So Russell Westbrook wants out of Houston, well, what if he left the West?
After the report came out from The Athletic’s Shams Charania that Westbrook wants to be traded following his first season with Houston, now all the trade rumors are swirling.
Westbrook has expressed to team officials that he has been “uneasy about the team’s accountability and culture,” per Charania.
The 32-year-old guard was traded to the Rockets before the start of the 2019-20 NBA season in a reunion with James Harden.
BUT, with a 4-1 series loss to the Lakers in the Western Conference semifinals in the NBA restart, it was another abrupt end to a Houston season after finishing fourth in the Western Conference with a 44-28 record.
Not to mention head coach Mike D’Antoni and general manager Daryl Morey have departed the franchise, which could be a big reason why Westbrook wants out as well.
It won’t be easy though, of course.
Westbrook has $132 million remaining on his contract over the next three seasons, including a $47 million player option during the 2022-23 season.
So, that will likely present a big barrier in various trade talks.
For Trail Blazers fans, it sounds like you could potentially be seeing less of Westbrook. There are a couple of Eastern Conference teams that have quickly shown a lot of interest in the 2017 Most Valuable Player.
Going from playing each other four times a season to just twice, sounds nice, doesn’t it?
Here are a few of the rumored landing spots for Westbrook:
New York Knicks One of the first teams mentioned as a possible destination for Westbrook was the Big Apple, per The Ringer's Kevin O'Connor who discussed Westbrook trade talks on The Mismatch podcast.
The rumored interest in Westbrook, could mean New York is not fully committing to tanking next season for a top draft pick.
Having the triple-double machine in a Knicks uniform would be crazy, but in a weaker Eastern Conference, Westbrook at the helm in New York could mean the Knicks will find themselves in the middle of the pack out East.
And come on, it’s New York, every superstar thinks about going to NYC, right?
Detroit Pistons Detroit has been in search of a star for years just like the Knicks. Westbrook playing alongside power forward Christian Wood is an intriguing idea. Now that Andre Drummond is no longer in Detroit and with the emergence of Christian Wood as a great stretch four, the lane will be wide open for Westbrook, just the way he likes it.
Money will certainly be a big question mark for the Pistons in snagging Westbrook.
Los Angeles Clippers The Ringer’s Kevin O'Connor also mentioned that the Clippers are in play for Westbrook as well.
The Clippers are an interesting landing spot since there was so much chatter about the team’s chemistry not being up to par last season, to say the least. Plus, having Westbrook reunite with Paul George and then play alongside Kawhi Leonard would be entertaining to see how the three could exist together.
But when thinking about Westbrook, who was drafted by the Seattle Supersonics in 2008 as the 4thoverall selection – the West is all Westbrook has ever known.
If he takes his talents out East, that might lessen the Westbrook-Damian Lillard rivalry, but then again, with less chances to go at each other it could take the rivalry to new heights.
Either way, not having to watch Westbrook rock the baby in the Western Conference playoffs and have to face the elite point guard in the postseason, that’s probably just fine by a lot of fans in Rip City.