrook has a player option for $47.06 million in 2022-23 that he will most definitely utilize. The nine-time All-Star is due a whopping $132-plus million over the next three seasons.

John Wall contract: Four-years, $171.1 million

Rockets news: John Wall contract
Dec 3, 2018; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks point guard Emmanuel Mudiay (1) drives to the basket against Washington Wizards point guard John Wall (2) during the third quarter at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
  • 2020-21: $41.26 million
  • 2021-22: $44.31 million
  • 2022-23: $47.37 million (player option)

Much like Westbrook, there’s every reason to believe that Wall will exercise his option for the 2022-23 campaign. Short of the injury-plagued five-time All-Star returning to form, opting out would be foolish. Wall is due $133-plus million over the next three seasons.

Rockets news: What’s next for this team?

Rockets news: James Harden trade
Sep 10, 2020; Lake Buena Vista, Florida, USA; Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) reacts after getting called for a foul in the first half against the Los Angeles Lakers in game four of the second round of the 2020 NBA Playoffs at AdventHealth Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Houston has maintained that it has absolutely no intention of trading James Harden. Whether the three-time reigning NBA scoring champ forces the team’s hands with the 2020-21 NBA season slated to start in 2.5 weeks remains to be seen.

Rockets news: James Harden trade scenarios

What we do know is that Harden’s situation is different than Westbrook’s. The Rockets are dealing from a position of strength and will demand one of the biggest packages in recent NBA history.

Houston Rockets roster

  • Point guard: John Wall, Chris Clemons
  • Shooting guard: James Harden, Eric Gordon, Sterling Brown, David Nwaba, Mason Jones
  • Small forward: Danuel House, Ben McLemore, Jae’Sean Tate, Gerald Green, KJ Martin
  • Power forward: P.J. Tucker, Bruno Caboclo, Kenny Wooten
  • Center: Christian Wood, DeMarcus Cousins

Is this a playoff team out west? To be clear, a healthy John Wall is not much of a downgrade from what we see with Westbrook in Houston last season. However, he has not played in almost two calendar years due to an Achilles injury. It is certainly a risk.

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