There’s a chance that the Houston Rockets are going to blow everything up following the departures of head coach Mike D’Antoni and general manager Daryl Morey. It sure seems to be a possibility. That will now include Russell Westbrook trade rumors.
According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, Westbrook wants out of dodge after just one season with the Rockets.
This can’t really be seen as a surprise. Both Russell Westbrook and James Harden seem to be concerned over the direction of the Rockets following last season’s premature exit in the NBA Playoffs. There’s already rumors suggesting that Harden wants to be traded.
Despite his expensive contract, Russell Westbrook would be a somewhat valuable commodity on the trade block. He’s still performing at a high level, having averaged 27.2 points, 7.9 rebounds and 7.0 assists per game last season.
However, the former NBA MVP is slated to count a combined $132-plus million against the cap over the next three seasons. That limits the number of teams who might have interest in the 31-year-old guard’s services. Below, we check in on the four-most logical landing spots for Westbrook.
Russell Westbrook trade to the New York Knicks
New Knicks president Leon Rose is looking to make a splash in his first offseason as the head of their front office. New York might not have the assets on its roster to pull off a Westbrook trade. However, it could potentially entice the Rockets by offering up the eighth pick in next week’s NBA Draft.
From there, the Knicks would have to send the contracts of Julius Randle, Wayne Ellington and Elfrid Payton to Houston in order to make the contracts work. It also stands to reason that the Rockets would ask for former lottery pick Kevin Knox, who is on the trade block.
Russell Westbrook trade to the Indiana Pacers
We’ve heard rumors that the Pacers are looking to trade All-Star guard Victor Oladipo. At this point, it seems that a rift between the guard and his organization might be too much to overcome. If that is indeed the case, flipping Oladipo and young big man Myles Turner could make some sense here.
The idea would be to team Westbrook up with Malcolm Brogdon, T.J. Warren and All-Star big man Domantas Sabonis. It would certainly be a win-now move for general manager Chad Buchanan and Co.
From Houston’s perspective, acquiring Oladipo’s expiring contract could be used as a tool. The team could flip him for more assets at the NBA trade deadline. Meanwhile, Turner still boasts a tremendous amount of upside. The 24-year-old center is capable of a double-double on a consistent basis.
Russell Westbrook trade to the Phoenix Suns
Suns general manager James Jones wants to make a splash. He wants to find a running partner for stud guard Devin Booker. It’s in this that Phoenix has already been linked to fellow future Hall of Fame guard Chris Paul in trade talks. Should that not come to fruition, Westbrook would be a tremendous backup option in the desert.
The idea would be for Phoenix to move the expiring contract of Ricky Rubio. That would be enticing for Houston as the team potentially looks to rebuild on the fly. Add in young small forward Kelly Oubre as well as a combination of Mikal Bridges and Cameron Johnson, and this could make sense for Houston.
Russell Westbrook trade to the Milwaukee Bucks
Desperate times call for desperate measures. Facing the real possibility of losing two-time reigning NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo in free agency, the Bucks seem to be all in on building a worthy supporting cast. What better way to show the Greek Freak that they mean business by trading for Westbrook?
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Khris Middleton is unlikely be made available in any trade talks. Instead, Milwaukee offers up the likes of Eric Bledsoe, Brook Lopez and George Hill as cap fillers. It could then entice Houston with a solid youngster in Donte DiVincenzo and a first-round pick or two.