In the latest in a growing list of trade ideas proposing new homes for Houston Rockets superstar Russell Westbrook, Bleacher Report recently suggested that the Indiana Pacers could acquire the 2016-17 NBA MVP in a deal centered on two of their top players — point guard Malcolm Brogdon and center Myles Turner.
As explained by the publication’s Greg Swartz on Tuesday morning, the market for Westbrook would likely be a “slim” one, given that he still has three years and $131.5 million remaining on his contract. As such, the teams that would likely be interested in acquiring the point guard would be those that believe he could take them “from mediocrity to serious contention for a conference or league title.”
According to Swartz, the Pacers appear to be the “perfect” team to make such a deal, due to the fact that they have failed to go beyond the first round of the playoffs for five straight years. He added that Indiana doesn’t have any “bad contracts” that could turn off potential trade partners and that Westbrook could be the player to help the organization get far in the postseason, especially since it already has two other All-Stars in Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis.
Aside from Brogdon and Turner, Swartz suggested that the Pacers could send reserves Doug McDermott and Jeremy Lamb, plus their 2021 first-round pick to the Rockets, with the team receiving Westbrook and forward Robert Covington in return. He posited that this transaction would give Indiana one of the NBA’s best starting backcourts, with the other projected starters — Covington, T.J. Warren, and Sabonis — capable of contributing on both ends of the floor.
Talking about how the Rockets could benefit from the hypothetical deal, the Bleacher Report writer noted that Brogdon — who averaged 16.5 points, 4.9 rebounds, and 7.1 assists for the Pacers in 2019-20 — is one of the league’s “most underrated” playmakers, while Turner excels as a shot-blocker and as a skilled three-point shooter for a big man. He also speculated that McDermott might further thrive as an outside gunner while playing alongside Harden and predicted that Lamb could be a “nice rotation piece,” provided he makes a successful recovery from a torn ACL.
“Getting a first-round pick next season would give the Rockets more flexibility in future trades, and a starting lineup of Brogdon, Harden, Danuel House Jr., P.J. Tucker and Turner should still be one of the best in the West while accompanied by an even deeper rotation.”
The Pacers aren’t the only organization that has recently been recommended as a potential landing spot for Westbrook if the Rockets decide to move him. As reported on Tuesday by The Inquisitr, a separate trade idea suggested that the Detroit Pistons could acquire the nine-time All-Star in a straight-up swap for veteran power forward Blake Griffin.