The NBA offseason news is going to be action-packed this next month and a half, as the 2020-21 NBA season is set to tip off on Dec. 22. While free agency is result in the most player movement, there will be some trades ahead of the NBA Draft. Following news that he is not happy with the organization, a Russell Westbrook trade from the Houston Rockets is looking more and more likely.
Rockets All-Star point guard Westbrook has requested a trade after just reuniting with James Harden in Houston after playing with him on the Thunder from 2009-12. Westbrook wants to return to the “floor-general” role that he had with Thunder, and there are some teams out there that have already expressed interest.
Westbrook averaged 27.2 points, 7.9 rebounds and 7.0 assists last season with the Rockets, but only played in 57 regular season games and only eight of the 12 playoff games.
His contract may be the deciding factor for many teams, as he still has three years remaining on his $132.6 million deal.
Here are three possible Russell Westbrook trade destinations ahead of the 2020 NBA Draft.
Russell Westbrook Trade Destinations
Los Angeles Clippers
The Los Angles Clippers are one of two teams so far that have publicly displayed interest in trading for Westbrook. The possibility of Westbrook, Paul George and Kawhi Leonard all on the same team is absolutely terrifying, but not impossible. The Clippers would solidify themselves with possibly the best big-three in the league, and most certainly a championship team. It’d be a big risk for the organization though to bring in such a huge contract, because they would likely have to send away some of their players that have been there for years, like Lou Williams and Ivica Zubac, who showed promise in the bubble.
The depth the Clippers have is what makes them so hard to play, and it wouldn’t be a smart organizational move in the long run.
New York Knicks
The New York Knicks were the other team that expressed immediate interest upon hearing that Westbrook wanted out of Houston. If the Knicks do offer up a ton of their future assets, including both players and picks, this would be the smartest move for the Rockets organization moving forward. Harden doesn’t want to leave Houston, so they could ship Westbrook out for young talent like Kevin Knox II and Frank Ntilikina, while adding some draft assets as well. The Knicks organization shouldn’t send away their whole future for a 32-year-old ball-hog, but he is still playing at an elite level.
If the Knicks want to win more than 21 games this season, then adding Westbrook will certainly help that number increase.
Although they haven’t expressed any interest in trading for Westbrook, the Detroit Pistons make sense. They haven’t had a legitimate point guard in years, and it looks like D-Rose will be signing elsewhere once free agency opens up. They have young talent in Luke Kennard and Christian Wood, along with a seasoned veteran in Blake Griffin. If Griffin stays healthy, he could be a big part of the offense, especially with Westbrook lobbing him the ball for slam after slam.
They would have to give up a lot to receive Westbrook, obviously, so one of these players could be moved in the deal itself, but Westbrook could bring some flair to a team that is desperate to make the playoffs. His contract would be worth it, if the team stays healthy.