Houston Rockets: Three Trade Ideas to Move Russell Westbrook

In a shock move, Houston Rockets superstar Russell Westbrook has requested a trade after just one year with the team. The 32-year-old cited a lack of accountability as a primary reason for his request along with the team’s blurry future. Interestingly, it was reported that James Harden will remain in Houston, “locked-in” for the upcoming season which is surprising considering the star’s push for Westbrook last season.

The former Oklahoma City Thunder star overcame some major challenges throughout the 2019-20 season. From a role and system change to contracting COVID-19 pre-bubble to a strained right quadriceps muscle, Westbrook did his best to contend with the hands he was dealt. Ultimately, Houston was ousted in the second round by the Los Angeles Lakers and the Rockets find themselves in a precarious situation.

There is speculation the Charlotte Hornets, New York Knicks, and Los Angeles Clippers are interested in his services. Let’s take a look.

Houston Rockets: Three trade Ideas to Move Russell Westbrook

Charlotte Hornets, Houston, and Detroit engage

Why Charlotte Does This

The Charlotte Hornets have struggled for the best part of two decades and Westbrook brings them back to relevance. It has been some time since the Hornets had a superstar on its roster and Westbrook e brings competitive fire, playmaking, and leadership to the franchise.

P.J. Washington, Miles Bridges, Malik Monk, and Devonte’ Graham are nice pieces that could be developed alongside Westbrook. Danuel House is a solid wing that adds three-point shooting and defense to the team.

Why Houston Does This

The Rockets are in a tough spot with Westbrook’s trade request leaking to the media and will be hard-pressed to receive any value. Houston adds Terry Rozier to slide into the starting guard position while Tony Snell adds wing shooting with the departure of House.

Rozier is a sturdy guard who has improved his three-point shot (37.8 percent) last season thus offers some outside shooting at the one spot. Snell is a marksman from deep (career 40 percent) and would fit nicely alongside Harden.

Why Detroit Does This

It is well known that Detroit wants to draft LaMelo Ball thus swapping picks with Charlotte makes perfect sense. The Pistons would need to absorb Nicolas Batum‘s deal in the process but they also receive two second-round picks (from Cleveland and Brooklyn).

Detroit is in asset collection mode and this deal adds draft capital to their chest.

Leon Rose, Tilman Fertitta, and Dan Gilbert shake hands

Why New York Does This

The New York Knicks are one of the NBA’s premier markets and need an injection of life into the franchise. Westbrook offers showtime, an appeal to the New York faithful, and has the ability to carry the team to the playoffs. When Madison Square Garden is rocking, NBA interest rises. This would be great for the league and for the New York franchise.

House comes along for the ride as a filler but could fill a role at the small forward spot with RJ Barrett at shooting guard. The best thing about this is both players don’t hinder the development of the Knicks’ young players.

Why Houston Does This

The arrival of Kevin Love and Andre Drummond addresses the Rockets’ greatest needs – shooting, rebounding, and a legitimate big man. Many forget Love is still a good player who continues to shoot very well. He isn’t the perennial All-Star he once was but he’s still a good fit alongside Harden. Drummond is looking to rekindle some value and is still an elite rebounder. Houston needs help on the glass and that’s one thing Drummond brings.

Why Cleveland Does This

Cleveland has been shopping Love for over a year and this is an opportunity to move his contract. The Cavaliers will need to take back Eric Gordon but are well compensated with two first-round picks. Julius Randle and Elfrid Payton are throw-ins just to make the numbers work. Randle could play some role as a big off the bench while Payton is likely to be bought out.

Los Angeles Clippers, Houston Rockets do business

Why Houston Does This

The Clippers send Patrick Beverley, Rodney McGruder, a 2022 second-round pick, and Marcus Morris to Houston. For this exercise, Morris signs a three-year, $48-million-dollar front-loaded deal with an option (player or team) in year three. Houston receives hard-nosed players along with solid scoring and shooting from the perimeter.

Why the Clippers Do This

For Los Angeles, they receive a future Hall of Famer in Westbrook who offers a different style to Kawhi Leonard and Paul George. Say what you want about Westbrook, he is one of the best point guards in the game and adds tenacity to a soft Clippers squad. He also offers leadership, something that was severely lacking last year. Steve Ballmer has loved Westbrook for years and would truly help his squad take the next step

TheĀ  Clippers and Rockets are asset poor, so this deal looks plain on paper. However, this would be a nice upgrade for the Clippers while Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta saves some of his precious money.

Conclusion

Where ever Westbrook goes, it would certainly change the landscape of the league. His huge cap number is problematic, especially since the cap is set to remain smooth over the next three to five years. Westbrook remains one of the league’s best players, giving his all every single night.

Westbrook is an excellent acquisition whoever decides to trade for him

Main Image: Embed from Getty Images


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