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Saturday, July 20, 2019

Report: Rival execs see Rockets as ‘likely suitor’ for Russell Westbrook

The Oklahoma City Thunder have no choice but to explore the possibility of trading Russell Westbrook now that Paul George has forced his way out of town, and any deal involving the All-Star point guard could once again shift the power in the Western Conference.

Westbrook is owed a whopping $170 million over the next four seasons, and finding a team that wants to take on that kind of contract for a 30-year-old player may be challenging. However, Sam Amick and Brett Dawson of The Athletic listed several that could be interested. The Houston Rockets are among them.

According to the report, rival executives consider the Rockets a “likely suitor” for Westbrook. Houston GM Daryl Morey has always prioritized acquiring as many stars as possible, and a reunion between Westbrook and James Harden could have some intrigue. Making the money work would be a challenge, however, especially if the Rockets don’t want to part with Chris Paul and/or the Thunder don’t want him.

Other teams that could explore a trade for Westbrook are the Miami Heat, who have fallen behind a bit in recent years and just acquired Jimmy Butler via a sign-and-trade, or Detroit Pistons, but they would likely need to include All-Star big man Andre Drummond to make the salaries work. A move like that might be counterproductive for them.

There has been no indication that Westbrook has demanded a trade, but his camp and the Thunder are expected to discuss it. If GM Sam Presti can handle the situation the way he did with the George trade, the Thunder could end up with even more assets for their rebuild.



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