The Houston Rockets are rumored to be interested in trading for a suddenly available Russell Westbrook, but insiders say that the deal would be a “long shot” considering the complications involved and Houston’s lack of assets.
Westbrook was not considered to be on the trade block for the Oklahoma City Thunder until the blockbuster and largely out-of-nowhere deal sending Paul George to the Los Angeles Clippers. The Thunder received a record-setting haul of draft picks in return along with All-Rookie point guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, and now reports say they could be looking to flip Westbrook as well.
As The Inquisitr reported, the Thunder are expected to be moving into a rebuild, and are believed to be considering trading Westbrook as well to start over from scratch. Reports indicate that Westbrook and his agent met with Thunder team management over the weekend after the George deal, but it was not clear if they came to a conclusion.
If Russell Westbrook is indeed on the trade block, the Houston Rockets could be a potential suitor. As ESPN reported, the Rockets are among the teams that would be interested in landing the former NBA MVP, and the move would seem to fit well with Rockets general manager Daryl Morey’s “pattern of aggressively pursuing superstars.” Morey has already suggested that the Rockets may be overhauling the roster this offseason, with big man Clint Capela and guard Eric Gordon reportedly on the trade block.
Houston would still face long odds in trying to land Russell Westbrook, the ESPN report noted. The Rockets would run into challenges in finding the right package of players and draft picks to entice the Thunder, the report noted, and could have even more difficulty in pulling other teams in for a multi-team deal.
But Houston could have other advantages, including the chance to pair Westbrook with James Harden again.
Filed to ESPN: Sources say Rockets do have interest in a Russell Westbrook deal, but one well-informed source considers deal a "long shot" due to finding fit with Thunder and/or challenges of executing a complicated three-team deal.
— Tim MacMahon (@espn_macmahon) July 7, 2019
— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) July 7, 2019
“As unlikely as it may be, a trade that sends Westbrook to Houston would reunite him with Harden, his former Thunder teammate and fellow recent MVP. The Rockets acquired Harden, a sixth man in Oklahoma City, in a trade just before the 2012-13 season after the Thunder decided they did not want to give him a maximum contract,” the ESPN report noted.
It is still not clear if Russell Westbrook will even be on the trade block or if the Oklahoma City Thunder may choose to rebuild around him. Westbrook has already committed to the team once through roster turmoil, staying after Kevin Durant bolted for the Golden State Warriors in 2016.