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Rockets News: Russell Westbrook Is Blocking A James Harden Trade

Rockets News: Russell Westbrook Is Blocking A James Harden Trade

The Houston Rockets have multiple offers on the table for their superstar and best player, James Harden. Unfortunately, a roadblock exists. That roadblock? Russell Westbrook.

According to Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated, the Rockets view trading away Westbrook as a necessary precursor to dealing Harden. If the former doesn’t happen, they are reluctant to commit to the latter.

“Teams have been probing the Rockets about James Harden in recent days, though Houston has been reluctant to fully engage,” Mannix said.

“The Rockets will engage on Westbrook but interest for the All-Star guard has been lukewarm, at best. Houston has sent signals that it is not looking to just dump Westbrook’s contract—he has three years and $132 million left on the deal—which has further eroded the market.

“The Knicks have not engaged—Westbrook is not a priority for New York, per league sources—while Charlotte, another potential landing spot, just drafted LaMelo Ball. It’s unlikely Houston deals Harden without having a landing spot for Westbrook, which could prove exceedingly difficult.”

Westbrook is an extremely polarizing player at this stage in his career.

On one hand, he is a former league MVP who averaged a triple-double throughout three straight years from 2016 to 2019, won a pair of scoring titles, and made it to nine separate All-NBA Teams.

This past season Westbrook 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 (it was his assists and rebounds that fell off).

On the other hand, he is also a 32-year-old guard whose game relies greatly on his dwindling 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 money to pay someone who is already not the player he once was.

The Los Angeles Clippers, Charlotte Hornets and New York Knicks have all expressed some interest in acquiring Westbrook, but at the moment nothing is imminent.

Harden, meanwhile, has been closely attached to the Brooklyn Nets and Philadelphia 76ers, with both organizations reportedly willing to part with a lot of assets for him. However, Rockets brass seems dead set on trading away Westbrook first.

Moreover, Houston’s front office has leaked to the media on multiple occasions that it is fine with sitting on its two big name stars until the season begins – even if the situation grows increasingly “uncomfortable” for all parties involved.

One way or another, this situation now appears to be untenable. Both Westbrook and Harden will likely be traded at some point. All that remains at this stage is figuring out when.

Related: Michael Jordan’s True Feelings On LaVar Ball

Anthony Amador

A recent graduate from the University of Texas, Anthony Amador has been credentialed to cover the Houston Texans, Dallas Cowboys, San Antonio Spurs, Dallas Mavericks and high school games all over the Lone Star State. Currently, his primary beats are the NBA, MLB, NFL and UFC.

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