With the Houston Rockets recently exiting the playoffs following a 4-1 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers and the Detroit Pistons expected to rebuild following a subpar 2019-20 campaign, Fansided‘s Hoops Habit recently suggested the two teams could potentially benefit by swapping star players, with Russell Westbrook going to Detroit and Blake Griffin moving to Houston.
As explained by the publication, the theoretical Westbrook-for-Griffin trade is a deal that is “so bad that you absolutely have to pursue [it] just to see what happens.” However, the outlet added it is financially possible to conduct a straight-up swap, as Griffin will be making $36.5 million in 2020-21 while Westbrook is set to earn $41.3 million — as the Pistons have more than enough salary-cap space, the team could absorb the extra $4.8 million in the event the move becomes a reality.
Regarding Westbrook’s impact in Detroit, if the hypothetical transaction pushes forward, Hoops Habit pointed out the organization struggled at point guard in the 2019-20 season, with its point guards missing lots of time due to injuries. While the publication wrote the Pistons could go after Toronto Raptors star Fred VanVleet in free agency, as has frequently been rumored, it added the team has generally preferred “making pushes for the playoffs” instead of patiently rebuilding.
Westbrook, as speculated, could at least help the Pistons immediately become a playoff contender in the Eastern Conference, even if this might likely mean a “tough” exit in the first or second round of the postseason. That, as noted, could make the team “rightfully ecstatic,” given they finished with a 20-46 record in 2019-20.
According to Hoops Habit, Griffin won’t be expected to contribute to the Rockets as a primary offensive option, especially now that age and injuries have negatively impacted his once-explosive athleticism. The outlet wrote the 31-year-old now relies mainly on his three-point shot, which could make him a good fit alongside James Harden as he plays mainly off the ball and potentially thrives off the superstar guard’s passes.
“As we saw in the playoffs, the Rockets need shooters, and that’s exactly what Griffin has become in his efforts to keep himself viable at a high level in today’s NBA. Griffin also provides size, and whether the Houston Rockets are willing to admit it, you need a little bit of size once in a while at least to win in the NBA.”
The new trade idea came among reports suggesting the Rockets might be better off trading Westbrook, who has three years remaining on his contract. As previously reported by The Inquisitr, an unnamed Eastern Conference coach recently suggested Westbrook might not be a good complement to Harden due to their similarly ball-dominant style of play.