After suffering another massive defeat from the hands of the Golden State Warriors, the Houston Rockets headed into the 2019 NBA offseason with the goal of finding a third superstar to pair with Chris Paul and James Harden. The Rockets tried to acquire Jimmy Butler in the 2019 NBA free agency, but the All-Star forward ended up joining the Miami Heat via a sign-and-trade deal. After failing to acquire Butler, the Rockets are now keeping an eye on other NBA superstars who are expected to be available on the trade market this summer.
As of now, the Rockets are being linked to James Harden’s former teammate, Oklahoma City Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook. Westbrook suddenly became the center of trade rumors after the Thunder traded Paul George to the Los Angeles Clippers. With no clear path to title contention, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN revealed that the Thunder are now exploring the possibility of trading Westbrook and undergoing a full-scale rebuild.
According to Tim MacMahon of ESPN, the Rockets are interested in trading for Russell Westbrook, but a source inside Houston’s organization believes that their pursuit of the All-Star point guard is a “long shot.” However, with a general manager like Daryl Morey who has done plenty of big moves, anything is possible for the Rockets this summer.
ESPN story on Russell Westbrook welcoming idea of Oklahoma City searching out a trade that would end his Thunder career: https://t.co/EJK30AbAl8— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) July 8, 2019
Brad Botkin of CBS Sports recently created several trade scenarios involving Thunder superstar Russell Westbrook. In the potential deal that would send him to Houston, Botkin suggested that the Rockets could offer a trade package including Clint Capela and Eric Gordon to the Thunder.
“Clint Capela and Eric Gordon would have to be involved in any deal to make the money work, and Capela would have to be the main lure as he’s under contract through 2022-23 while Gordon expires next summer. Houston would almost certainly have to throw in a first-round pick and still figure out another contract to add to make the deal work financially. Capela might be an attractive centerpiece for OKC given his fairly team-friendly contract, and the fact that the Thunder would have time to let a rebuild come together with him locked up for four years.”
If the trade becomes a reality, it will help both teams in filling up the needs to improve on their roster. The proposed trade deal would allow the Thunder to have a salary cap relief in the summer of 2020 while acquiring trade assets that could help them speed up the rebuilding process. The Rockets would finally acquire a third superstar who could play alongside James Harden and Chris Paul in the 2019-20 NBA season. Russell Westbrook seems to be an odd fit in Houston, but as Botkin noted, the Rockets will do everything they can just to keep their championship window open.