Russell Westbrook may be on his way out of Houston, a new report indicates.
Shams Charania of The Athletic tweeted late on Wednesday that Wesbrook wants out, likely putting him on the trade block for the Rockets. There have been growing rumors that the team may be looking to deal the former NBA MVP, though ESPN noted in a members’ only article that it may be difficult for the team to find a suitor as a trade partner would need to absorb the significant money left on his contract.
“Although a Westbrook trade would not likely be a mere salary dump, teams would be more reluctant to deplete their draft assets and give up young players for the All-Star point guard.”
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) November 12, 2020
But there could still be some interest in Westbrook. As The Inquisitr reported, the New York Knicks and Los Angeles Clippers have been identified as potential landing points, with a pervading idea around the league that he would be headed to the trade block soon.
Speaking on The Mismatch podcast, Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer said that the chatter surrounding a potential trade has been increasing in the past few days, with a few teams emerging as interested parties.
“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?” O’Connor said, as transcribed by Paul Kasabian of Bleacher Report.
O’Connor added that the idea of a Westbrook trade has been picking up steam around the league.
But ESPN noted that a trade to the Clippers would “gut” the team’s roster, and would likely need to involve Patrick Beverley, Lou Williams, Ivica Zubac and Rodney McGruder. The outlet added that the Los Angeles Lakers would be in a similar situation, having to tear apart the roster in order to gain the salary needed to afford his large contract.
The pairing of Westbrook and James Harden did little to help the Rockets get over the hump in a competitive Western Conference, with Houston’s small-ball approach falling flat against the Lakers in the second round of the playoffs. After squeaking past the Oklahoma City Thunder in seven games, the Rockets struggled against the Lakers combination of LeBron James and Anthony Davis, losing the series in five games.