The NBA off-season has been off to a flying start with a series of blockbuster trades between the Suns and the Thunder. With the reports suggesting a meltdown of the Rockets, all eyes will be on the potential trade deals for both Russell Westbrook and James Harden.
Earlier Athletic’s Shams Charania reported that Westbrook wanted to move out of the Houston Rockets.
Rockets’ Russell Westbrook wants out of Houston, sources tell @TheAthleticNBA @Stadium.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) November 12, 2020
Westbrook wants to go to a team where he could function in the capacity of the primary ball handler and can afford his hefty wage bill. There are multiple teams who would want him, but only some teams matching these criteria.
Houston was dealt with another shocker yesterday, when their star James Harden reportedly turned down a 2-year max contract of $103 million. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported.
The Brooklyn Nets are the preferred option for Harden. ‘The Beard’ wants to reunite with his friend Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving to form East’s Big 3.
The Front-runners for Westbrook.
Russell Westbrook is undoubtedly one of the most talented players in the NBA. There are many teams who would want Russ on their team, but the wage demands and the questionable fit he is become a big concern for many teams.
In his recent appearance on his podcast, All The Smoke, former NBA star Matt Barnes spoke about the teams interested in Brodie. Barnes said that New Orleans Pelicans, Detroit Pistons and the New York Knicks are interested in trading for the 9-time All-Star.
The Pelicans have significant tradable assets in Lonzo Ball and multiple draft picks. The main question is whether Ingram and Westbrook share the duties at the point guard position. Someone or the other may have to take a step back for this trade to work out.
The Pistons bringing in Brodie can try to make a push for the Playoffs, but won’t have much cap space left to lure in good role players from the free agency.
The New York Knicks have some good young players and can look to rebuild. By trading Westbrook, the Knicks will have to give up on multiple young players and drafts. A Westbrook led Knicks might make it to the Playoffs, but becoming a strong contender is next to impossible.
Is Brodie Stuck?
It is expected that the competition to rope in a player like Westbrook would be tremendous. But recent reports from multiple NBA insiders paint a different picture. The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor said, “Multiple league sources say interest in Westbrook is minimal.”
ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne and Zach Lowe in a recent report said, “The Rockets have been actively searching for trade partners for Westbrook, but that marketplace is proving relatively barren.”
The Houston Chronicle’s Matt Young in a recent piece said, “There aren’t many suitors for Westbrook.”
All of these reports suggest the concerns that teams have with Brodie. The teams in the NBA are not looking to sign someone of a huge wage bill like that of Westbrook. Brodie has a remaining contract which earns him $44.2 million per year. That is a hefty wage bill to pay for a 32-year-old star.
Given his recent stint at Rockets, the teams are scrutinizing Russ’ style. The 32-year-old has not been comfortable in sharing his duties as a guard. And a championship team won’t be amenable to the same.
The teams will also be questioning Westbrook’s fitness. Last season, the former Thunder star had played 57 games. Given that he is a 32-year-old, Westbrook might not be able to sustain the level of fitness his playing style demands.
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