According to a newly proposed trade idea, the Houston Rockets could shake things up significantly in the offseason by dealing their two superstar guards, James Harden and Russell Westbrook, in a three-way transaction. This deal would allow them to acquire a number of assets from the Philadelphia 76ers and New York Knicks, most notably the Sixers’ own All-Star point guard, Ben Simmons.
As explained by Bleacher Report Tuesday morning, the Rockets are at a point where they have “exhausted their assets” and have little chance of building a championship contender around Westbrook and Harden. The publication’s Preston Ellis explained that, at the moment, Houston could either push forward as a “faux contender” or move both their superstars, with Harden heading to Philadelphia and Westbrook getting shipped to New York.
Aside from Simmons, the Rockets would also receive Sixers backup forward Mike Scott, as well as Knicks starting power forward Julius Randle and reserve guards Wayne Ellington and Dennis Smith Jr. as part of the hypothetical deal.
“The fit in Houston couldn’t suit Simmons better,” Ellis wrote.
“His ability to defend alongside Eric Gordon, Danuel House, P.J. Tucker and Robert Covington would make them a force to be reckoned with on the defensive end. Plus, their spacing would be the complement to his game he’s been missing in Philadelphia.”
Talking about how the other two teams can benefit from the move, the Bleacher Report writer stressed that Oklahoma City Thunder point guard Chris Paul still appears to be the Knicks’ top target in the offseason, especially considering his ties with team president Leon Rose. However, he suggested Westbrook could provide the organization with some much-needed “electricity” and star power.
Meanwhile, Ellis wrote that the deal should be a “no-brainer” for the Sixers, as Harden’s arrival could transform the team into an immediate “title favorite,” or at least one that could be a top threat to come out on top of the Eastern Conference.
Per Basketball Reference, Harden averaged 34.3 points, 6.6 rebounds, 7.5 assists, and 1.8 steals, while Westbrook produced 27.2 points, 7.9 rebounds, seven assists, and 1.6 steals per game for the Rockets in the 2019-20 season. The organization, however, only finished 44-28 in the regular season and lost in five games to the Los Angeles Lakers in this year’s Western Conference semifinals.
This isn’t the first time this month that a similar trade has been proposed, with Harden and Simmons swapping teams in the offseason. As previously documented by The Inquisitr, one such idea involved the 2018 NBA MVP getting traded to the Sixers, with the Rockets getting Simmons, Scott, Zhaire Smith, and this year’s No. 21 overall draft pick in return.