The Houston Rockets have finally pulled the trigger on that blockbuster Russell Westbrook trade. After weeks of speculation that the former NBA MVP could be on the move, Westbrook is headed to the nation’s capital.
According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Houston has dealt Westbrook to the Washington Wizards for John Wall and a first-round pick.
Russell Westbrook trade: Star sent to the Washington Wizards
To say that this is a monumental trade would be an understatement. Westbrook and Wall’s combined contracts come out to north of $378-plus million. That makes the Russell Westbrook trade the richest in the history of the NBA.
Secondly, this move will have wide-ranging ramifications for not only the Wizards and Rockets, but the rest of the NBA heading into the 2020-21 season. Here, we take a look at the winners and losers from Wednesday’s blockbuster Russell Westbrook trade.
Russell Westbrook trade winner: Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal
It must be noted that this star 27-year-old guard averaged 30.5 points, 4.2 rebounds and 6.1 assists on 46% shooting from the field a season ago. He did this without the services of John Wall, who has been sidelined since December of 2018 with an Achilles injury.
There had been talk that Beal wanted out of D.C. We’re not sure where that stands right now. What we do know is that the stud guard now has a healthy star to team up with him in the backcourt. The combination of Beal and Westbrook should be fun to watch. This make Beal a winner in the Russell Westbrook trade.
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Russell Westbrook trade loser: Houston Rockets
This one is rather simple. Houston dealt away multiple first-round picks ahead of the 2019-20 NBA season to team Westbrook up with fellow former NBA MVP James Harden. To say that it proved to be a failure would be a dramatic understatement.
Houston finished the regular season with a 44-28 record, only to lose in the second round of the NBA Playoffs. This led directly to the departures of head coach Mike D’Antoni and general manager Daryl Morey.
Now, looking like a non-contender, the Rockets add an expensive 30-year-old veteran who will not have seen an NBA court in almost two calendar years when he eventually makes his Rockets debut later in December.
The backdrop here is real. Remember, James Harden wants out of dodge. We’re not too sure that trading for an injury-plagued Wall is going to change this. It’s also important to note that the first-round pick Houston received from Washington in the Russell Westbrook trade comes in 2023 and is protected. Ugh!
Russell Westbrook trade winner: Wizards general manager Tommy Sheppard
In his first year as Washington’s head front office guy, Sheppard pulled off the near impossible. He was able to rid this organization of a disgruntled $171 million guard who has not played in two years for a proven and healthy former NBA MVP.
We all know Westbrook’s limitations. He’s seen a major downward spike in terms of shooting efficiency from the outside. We’re also not 100% sure about the fit with Beal. That’s fine and dandy.
However, Washington was still able to nab a dude who averaged 27.2 points, 7.9 rebounds and 7.0 assists on 47% shooting from the field a season ago. The 32-year-old Westbrook has also dealt with just one minor injury throughout his 12-year career. The cost? An injury-plagued guard and a protected first-round pick three years down the road. Great job from Mr. Sheppard here.
Russell Westbrook trade loser: John Wall
It’s by now well known that Wall wanted out of D.C. He just hasn’t had a great relationship with the Wizards’ brass. Unfortunately, the five-time All-Star heads into a somewhat similar situation with the Rockets.
Prior to the Russell Westbrook trade, there were seemingly some issues between Houston’s star players and the Rockets’ brass. That’s what led to Westbrook and Harden looking for a trade out of town.
While it’s not yet known how this will work with first-year general manager Rafael Stone, it’s hard to imagine that the front office head views Wall as anything more than a means to an end. Houston needed to get rid of Westbrook. His contract was untradeable outside of a few different scenarios. This was one. Does Houston view Wall as an important part of the retooling process? That question remains unanswered.