The trade rumors surrounding Russell Westbrook are heating up in the wake of Oklahoma City’s blockbuster trade of Paul George, with reports indicating that Westbrook could be headed for a reunion with James Harden.
The Thunder made the shocking deal shipping George to the Los Angeles Clippers in return for a record haul of draft picks, along with promising young guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and veteran Danilo Gallinari. That sparked immediate speculation that the Thunder could be putting Russell Westbrook on the trade block as well, with the team apparently moving toward a full rebuild.
While there is still no clarity on whether Westbrook could actually be traded, a few potential suitors have emerged. As Bleacher Report noted on Twitter, the Houston Rockets have emerged as a “likely suitor” for Westbrook in what would be a reunion with James Harden.
It was not clear what the Rockets could give up in order to acquire Westbrook, but it would likely be something similar to what the Clippers traded to land George, a haul of draft picks and promising young players.
The Oklahoma City Thunder are reportedly discussing Westbrook’s future with the team. As ESPN reported, the former NBA MVP has already spoken to management about his future with the team, including the possibility of a trade. The report noted that Westbrook and his agent, Thad Foucher, have met with Thunder general manager Sam Presti, but no clear picture has emerged about what they decided.
The report noted that Westbrook already committed to the team after Kevin Durant left for the Golden State Warriors in 2016, but it doesn’t seem likely he would be up for enduring a full rebuild.
“The Thunder could rework the roster to try to remain competitive around Westbrook and Steven Adams, although that scenario is unlikely. Operating well over the salary cap with a projected salary tax payment of $43 million with the existing roster, the Thunder were in cost-cutting mode before George’s trade and will only accelerate on that front now,” the report noted.
There have been a few other teams identified as potential suitors for Russell Westbrook, though some of the speculation is already a moot point. There’s some who think that the Los Angeles Lakers could move in on Westbrook after failing to land Kawhi Leonard, but the trade for Anthony Davis left the team without the draft picks or young players needed to land the trade — and lacking the cap space for Westbrook, in any event.