TROUBLE IN PARADISE?
Here are some interesting trade scenarios if the Rockets decide to move Westbrook
After the dismantling of the Houston Rockets in game 5 versus the 2020 NBA champion LA Lakers, the narrative of the offseason was luxury tax. Will Tilman Fertitta explore the luxury tax so the Rockets' front office can build around Russell Westbrook and James Harden? Early Wednesday morning, there were reports of Harden and Westbrook being uncertain about the Rockets' future.
As the day went on, we came to learn that Westbrook wanted out because of the uncertainty of the Rockets' culture and style of play on offense, but Harden remained optimistic about staying in Houston.
Russell Westbrook has made it known that he would like to see significant changes to the Rockets’ culture. Now, h… https://t.co/qhUNdoSoUp— The Athletic NBA (@The Athletic NBA)1605149325.0
Since Westbrook wants out, it makes free agency, trading for players, and possibly receiving draft picks realistic for the Rockets. Getting rid of Westbrook's contract clears up enough cap space for the Rockets to make some moves, which is ideal for the new GM, Rafael Stone.
The Rockets now have a legitimate shot to build around Harden since Westbrook wants out. So, where is the best place for Westbrook to go? Hopefully, when the Rockets trade Westbrook, they are able save money and receive key players. On Tuesday, the New York Knicks and Los Angeles Clippers had the most interest in Westbrook.
The Clippers and Knicks are interested in trading for Russell Westbrook, per @KevinOConnorNBA https://t.co/XRpjPx0loK— Bleacher Report (@Bleacher Report)1605054318.0
The Clippers are attractive because of their six-time All-Star, 2018 Steals Champion, and five-time All-NBA player, Paul George. Even though George seems attractive, he had a decrease in play with the Clippers as he went from averaging near 30 points per game to 22 points per game. George missed the start of the season because of a hampered shoulder. When the NBA furlough was over, the rest of the season took place in Orlando inside the bubble. George struggled in the playoffs by only averaging 20 points per game and shooting 33 percent from the perimeter.
.@maxkellerman LOVES the idea of Russell Westbrook on the Clippers. "Westbrook and Kawhi might be a better version… https://t.co/AWdssHmpet— First Take (@First Take)1605121662.0
George also struggled with depression as he said after a tough series against the Dallas Mavericks. But keep in mind George was a finalist for MVP in the 2018-2019 season for the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Bright lights big city
The Knicks also have a promising future with Mitchell Robinson and Kevin Knox, including Frank Ntilikina. Those three names have been mentioned with the Rockets this offseason. Robinson could be a tough grab because of his 7'0 ft presence, outstanding reach, and decent handles. In the 2018-2019 season, Robinson made the All-Rookie team by only averaging 7.3 points per game. Robinson could be the traditional big man Stephen Silas is looking for.
The Rockets could also trade for former ROY and six-time All-Star, Blake Griffin. Griffin is a quality all-round player but has dealt with several injuries throughout his career. Stone acquiring Griffin could be questioned if injuries occur throughout the season. Griffin's best season with his recent team, the Detroit Pistons, was the 2018-2019 season, as he averaged 25 points per game and shot 36 percent from the perimeter.
Hopefully, the Rockets come up with some answers soon as training camp starts Dec. 1st.