Ever since they were 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 Houston Rockets. After failing to achieve their main goal last season, there are growing speculations around the league that the Rockets may consider breaking up their explosive backcourt duo this offseason. In a recent appearance on The Mismatch podcast, Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer talked about the rumors surrounding the former MVP.
O’Connor revealed that multiple trusted sources told him that Westbrook could soon be available on the trading block. He also named some of the teams that have an interest in acquiring “The Brodie” from Houston, including the Los Angeles Clippers and the New York Knicks.
“It is interesting the last 24 hours. I did have multiple sources that I trust tell me that teams believe Russell Westbrook could be had—that Westbrook could be had—and I’ve heard the Clippers have interest, I’ve heard the Knicks have interest in Westbrook, and whether anything materializes there, who knows? Who knows? But the fact is that there is a belief that a guy like Westbrook could become available,” O’Connor said, as transcribed by Paul Kasabian of Bleacher Report.
It would be understandable if the Rockets really decided to part ways with Westbrook this offseason. From the time he and Harden reunited in Houston, most people already had doubts if they were really capable of bringing the Rockets to the top of the loaded Western Conference and capturing the Larry O’Brien Trophy. Though they somehow managed to show good chemistry, the outcome of the 2019-20 NBA season proved that their tandem wasn’t enough to end the Rockets’ title drought.
The Knicks’ inclusion on the list of Westbrook’s potential suitors is no longer surprising. In the past years, they have been dreaming of adding a legitimate superstar on their roster. Aside from having the salary cap flexibility to chase big names on the free agency market, they also have a plethora of trade assets to engage in a blockbuster deal with the Rockets. Westbrook alone may not be enough to bring the Knicks back to title contention, but his arrival in New York could help them bring back the energy and excitement at Madison Square Garden.
Meanwhile, compared to the Knicks, the Clippers would undeniably be the ideal landing spot for “The Brodie.” Though he would be forced to accept the role as the third fiddle in Los Angeles, joining forces with Paul George and Kawhi Leonard would give Westbrook a realistic chance of winning his first NBA championship title.