NBA Trade Rumors: Rockets, Pistons Could Engage In Russell Westbrook-Blake Griffin Blockbuster This Offseason

Russell Westbrook #0 of the Oklahoma City Thunder drives on Blake Griffin #32 of the LA Clippers during the first half at Staples Center on January 4, 2018 in Los Angeles, California.
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As the 2020 offseason goes deeper, rumors surrounding All-Star point guard Russell Westbrook and his future with the Houston Rockets continue to heat up. While James Harden remains committed to the team, Shams Charania of The Athletic revealed on Twitter that “The Brodie” is already finding his way out of Houston. Since rumors of Westbrook’s desire to leave the Rockets spread like wildfire, several interesting trade ideas have started surfacing on the web, including a deal that would send him to the Detroit Pistons.

According to Andy Bailey of Bleacher Report, the Rockets and the Pistons may consider putting together a blockbuster deal involving Westbrook and Blake Griffin. In the proposed scenario, Houston would be sending a package that includes Westbrook and a 2021 second-round pick to Detroit in exchange for Griffin. If the trade becomes a reality, it would help both teams improve their respective rosters.

For the Pistons, Bailey believes that pairing Westbrook with a floor-spacing big man like Christian Wood would increase the team’s chances of returning to the playoff hunt in the 2020-21 NBA season.

“The Pistons shouldn’t feel desperate to make the playoffs. Griffin just took them there in 2019. But a two-man game with Westbrook and Christian Wood, one of this offseason’s top available bigs, would almost certainly have Detroit in the hunt for the postseason in 2021. The Pistons were plus-2.7 points per 100 possessions with Wood on the floor in 2019-20, compared to minus-8.3 when he was off. And his ability to space the floor (38.6 percent on 2.3 three-point attempts per game) would fit well with Westbrook. He can pull centers away from the lane for Russ’ drives.”

Russell Westbrook #24 and Blake Griffin #40 of the United States talk during a practice session at the 2018 USA Basketball Men's National Team minicamp at the Mendenhall Center at UNLV on July 26, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
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Meanwhile, trading Westbrook for Griffin would undeniably be a huge risk for the Rockets. Aside from being a salary cap burden like “The Brodie,” Griffin is still recovering from a left-knee injury that put him on the sideline for most of the 2019-20 NBA season. However, if Griffin could return to 100 percent health and regain his All-Star form, Bailey thinks that swapping Westbrook for him would be worth it for the Rockets.

Compared to Westbrook, a healthy Griffin would be a much better fit to work with Harden. He may also need the ball in his hands to excel on the court, but he’s not as ball-dominant as “The Brodie.” The potential acquisition of Griffin would enable the Rockets to give Harden a new superstar running mate who has mastered the art of pick-and-roll. Also, sharing the court with a stretch big like Griffin would make it easier for Harden to penetrate the basket or kick the ball out when he’s trapped by the opposing team’s defense.