Amid the continued rumors surrounding Russell Westbrook and his future with the Houston Rockets, the latest update on the disgruntled point guard suggested that the Cleveland Cavaliers were among the teams that had spoken with the Rockets about a possible trade.
The new rumor was discussed this week by The Athletic‘s Shams Charania, who appeared on Complex’s Load Management podcast to share what he’d heard about the former NBA MVP. As quoted by Bleacher Report, Charania said the Rockets “engaged” with a number of teams on the week of this year’s draft, including the Cavs and the Washington Wizards, but none of the clubs were able to offer anything that piqued Houston’s interest.
“I’m told the Rockets wanted multiple other assets, whether it’s draft compensation, young players. So when you set the price that high, even for Russell Westbrook, if it’s not met, the Rockets are fine going into the season and playing it out.”
Talking about how Westbrook’s potential fit in the event he gets traded to Cleveland, Bleacher Report wrote that the 32-year-old would be a “curious” addition to an organization that has several young guards — including 2019 draftees Darius Garland and Kevin Porter Jr. and 2020 first-rounder Isaac Okoro — set to battle for playing time in the 2020-21 season. The publication wrote that unless one of those players get shipped to Houston in a package for Westbrook, it would be “strange” to bring him into a rebuilding roster currently led by veteran big men Kevin Love and Andre Drummond.
“The Cavaliers are much better off rebuilding around their youth than selling out for the No. 8 seed,” the outlet stressed.
As for the Rockets, the team has continued to rebuff various offers and inquiries, holding on to both Westbrook and James Harden despite their well-documented desire to be traded. The two guards enjoyed very productive seasons in 2020-21, but that wasn’t enough to help the club go beyond the second round of the Western Conference playoffs, where the Los Angeles Lakers defeated them in just five games. The organization has also made efforts to revamp the roster around the backcourt duo by upgrading the frontcourt with recent free-agent acquisitions such as DeMarcus Cousins and Christian Wood.
Although it appears likelier than ever that the Rockets’ two superstar guards will still be in Houston by the time the 2020-21 season kicks off on December 22, they both remain mainstays of the rumor mill and various lists of trade ideas. One such proposed deal would have Westbrook and power forward P.J. Tucker heading to the Utah Jazz in exchange for Mike Conley and Royce O’Neale.