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Rockets, Clippers Working On Russell Westbrook Trade?

Rockets, Clippers Working On Russell Westbrook Trade?

The Los Angeles Clippers and Houston Rockets are two teams trying to find their way in a very stacked NBA Western Conference.

This week, Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer reported that there is interest on the part of LA in possibly making a trade for former league MVP Russell Westbrook.

“It is interesting the last 24 hours,” O’Connor said.

“I did have multiple sources that I trust tell me that teams believe Russell Westbrook could be had—that Westbrook could be had—and I’ve heard the Clippers have interest, I’ve heard the Knicks have interest in Westbrook, and whether anything materializes there, who knows? Who knows? But the fact is that there is a belief that a guy like Westbrook could become available.”

What the Clippers would get out of this deal is clear. They would receive a guy in Westbrook who averaged a triple-double over the course of three straight years from 2016 to 2019, won two scoring titles, and made it to nine All-NBA Teams.

What would the Rockets get out of it? Well, they’d get to shed that same guy off their books. For all of Westbrook’s positives, and there are many, he also has a ton of negatives.

The biggest issue with Westbrook is that he is a 32-year-old whose game relies heavily on his diminishing athleticism, and is owed $41.3 million this year, $44.2 million in 2021-22, and $47 million in 2022-23. That is a lot of cash to pay someone who is already not the player he once was.

All that being said, Westbrook is still a superior talent. This past season he averaged 27.2 points, 7.9 rebounds and 7.0 assists per outing. For all the talk about his decline, that scoring total was actually his highest since 2016.

Last month, Ian Begley of SNY reported that Westbrook may also be a target of the New York Knicks’.

“Something else to keep an eye on: some agents who represent top point guard free agents believe the Knicks would poke around on a potential Russell Westbrook trade if Houston makes him available,” he said.

“It’s worth noting that Westbrook, per sources, saw New York as a welcome landing spot last summer when Oklahoma City was talking to teams about potential trades.”

The reason why there is so much chatter about Westbrook being shipped out of Houston is because of the team’s increasingly unsustainable financial situation. Team owner Tilman Fertitta is one of the league’s most frugal owners, but somehow finds himself at the helm of the fifth largest payroll in the NBA.

By 2022-23, Houston will be paying just Westbrook, James Harden and Eric Gordon $114 million combined. That is a lot of dough tied up in three players who will have a tough time securing a championship. Something’s gotta give there.

Will Houston trade Westbrook to LA? It is unclear at this point.

Will they trade him somewhere? It is certainly beginning to look that way.

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Jennifer Withers Hoey

Jennifer Withers Hoey is a former Business Development Manager who transitioned to writing about sports. With valuable connections all over the West Coast, she has used those contacts to break some of the most interesting stories pertaining to the Portland Trail Blazers, Oregon Ducks, LA Lakers, LA Clippers, Seattle Supersonics (RIP), and more.

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