Since the Houston Rockets got eliminated by the Los Angeles Lakers in the Western Conference Semifinals, rumors have been swirling around All-Star point guard Russell Westbrook and his future with the team. Though the Rockets have already denied the speculation that they are planning to trade him, most people are still expecting Westbrook to change teams this offseason. One of the teams that could express interest in trading for Westbrook is the Milwaukee Bucks.
According to Danny Cunningham of Complex, the Bucks could acquire Westbrook by sending a package that includes Ersan Ilyasova, Brook Lopez, Robin Lopez, Eric Bledsoe, and a 2020 first-round pick to the Rockets. The deal works on ESPN‘s NBA Trade Machine. Though Westbook’s fit in Milwaukee remains a big question mark, Cunningham believes that trading for the player will boost the Bucks’ chances of preventing Giannis Antetokounmpo from leaving in the summer of 2021 when he is set to become an unrestricted free agent.
“Is Westbrook a perfect fit in Milwaukee? Absolutely not. He’s not a great shooter from the outside and not a great defender, either. But what Westbrook does represent is Milwaukee going all in on winning this year with Giannis Antetokounmpo. This offseason Antetokounmpo has the opportunity to sign a supermax extension with the Bucks, and if he doesn’t he will become a free agent next summer. The Bucks need to exhaust everything in their power to win a championship in 2021, and if they don’t it could mean bad news for their hopes of retaining the two-time MVP.”
After spending most of his career as the main guy of the Oklahoma City Thunder, Westbrook would need to make huge adjustments in his game to efficiently serve in the role of Antetokounmpo’s sidekick in Milwaukee. However, talent-wise, he will undeniably be an incredible addition to the Bucks, giving them a very reliable scoring option, rebounder, playmaker, and one of the best rim-finishers in the league.
Last season, he averaged 27.2 points, 7.9 rebounds, 7.0 assists, and 1.6 steals while shooting 47.2 percent from the field, per ESPN. He would not only give the Bucks a major upgrade at the point guard position, but he’s also someone who could step up in crucial situations when the opposing team’s defense is focused on Antetokounmpo.
Meanwhile, the proposed scenario would also be beneficial for the Rockets, especially if they already want to move on from Westbrook while remaining a competitive team in the Western Conference. Aside from getting his lucrative contract off their books, the deal would enable them to replace Westbrook with a much cheaper starting-caliber PG in Bledsoe, two floor-spacing big men in Brook Lopez and Ilyasova, and a reliable backup center in Robin Lopez.