Since they got eliminated by the Los Angeles Lakers in the Western Conference Semifinals, rumors have been continuously swirling around Russell Westbrook and his future with the Houston Rockets. The trade speculations surrounding him heated up when James Harden rejected the massive contract extension that the Rockets recently offered and expressed his desire to leave. With “The Beard” soon expected to start a new journey somewhere else, the organization is currently exploring the market for “The Brodie,” hoping that they could land assets to jumpstart a rebuilding process.
One of the teams that are being linked to Westbrook is the Washington Wizards. In a Twitter post, Shams Charania of The Athletic revealed the Rockets and the Wizards have engaged in a trade discussion that would send Westbrook to Washington in exchange for John Wall.
“The Rockets and Wizards have discussed a deal centered on Russell Westbrook for John Wall, sources tell @TheAthleticNBA @Stadium. No traction yet, Rockets are seeking more assets.”
Swapping Wall for Westbrook could make a lot of sense for the Wizards. They may have publicly stated their plan to run it back with Wall and Bradley Beal in the 2020-21 NBA season, but it doesn’t necessarily mean they would no longer try to improve their roster this offseason. Westbrook could give the Wizards a clear upgrade over Wall at the point guard position.
While it remains a big question mark if Wall will regain his All-Star form after recovering from an Achilles injury, Westbrook could immediately make an impact for the Wizards when the season starts on December 22. He could boost Washington’s performance in terms of scoring, playmaking, rebounding, and defending the perimeter. Last season, he averaged 27.2 points, 7.9 rebounds, seven assists, and 1.6 steals while shooting 47.2 percent from the field, per ESPN.
Westbrook might not have a hard time fitting in with Beal in the Wizards’ backcourt. Unlike in Houston where he’s sharing the floor with another ball-dominant guard in Harden, being traded to the nation’s capital would allow him to team up with another All-Star who’s capable of excelling in an off-ball capacity. If they find the perfect chemistry and stay away from any major injury, the backcourt duo of Westbrook and Beal could boost the Wizards’ chances of returning to the playoffs next year.
Meanwhile, it sounds reasonable that the Rockets are demanding more assets in the potential blockbuster deal involving Wall and Westbrook. Wall has not played a single game since December 2018 and is owed more than $132 million over the next three seasons. If the Wizards are serious about pairing Westbrook with Beal, they could consider including a young player and/or a future first-round pick in the trade package.