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Report: Russell Westbrook wants Rockets to trade him, James Harden committed to Houston

Michael Smith and Michael Holley discuss the rumors surrounding the future of the Rockets now that Russell Westbrook and James Harden have reportedly expressed frustration.

James Harden and Russell Westbrook are reportedly concerned about the Rockets’ direction.

In Westbrook’s case, that apparently put it too lightly.

Shams Charania of The Athletic:

The biggest question: How long will Harden remain committed to Houston?

The Rockets are championship longshots with Westbrook. Their title pursuit could be even more difficult without him.

Westbrook is 32 years old, facing health concerns and due $132,633,438 over the next three years. It’s nearly impossible to see the Houston trading him without immediately downgrading its current talent.

Perhaps, the Rockets find the right return of players who better complement Harden. Harden and Westbrook fit far from perfectly together last season.

But that’s a big ask of first-time general manager Rafael Stone.

Finding stars who mesh with Harden is no easy task. Harden had problems with Dwight Howard then Chris Paul. It’s unclear why Westbrook is looking to move on. But at very minimum, he’s not drawn to staying with Harden.

Westbrook has been linked to the Knicks and Clippers. Other suitors could emerge. Despite his shortcomings, Westbrook still carries star power.

As long as they have Harden, the Rockets should remain pretty good. But they sacrificed key assets and flexibility to acquire Westbrook. Now, they’re being pressured to trade him with his value even lower.

This might be yet another domino that eventually leads to Harden’s exit.

For now, though, Westbrook’s trade desire is its own crisis to handle.