When the Rockets let Mike D'Antoni go after Houston's latest playoff exit, some saw it as a sing of change coming in Texas. But it's still unclear what, exactly, the Rockets plan to do heading into next season.
If Russell Westbrook heads out the door? Well, then that picture will become much clearer.
Westbrook's future in Houston, where he still has three years and more than $130 million left on his deal, is cloudy after an odd fit with James Harden and the continued disappearance of his three-point shot.
According to SNY's Ian Begley, one team that would be interested in Westbrook if he becomes available would be none other than the New York Knicks, looking to kickstart some fan interest as the cross-town Brooklyn Nets become the hottest attraction in the Big Apple.
"Something else to keep an eye on: some agents who represent top point guard free agents believe the Knicks would poke around on a potential Russell Westbrook trade if Houston makes him available. It’s worth noting that Westbrook, per sources, saw New York as a welcome landing spot last summer when Oklahoma City was talking to teams about potential trades."
This hypothetical move, of course, would bring Westbrook into the Eastern Conference for the first time in his career, and specifically into the Atlantic Division, where he would be a regular opponent for the Sixers.
It'd be a fascinating move, and one that could help the Knicks attract other free agents, along with maybe push them into the fringe of the playoff conversation.
How would it affect the Sixers? One more team scrounging for postseason success in a much-improved East would be a bit unfortunate. Plus, he's kind of dominated the Sixers across his career.
All-time, Westbrook averages 23.1 points, 9.0 rebounds, and 9.8 assists per game against the Sixers in 21 career matchups, shooting 42.6% from the field. He's also won - get ready - 19 of those 21 career matchups with the Sixers.
Now, that's a little slanted because a large chunk of his career to date came during the Sixers' Process years, so of course his superpowered Thunder teams were smoking the likes of Isaiah Canaan and JaKarr Sampson. But still - that's a lot of wins! And only one of those two losses came in the Embiid-Simmons era.
On the bright side, having Westbrook in the Atlantic would mean more of these interactions:
We're still a ways away from this potential move happening, but it would certainly stir up a few more storylines for the Sixers next season.