A blockbuster trade has happened involving James Harden being sent to the Nets.
There seems to be a crisis in Houston at the moment.
It has been reported that Russell Westbrook wishes to be traded and James Harden recently turned down an extension with the goal of being traded to the Brooklyn Nets.
Westbrook has not received many suitors during trade talks and rumours, with the Rockets adamant that they will keep Westbrook if they do not receive the right offer and have no problem with an uncomfortable locker room.
Despite all this, it is likely that Westbrook will be traded before the beginning of the season, and while he may not be traded to a contender there are three teams who certainly offer the best-case scenario in terms of a trade package and wanting to acquire the talents of the former MVP.
There have been rumours circulating that the Rockets and Wizards have both discussed the possibility of a swap involving Westbrook and Wizards star John Wall. This trade would be the best-case scenario for the Rockets if they wish to keep contending, as Wall is a proven leader and star. Despite not playing an NBA game since the 2018-19 regular season, Wall has showcased that he is a star talent and a team leader in the past.
This could potentially be a win-win scenario for both teams, as the Wizards would be receiving a quality star point guard in Russell Westbrook, who is certainly a better player than Wall and would slide in nicely next to Bradley Beal. The Rockets would also be getting a proven leader in Wall and barring any effects from the injuries he has sustained, Wall could provide them with an All-Star level talent.
New York Knicks
The Knicks are very interested in Westbrook, according to sources. However, the main issue here is whether they want to take on his salary. Westbrook is owed over $120 million USD over the next three seasons, which could be a turn off for a team trying to rebuild through the draft and free agency.
While the Knicks have certainly stated in the past that they are willing to take on the salary, it seems questionable as to whether it is a good idea. But, despite all that Westbrook would be a great pickup for the team as they have struggled to find a quality point guard. The Knicks would also hand the keys over to Westbrook, who would be able to control the plays and be the leader as he was in his MVP season with the Thunder where he truly shined.
The Knicks would have to give up a package of young players and picks to acquire the guard, but it would be worth it if Westbrook can elevate himself to that MVP style of play once more.
This fit becomes questionable after the Hornets drafted LaMelo Ball in the draft, but it could still work. Michael Jordan is interested in Westbrook and has often sung his praises in the past. Ball is a 6’5 guard and could easily convert to the shooting guard position and learn from Westbrook.
The Hornets also have the cap space to fit Westbrook’s contract, and arguably can offer the Rockets the best deal for their future as they could package some future picks along with the likes of DeVonte Graham and Terry Rozier. Being traded to the Hornets, like the Knicks, would also give Westbrook the chance to be the number one option again and could provide the Hornets with a much-needed boost after they have struggled for some time.
It is no question that Westbrook wants out of Houston, and while the Rockets seem adamant that they do not mind keeping him despite his feelings, I predict he will be traded before the beginning of the season to one of the three teams listed above. Wherever his future takes him, Westbrook is no doubt going to bring talent and valuable leadership to any team he plays for.