The next big step would likely be a trade that sends away Russell Westbrook, though finding a team with a desire for the divisive star and the cap space to fit him could be tricky. Case in point: the Houston Rockets.
Can the Rockets land Russell Westbrook?
The Rockets are interested in a trade for Westbrook, according to ESPN’s Tim MacMahon, though a source reportedly described the prospect of adding the point guard as a “long shot.”
While adding Westbrook would certainly be a bold move for one of the NBA’s bolder general managers in Daryl Morey, it could be difficult to pull off.
The main problem might be Rockets point guard Chris Paul, who is still due $125 million over the next three years. You’d figure any Rockets trade for Westbrook would have to include Paul going the other way, though MacMahon noted that might be the case.
Despite that, it’s hard to imagine that the Rockets would want three point guards with cap hits exceeding $38 million — Westbrook, Paul and James Harden — on their roster.
Rockets tried to land Jimmy Butler earlier
This is the second highly aggressive plan from the Rockets to come to light this offseason, as the team was earlier reported to be interested in a sign-and-trade for Jimmy Butler, who opted to join the Miami Heat instead. ESPN reports that the team didn’t even get a meeting with Butler, a Houston native.
Among the possible pieces in a trade for Butler were reportedly Clint Capela and Eric Gordon, so you could imagine those players being on the table for Westbrook as well. It’s still an odd fit though, as the Rockets probably aren’t going to want to give up much if they’re taking on Westbrook’s cap hit.
Adding Westbrook would also be quite something for a team with reported locker room issues, though it would at least be a fun reunion for Harden and Westbrook, who were teammates on the Thunder way back when and might work better together than Harden and Paul’s pairing.
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