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Rockets, Heat, Pistons all reportedly in mix for Russell Westbrook

Russell Westbrook, James Harden

Oklahoma City Thunder’s Russell Westbrook (0) and Houston Rockets’ James Harden (13) talk on the court after an NBA basketball game in Houston, Sunday, March 26, 2017. (AP Photo/Michael Wyke)


What will happen to Russell Westbrook now that Paul George has forced his way to the Los Angeles Clippers to play with Kawhi Leonard?

Sam Presti could decide to tear it all down in Oklahoma City, pressing the reset button on the Thunder for the foreseeable future and waiting until his massive haul of picks can render him another contender down the line. Or Oklahoma City could decide to simply rebuild around its one remaining superstar.

Presti is exploring trade options for Westbrook, and the three teams that are reportedly in the mix to land the 30-year-old point guard are the Houston Rockets, Detroit Pistons, and the Miami Heat.

Via Sam Amick and Brett Dawson of The Athletic:

And while the mountains of money owed to Westbrook are known to have scared quite a few general managers away, sources say that Detroit and Miami are very real possibilities as potential landing spots for the 30-year-old eight-time All-Star.

Rival executives have also pinpointed the Houston Rockets as a likely suitor, which would come as no surprise considering the way general manager Daryl Morey has prioritized the pursuit of stars during his entire career (not to mention the possible reunion between Westbrook and his old Thunder teammate James Harden). The notion of Westbrook sharing the floor with two other ball-dominant guards is unorthodox, to say the least, but Morey has long held the belief that landing as many elite players as possible is the path to championship glory.

Amick and Dawson also mentioned that Westbrook was not made available to the Toronto Raptors in a potential trade with George as a means to lure Leonard back to Canada.

Whatever comes next will be hard to predict. The timeline in Oklahoma doesn’t really seem to match up with where Westbrook is. The rest of the Western Conference got much stronger this offseason, and there just aren’t many stars left to add to the Thunder roster to make them able to compete with in Westbrook’s remaining prime years.

There’s complexities in adding Westbrook to teams that have James Harden, Blake Griffin, or Jimmy Butler respectively. But this league is all about stars, and if those teams want to try to compete, perhaps it makes sense for them to go after one of the league’s best players and a former MVP who appears to be available via trade.