With Russell Westbrook reportedly wanting out of the Houston Rockets after just one season with the team, a recent report suggested that the Golden State Warriors could resume their dominant run after a difficult 2019-20 campaign by making a move for the All-Star point guard.
As noted on Thursday by Bleacher Report's Greg Swartz, it might not be easy to find a suitable destination for Westbrook if the Rockets grant his request to be traded. At 32 years old, the former NBA MVP has reached a point in his career in which he's "wildly overpaid," as he will be earning upward of $41 million per year for the remainder of his contract, with the final season in 2022-23 being a player option valued at $47 million.
According to Swartz, the Warriors should consider trading for Westbrook if they want to "keep their dynasty alive," even as teams such as the Los Angeles Clippers and New York Knicks have been mentioned frequently as likely landing spots. After finishing with the league's worst record in 2019-20, Golden State will benefit from Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson's respective returns from serious injuries. However, the Western Conference has become "far more talented" in recent years, with several teams having improved substantially since the seasons in which the Warriors were title contenders.
Considering the improved talent in the West and the fact that most of the Warriors' top players are now in their 30s, Swartz suggested that any trade involving Westbrook should involve Andrew Wiggins, who played solidly last season and has three years and $94.6 million remaining on his contract. He also recommended adding backup center Kevon Looney, whose $4.8 million pay in 2020-21 could allow the Warriors to match salaries and make a deal happen.
As Swartz pointed out, the trade might not make much sense at first, as it would add a ball-dominant player in Westbrook to a Warriors roster with an All-Star backcourt, while Wiggins' poor outside shooting might make him a less than ideal fit alongside James Harden in Houston. However, Swartz wrote that the Rockets could make it a three-way deal so that they could acquire a proven player who could better complement their top scorer.
"Sending Wiggins and Looney to the Detroit Pistons for Blake Griffin or Cleveland Cavaliers for Kevin Love makes far more sense, giving Harden a floor-spacing, talented-passing big man to play off of while the rebuilding team gets a 25-year-old Wiggins who averaged 21.8 points, 5.1 rebounds and 3.7 assists this year. Picks or young players could always be swapped to satisfy all parties in the end."Regardless of whether the Warriors get Westbrook via a straight-up trade with the Rockets or through a three-way transaction, Swartz emphasized that it would be "worth it" if they only need to surrender Wiggins and Looney. He predicted that a starting lineup of Curry and Westbrook at guard, Thompson and Draymond Green at forward, and prospective No. 2 picks James Wiseman or Onyeka Okongwu at center could turn out to be one of the league's most talented if the theoretical move becomes a reality.