The Washington Wizards traded John Wall for Russell Westbrook with the hope that pairing him with Bradley Beal would strengthen their chances of fully dominating the Eastern Conference and winning the NBA championship title. Unfortunately, things didn't go as the Wizards expected, as they still struggle to consistently win games in the 2020-21 NBA season. Westbrook and Beal may be already starting to show better chemistry, but it remains a big question if the Wizards really have what it takes to achieve their main goal this year.
If they find themselves out of the playoff race, some people believe that the Wizards may consider moving the former MVP again this season. In a recent article, Greg Swartz of Bleacher Report named Westbrook as the player that Washington should consider shopping at the 2021 trade deadline. Instead of keeping their new backcourt duo, Swartz believes that the Wizards should try moving "The Brodie" for "financial flexibility."
When healthy, there's no doubt that Westbrook is still one of the best point guards in the league. However, statistics-wise, Swartz thinks that having Westbrook on their team is doing more harm than good for the Wizards.
"The 32-year-old still turns the ball over more than anyone in the league (4.8 per game), and Washington is just 2-10 when he plays compared to 3-3 when the former MVP sits. Westbrook's true shooting mark (49.0 percent) is the worst since his rookie season, with just 15.2 percent of his shots coming within three feet of the basket (compared to 41.5 percent last year). The Wizards are getting beat by an average of 7.4 points per 100 possessions with Westbrook in the game, and his contract is one of the worst in the league."
Trading Westbrook to obtain financial flexibility might be what is best for the Wizards. By sending "The Brodie" and his massive salary to another team, they would be clearing up a huge chunk of their salary cap space that they could use to find players who would really complement Beal on the court. Though the 2021 free agency would no longer be as star-studded as most people expected it to be, there are still plenty of big names expected to be available on the market next offseason, including Victor Oladipo, DeMar DeRozan, Andre Drummond, Kyle Lowry, Mike Conley, and LaMarcus Aldridge.
Finding a trade partner for Westbrook would be a big challenge for the Wizards. However, if they are willing to move him at a discounted price, there would surely be plenty of teams that would express an interest in adding him to their roster before the 2021 trade deadline. Some of the potential suitors of Westbrook this season include the Dallas Mavericks, Chicago Bulls, and the New York Knicks.